Drysuit Day 1: The Saga begins

I woke up abruptly in Parksville from a dream that I was going diving today! And luckily around the time that I was going to get up, not like other times, right in the middle of much needed rest, and can’t get back to sleep. Almost like a kid on christmas morning. That must be why most people have stockings, to keep the kids entertained at random hours in the morning before daybreak.

Had a quick breakfast of eggs and toast with a tired Granny, and headed down the highway towards Victoria to Wilson Diving.

Met up with Liz, and got some formalities and reviews out of the way, and looked at my gear. Things were mostly on the up and up, a few quick adjustments in a few spots, a new pair of boots and weight pockets and we were underway to Saxe Point (http://www.greatervancouverparks.com/SaxePoint01.html)

A short swim in just the drysuit to get used to what a squeeze is, and go over some basic propulsion, we headed back and grabbed the rest of our gear for the dive.

We brought a steel 100 and an AL80. I hadn’t dove a Steel tank before, so we opted to try out the 80 first. With more weight than I’ve ever worn on a dive, we descended down into the very cold waters off of Esquamalt.

We looked at frog kicks, helicopter turns, back kicks, and holding stops while ascending.

Frog kicks were pretty good, for being self taught, just remember to keep my legs closer together, and use my ankles more.

The stops were a bit of a different story. Usually the first stop, I could ascend to, and keep, but on the first attempt, I couldn’t keep the other two. Floating out of trim towards the surface I went.

A short debrief and we were at it again. Starting off with a stop on the descent. I blew that one too. Somewhere I have too much air near the surface, and I vent a little too much, and I sink down, down, down, down. Trying my best to get air back into my BC and my suit to get rid of the squeeze.

Kicks were getting better, but thinking too hard on which foot does what for the helicopter turns. I think that I use too much brain juice thinking about the foot that goes backwards, I can’t remember how to kick forwards.

And back to the ascent.

Again, the bubble moves towards my feet, and up I go. I only blew off 1 stop this time and held the other two fairly well.

A hike back up to the cars to swap tanks, and work on getting rid of some lead with the Steel tank.

This time we swam out further in the small bay. At one point Liz pointed out, she seeing a seal, and me seeing some floaty things, and then a bunch of silt that the seal left as he flew by. I didn’t find out until we went up after doing another ascent with stops.

The steel tank made me feet heavy, and I was stirring up the bottom, and on the second part of the second dive, I could feel my feet getting pulled up, which lead to getting some air in, and floating up again. Not as bad as earlier, but twice I had to duck around to get my shoulder up and my feet down.

Also I was better at keeping myself facing the line, using the various kicks.

On the way to Annettes and Rons, I stopped into Walmart and picked up some tubs and a rubber backed mat for transporting the wet gear and a nice place to sit/stand while gearing up.

The evening consisted of a very nice soup, and a piece of pie. Followed by changing out a bolt snap for a slightly larger one on my primary reg, and some practice clipping that boltsnap on and off … for about 45 minutes, then my hand and thumb were hurting quite a bit from being still fairly waterlogged, and the stiffer spring of the larger bolt snap.

Weighting wise: we calculated that 36-38lbs would be a good starting point for weight. Normally I take 6-8lbs depending if I’m wearing a wetsuit or not.

With the SS plate, we dropped it down to 30 lbs: 20 lbs in pockets, and 10 lbs on a belt, with the 80 tank.

That seemed to work out pretty well.

The second dive, with the steel tank, we took 6 lbs off the belt.

I need to swap out some weight, since mine is smaller and thicker, and won’t fit into the pocket. The teachers at wilson had their eyes on my 1 lb weights for teaching, and I need some more 5 lb weights for my pockets.

Overall 2 more dives done, and over and hour blowing bubbles with no nuclear missile launches.
Victoria BC, Saxe Point
Date: January 25, 2014
Bottom Time: 36 minutes
Max Depth: 7.7m
Water Temp: 7.8C
Vis: 20 feet
Notes: Drysuit dive 1
Running Time: 42:56

Victoria BC, Saxe Point
Date: January 25, 2014
Bottom Time: 31 minutes
Max Depth: 7.7m
Water Temp: 7.8C
Vis: 20 feet
Notes: Drysuit dive 2
Running Time: 43:27

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