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Zero to Master Scuba Diver in 10 months

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by stuartv, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I have hesitated to post this at all. I don't like sounding like i'm just posting to toot my own horn. My happiness and my desire to share that with the community that can best appreciate it, and has also been instrumental in my development, finally won out.

    I also debated where to post this. I finally decided that, with 53 dives logged now and less than 1 year of experience, I still completely qualify as a new diver, so this forum seems like the right place. Maybe (hopefully) at least one person will read this and find a little extra motivation to dive more.

    I completed my SDI Open Water certification in November of last year, so just over 10 months ago. Since then, I have spent a lot of time taking more training classes. I have now completed all of these things:

    SDI Computer Nitrox
    SDI Advanced Buoyancy Control
    SDI Drysuit Diver
    TDI Nitrox
    Nautical Archaeology Society Part 1 certification
    BAREG U-boat Diving (which included SDI Wreck and SDI Deep full certifications)
    DAN Diving Emergency Management Provider
    SDI Rescue Diver

    I have a total accumulated dive time of roughly 35 hours (not counting pool time).

    I have read Deco for Divers and the Six Skills books, among others.

    I am now in the middle of a combined course for TDI Intro to Tech + Advanced Nitrox + Decompression Procedures.

    Last week, I completed my 50th dive, which earned me my SDI Master Scuba Diver card. Yaay! :d :dance: :dork2:

    Completing all the requirements for MSD feels like a major milestone and a baby step at the same time. In my mind, I liken it to getting my Brown Belt in scuba diving. I have spent a fair bit of time training in martial arts in the past. Getting your black belt means that you have demonstrated basic proficiency in all the fundamentals. Your 1st degree black belt is where the learning/training REALLY starts. That's kind of how I feel. Like, when I complete Deco Procedures, I will have earned my Black Belt - i.e. demonstrated a very BASIC level of proficiency in all the fundamentals. And where I am now has gotten me to a level to be accepted as a black belt candidate (i.e. a brown belt).

    Also during that time, I have done a fairly broad range (I think - for my level of experience) of dives. I have done:

    6 dives in the Cozumel/Riviera Maya area, with 2 being cenote dives
    10 dives off Oahu, with 5 of them being on wrecks, one of which was a night dive on a wreck
    9 dives off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, each one to a wreck, with only a couple of repeats so far, and a couple with a lot of sharks on the wreck
    2 dives to the WWII German sub, the U-352, sunk in action, May, 1942
    8 dives over 100fsw depth
    24 dives 60 feet or more depth
    Roughly 8 dives in water 40F or colder, with viz in the 3 - 6 feet range (and a number more in that viz, but shallower/warmer)
    2 dives on the B29 bomber in the bottom of Lake Mead, crashed during a research mission in 1948
    9 regular old reef dives (MX and HI)

    I don't FEEL like I've done much diving. But, when I look back over my log book, it looks like a lot to have done in less than a year (and still worked a day job, and gigged regularly with my band).

    It's not the stack of C cards I've accumulated that really gives me a sense of satisfaction, though. Nor is it the "stats".

    What actually makes me feel the best about where I have gotten to, so far, is being able to see myself progressing. It was a simple thing. I had my first weekend in the water for Tech training just over a week ago. On my third time performing a valve drill, during my first ever dive with double tanks, I completed the drill and monitored my depth as I did it. I stayed pretty much horizontal all the way through. I don't think my legs drooped more than a foot at the most. And my depth readout on my Petrel never changed off the number it was showing (22 feet, IIRC). After my classmates and I all finished, we surfaced to review and my instructor looked at me, kind of chuckled, and said "that was pretty much perfect." All that other stuff that I've experienced over the last year just kind of paled in comparison to that one little thing - that feeling that I could see my own progress and that I got a little confirmation from my instructor that I have indeed been improving. I can see for myself that I still have a long way to go. In spite of seeing how far the road extends in front of me, it's very motivating to also be able to kind of look back and see that I have at least moved a little way forward from where I started.

    As I said earlier, I felt like sharing here because I feel like I have learned a lot from ScubaBoard. Sometimes from direct conversations. Sometimes just from reading what people have posted before, in response to others. Some of y'all have been very patient with me and very helpful. I really appreciate that. Thank you! I can't say that without adding a special nod to Lynne Flaherty, TSandM, because, thought I didn't "know" her, she was always very patient and kind with me, both in various threads and by PM, and I especially appreciated her for remaining unflappable in the face of my buttheadedness and continuing to not just try to help me, but be NICE at the same time. She left this plane recently and I know I am just one of MANY that will miss her.

    Thanks to ScubaBoard, I still have my first BC (a BP/W), my first wetsuit, my first computer (a wristwatch with *gasp* hoseless Air Integration!), and my first regulators. And, definitely to a significant degree, the skill that I have developed so far (such as it is) I credit to things I have learned from SB members and from information sources that I learned of from SB members.

    Thank you to you all - even the ones of you that think I'm nothing but an argument looking for an ear. :D You, too, have contributed a lot to my education and I sincerely appreciate it. Sometimes, I am a butthead. Sometimes, I think I am simply taken the wrong way. Regardless, please know that I am thankful to all of you that try to help.

    And to any new divers or folks who are thinking about diving who may read this: Welcome! Just do it! You will get out of it what you put in. And even if all you care to "put in" is getting your Open Water certification, so you can do the occasional 30 - 40' reef dive when you're on vacation, it is worth it!
    RickyF, NateS, cmulvaney and 8 others like this.
  2. darrenlowjq

    darrenlowjq Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
    Just curious, what is your objective for moving on to AN+DP so early in your diving career? Are there some specific sites you would like to visit that's deep enough to warrant the use of accelerated deco, or perhaps the diving where you live happens to be deeper? I took fundies at about the same stage in terms of dive count as you are at now but I stopped there for now because there were just so many amazing places that I have yet to visit with diving within recreational limits. I'll probably move on to tech 1 in due course but am content where I am for now.
  3. iamrushman

    iamrushman Great White

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: ft. lauderdale, florida
    wow very nice and well deserved after such hard work.....the fervor of the newly converted always amazes me......you even have over 1000 post in a years time....i love your enthusiasm, keep it up and good luck in your diving adventures.
  4. agilis

    agilis ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    Despite the cards, you are still a novice diver. Try to remember this when diving. You are a beginner with much to learn, things which can be learned only through experience and informed reflection on that experience over time.
    SubMariner, Kharon, lv2dive and 4 others like this.
  5. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I have a dive buddy that lives in England. We are signed up for Mike Gerken's Wreck Shark Shootout at the end of next May, out of Morehead City, NC. It's a 4-day fun weekend of diving to wrecks that are inhabited by sharks and taking photos and/or video. My buddy is Adv Trimix and CCR certified and an experienced wreck diver. The tentative plan is for him to come for a week and us to also go up to Lake Eerie, Lake Ontario, and/or the Saint Lawrence River and dive some wrecks up there, too.

    I set myself a goal of being able to dive doubles and do basic deco dives by the time he comes over, so his diving wouldn't be limited by diving with a buddy that can only do single tank Rec dives. My IANDP instructor accepted me into his class on the basis that he's already seen me dive during his BAREG U-boat course AND that I understood clearly that he offered no guarantees about how long it would take me to get to where he would be prepared to do my checkout dives. The class (which has 2 other students) schedule is to do checkout dives right before Thanksgiving. But, he said if I'm not ready, I'll have to practice in the pool over the winter and resume training with him in the Spring. Fortunately, after 3 days in the water together since starting IANDP, he has told me that he now believes I will have no trouble being ready for the checkout dives along with the other students in November. Still no guarantees, of course.

    So, the motivation was to not be a boat anchor on my buddy's dive vacation. 9 months (I started in August) to train and prepare made it seem like a reasonable goal. I'll still be somewhat of a boat anchor for a Trimix CCR diver. But, not nearly as bad as if I didn't pursue Deco. Besides, I wanted to do it at some point, anyway. I like wrecks and, one, I want to be able to go see them and stay longer when I'm there. And, two, eventually (not any time soon!), I would REALLY like to get to Adv Timix and be able to dive the Monitor. That is a piece of history that I would love to see with my own eyes. So, my dive buddy coming over didn't spark the desire. The dive plan with him just gave me a deadline for the first step.

    I think it's a bit ironic that some people consider this to be "so early." Didn't people who did OW training 30 years ago come out of that already trained for deco (though, I believe, not involving a gas switch)? Is me doing it now really "so early"?
  6. agilis

    agilis ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    Being trained for deco dives did not mean that it was a good idea to actually do them straight out of training, especially in the old days, when very reliable computers were not available and deco obligations were calculated with a depth gauge and a wristwatch.

    Decompression dives should never be done for their own sake alone; the need to decompress should be an unavoidable part of advanced dives, the kind of thing a new diver should approach carefully and gradually, as they become more experienced and their legitimate confidence and skill levels develop through extensive experience.

    Cards are almost meaningless in this context.
    Kharon likes this.
  7. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    You ain't nothing til you scare the crap out of yourself. I'm only half kidding. Sounds like you learned A lot in a year,
    CT-Rich, agilis and stuartv like this.
  8. mikeycanuk

    mikeycanuk Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: GTA Ontario
    PADI thanks you.

    And on a serious note, wow!
    NEScubaBill, kevindsingleton and Xta like this.
  9. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    Why? I haven't done a lick of training with PADI. It's been all SDI and TDI. I did not Put Another Dollar In.... LOL At least, not in THAT machine....

    Thanks! :D
    EB67, kelemvor and RJP like this.
  10. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Congratulations on your training accomplishments. It took me nearly 8 years and 125 dives to get to that point. Fortunately, my dive rate has increased substantially since then. Keep your enthusiasm

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