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Tortuga68's GUE Fundamentals course report

Discussion in 'DIR' started by Tortuga68, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    Introduction: After reading a lot about GUE and particularly GUE-F here on SB, last year I became interested in taking GUE-F myself... earlier this year the opportunity arose for me to do the course when my friend Anders needed to run a course for his GUE-F Instructor Evaluation (IE). He managed to arrange for Gideon Liew to come to Puerto Galera in the Philippines this month at the same time as my annual birthday dive trip

    Background: I have about 300 hundred dives including 50 of what I would call 'technical' dives (deco with 50/100%). I am Deco Proc/Adv Nitrox/Extended Range certified (TDI) as well as some other tech certs, all of which I have done wet in PG. I would consider myself a competent technical diver albeit with limited experience. I include this so you can judge your own experience against the prerequisites

    Expectations: I wanted to learn some advanced propulsion techniques (especially the back kick), to have some fun, to learn more about GUE, and to 'benchmark' myself in terms of where I am now and where I could get to in the future

    Content: There are plenty of other reports here which go into the details of the course structure and/or you can look them up on the GUE website, so I'm not going to go into that... except to say that we used the 'new' (official release August 1) class presentations and 6-dive structure (previously 5)

    Environment: There was just myself and 1 other student (total 2) and Anders & Gideon as instructors (Anders delivering the course and Gideon evaluating and chipping in as required) ie total 4 people. So a great 1:1 ratio - we were very lucky. Also all of our dives were confined open water ie in the ocean - no pool work at all. Duration was 3.5 days; over 30 contact hours in total which was great value I think

    Experience: Anders and Gideon were both very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and open... we had some really interesting discussions about the pros and cons of the "GUE way" and no topic was off-limits or treated with disdain (even bungee wings lol). These are clearly two guys who have thought a lot about how they dive and are committed to doing their best in both their personal diving and in educating others who are interested

    Fitness: You need to do a 275m swim in <14 minutes, and a 15m underwater breathold swim – in case you are worried, I am 43yo and did no training but managed them both comfortably

    Classroom: I found some of the classroom presentations a little tedious, in that they repeated topics that had been previously covered, to at least some degree, by my previous technical training – however they were thorough & interesting and a nice refresher; they were also required to set the basis for the more advanced discussions

    Reservations: I still find it difficult to justify using Trimix for anything >30m although I respect the rationale behind it ie using standard gases for all types of diving, and viewing GUE as a holistic system

    Dry drills: Most skills are introduced by watching a video, then a dry drill (on land), before a wet drill – this was generally helpful, apart from getting sunburnt during the dry drills! (very hot in the Philippines right now – except of course when we did the swim test, when it rained the whole time :/ )

    Dives: As above we did 6 dives total... the in-water instruction/correction was very helpful, and the post-dive video reviews, while sometimes embarrassing, were a great tool

    Frustrations: I did the two worst (most uncontrolled) ascents I have ever done on dives 1 and 4; and on dive 5 I nearly threw my backup light away in disgust (backup light deployment drill) - however I came up from every dive feeling like I’d made good progress and learnt something. There were also some skills that I only practiced wet once, (eg SMB deployment) which makes it hard to perfect doing them the GUE way

    Caveat: IMO it would be very easy for someone with less experience to become highly frustrated at the demands of this course, as other GUE-F course reports have indicated, which could outweigh the benefits of the instruction

    Recommendations: If I would say one thing, it would be to try to get some help with the backfin before the course; it will make life a lot easier (notwithstanding previous advice not to form bad habits, and also about diving doubles and/or drysuit if that’s how you plan to do the course – I did mine with doubles, wetsuit & can light)... Furthermore this is team diving and it would help *you* if your buddy has similar or slightly better skills than you - a lot

    Outcome: I really enjoyed the course a lot, and would recommend it *if* it’s what you want to do and are ready for it. If you’re wondering, I got a solid rec pass; my instructors & I think I can get a tech pass and be ready for Tech 1/Cave 1 after a couple more dives, if my learning curve continues at the same rate

    Review: Something I thought was great was that at the end of the course I sat down for 40 minutes with Anders & Gideon and we talked about the course, my feedback, their feedback etc. One suggestion I made was that it would be nice to do a ‘check out’ dive before the course to evaluate what areas students were already good at vs their weaknesses. Of course this would require more time/resources

    Conclusion: Congratulations to my friend Anders on becoming the newest GUE-F instructor! And thanks to both him and Gideon for their time and dedication

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask
    Johanan, shoredivr, super7 and 18 others like this.
  2. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Thank you for the writeup. As you came from a rather different training and philosophy background, I think it's great for folks to see that you did not end up feeling as though you had fallen in with a bunch of brainwashed militants :)
    Jax, super7 and Cave Diver like this.
  3. ScubaSam

    ScubaSam Sister of Shenanigans ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Cave Country
    Congratulations on taking the class. I enjoyed your class report. Thank you for sharing your class experience with us.

    Can't imagine taking Fundies in a beautiful tropical locale, how lucky for you!! :)
  4. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    Well they did sew a pink triangle on my wetsuit when I wasn't looking...
  5. LiteHedded

    LiteHedded Contributor

    cool. sounds like you had fun. are you interested in the tech pass or are you done?
  6. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    Well to be perfectly honest spending 10-11 hour days on course while I'm on holiday isn't exactly my idea of fun, but yes I did enjoy it...

    I expect to be back in PG in October and have already planned to do a couple of dives with Anders then. As mentioned previously, we both believe I can come up to the level required for a tech pass - I would have liked to get it during the course, but I didn't feel like I was there... actually I think Anders & Gideon thought I was closer than I did.

    Anyway, I think the question is more Do I plan to go on to Tech 1/Cave 1? Not sure - definitely interested, but then the logistics of who do I team with will come into it (as well as there being limited - read non-existent - opportunities for Cave in PG), and the question of Trimix
  7. Hepcat62

    Hepcat62 PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Redwood City, CA
    I'm genuinely curious... Being TDI AN/DP certified, what makes you consider going for GUE Tech1? Cave is a different story I suppose, since you do not already possess a cave certification. The reason I ask is that I have some friends who are considering one program versus another, and given your background I would assume that your perspective on the matter would be interesting to hear. :)

  8. gsk3

    gsk3 DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: PA, USA
    Thanks for the report. It's always good to see that people coming from a wide variety of backgrounds can get something out of Fundies.

    AN/DP isn't really a perfect substitute for T1 at all. Different depth limits (170/180 with plus vs. 150), deco theory (Ratio Deco and standardized mixes vs. either those or other things), gases (TriMix)....

    Plus if you just have AN/DP they don't let you into the special tech-trained members only forum on ScubaBoard :confused:
  9. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    I think you'll find you can become a member of T2T with 'basic' tech certification now - just send a PM to John (Cave Diver)

    As gsk3 said, there are several differences between the two programs, some minor & some major. For me, it's a path to trimix, which I'm not currently certified for, and also a chance to further development the techniques I learnt during GUE-F. I'm already Extended Range certified (55m), so the depth doesn't make any difference... not that I have a history of taking depth certifications very seriously (outside of courses)

    I certainly haven't 'drunk the koolaid' on GUE either - the day after the course finished I went and did a 55m air deco dive... but I did use some of the techniques from the course, and modified my deco schedule somewhat as well

    In terms of choosing between Tech1 & AN/DP (as your friends are), for me it would depend on a few factors: Firstly, are my trim, buoyancy & team skills ready for Tech1 ie are they at GUE-F Tech pass level? If they're not, or I didn't know the requirements, that would rule out Tech1 - you just won't enjoy it or get what you want out of it. If they are, then I would ask myself Do I want to dive trimix >30m & have I got team-mates to dive with?

    If you just want to dive deeper/longer, then I would do DP/AN. If you want to go down the GUE/team diving path, Tech1 (but do GUE-F first if yo uhaven't already)
    Dirty-Dog and LiteHedded like this.
  10. ajduplessis

    ajduplessis Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: dry land :-(
    Why do you want to go down the trimix path? You clearly enjoy deep air deco dives???

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