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I just completed my GUE fundamentals class with Bob Sherwood on Saturday. Here is my course report
Day 1-We met bright and early at our local diving spot to begin the class. Bob was already there with a gigantic trailer ready to go. He had a generator going to power the flat screen tv he'd use to present the slides and presentations as well as show us the videos of our performance after every dive. We began with the course overview and an explanation of the GUE philosophy and introducing ourselves. After the first modules of our class presented to us, Bob took us to the water to have us demonstrate descent and hover control as well as our finning techniques. We were all able to hold position reasonably well but were constantly getting our knees tapped and our heads poked. On the video review, Bob critiqued our finning as well as introduced us to the mantra that we'd be hearing the entire course..."head back, arms up, fins flat, feet in".
Day 2-We did more modules of the lectures and prepared for our second dive. This was the day we found out how bad our diving really was. We were all over the place when task loaded. We'd try to descend together and were falling all over one another separating and having tons of problems with trim and buoyancy. We went down and performed the basic 5. There were some problems and situational awareness could've been better as well as communication. We got out of the water and debriefed and watched the video. We went in for another dive and continued some skill work with some improvement but not much.
Day 3-We all arrived with a new sense of how we were going to dive as a team. Before the day began, we met up and went over our team positioning together and our strategies for the coming dives. We covered more modules in the lecture including dive planning and tank factors. This was the part of the course that made me very nervous as I'm not great at math. Bob saw my distress and immediately reassured me that we don't need to be math wizards to do this skill. He simplified everything for me and made it very logical. Within minutes, I was able to produce dive plans, minimum gas requirements, depth consumption rates etc... off of the top of my head. We then went in for dive 4 as an entirely new team. We did a time controlled descent and stayed in a great team formation and had great communication. We practiced valve drills and s drills as well as air sharing ascents. the team would let one another know if someone was deviating from our target depth. We finished the dive and watched the video and were amazed at what we saw. We were a team, we communicated, we were in good trim and had a good maintained buoyancy. We went in for another dive and called it a day.
Day 4-Crunch time. We got together and went through the nitrox portion of the curriculum. Bob explained the reasoning behind the GUE standard gasses and it made so much sense. We then went over the evaluation dive and how it was going to go. We hit the water for the evaluation and began. We started with a time controlled descent. When we hit our target depth, we began our valve and s drills. This was followed by finning techniques, helicopter turn and back finning. We then got back into formation and blew our smb's and did out of gas ascents. We watched the video after and were happy with the results. We looked great as a team. It was a different dynamic because a 4th person who was retesting his tec pass with us was added and we had been training as a group of 3. Bob got us out and went over the video from the dive. We were given the opportunity to rate our own skills and we decided that there were a mix of 3s and 4s. Unfortunately, because some of our skills were a 3, we did not pass with a tec endorsement and passed with a recreational endorsement.
This was one of the single most amazing learning experiences of my life. I can't even to begin to say how valuable this course was. Bob was an amazing instructor that was able to adapt his teaching styles to meet the needs of the students. The difference from beginning of the course to the end of the course was like night and day. He was super funny and made 4 days of hardcore training fun and we were always excited to get there and get going for a new day. I will be practicing my butt off for the next month or so and seeing Bob soon to re-test for that tec endorsement.
Here are some shots that another diver took of us during the last day of the course.
Good report. Bob's a great instructor, (he did my Fundies class), and taking Fundamentals with him was a great experience.
Glad you found it both enjoyable and educational. I would not be overstating my case that taking Fundies completely changed how I dive. It was an awakening. For me at least. I finally found what I was looking for.
Ontario sound cold water to me, isn't it? Why double AL80?
It's definitely chilly sometimes. The water was 50-55F. The AL 80s are the choice because of their trim characteristics, they are also easier to swim up as a balanced rig than steels. Bob is a huge fan of them and says he will dive them up to 200 feet and then switch to other tanks. I like the 80s because of how they sit on my back, their weight is nice and as long as you're not a hoover, they last quite a while.
Nice write up. What is it about fundies that exposes just how bad your buoyancy control really is? It's amazing how simple things like controlled ascents and descents become comical on the fundies course