Yes, you read that right. It was pretty much an eel explosion on our Divemaster deep dive scenario yesterday as part of the PADI Divemaster program here in Costa Rica. On a beautiful sunny day we headed out, with my 4 divemasters in training armed(just kidding) and ready to go with their full deep diver kit. Deco bottles rigged up, extra wetsuits pulled up and ready to face those thermoclines.
Divemaster Deep dive one
First dive, we headed off down to 36m, (35.5m to be exact or for those of you strange people out there in the world..119 feet). Buoyancy was one fo the big focuses for me. With students training to be dive professionals, I want to see nice horizontal trim, which can be a bit of a challenge first time carrying deco tanks, no kicking up of the bottom and nice calm slow fin kicks. It was beautiful and blue, around 30ft viz down there and with some cool fish. Everyone had paid good attention during their briefings and had been changing their buoyancy on the way down to depth, adding plenty of air into the BCDs which can be easy to forgot if you are focusing on other things.
Once at depth, at this point, we started practicing navigation. One at a time, I gave them a heading and had them navigate that and a reciprocal. This is when you will start to see the nitrogen narcosis set in. Now, not many recreational divers I feel have really experienced nitrogen narcosis or at least realized that is what they were experiencing. It can effect you in different ways, from being euphoric, to being nervous, to just being plain slow.
A simple task like navigating a straight line and back can be suddenly very challenging and you can find yourselves heading in the opposite direction, going round in circles, or just not getting anywhere. For me, watching the students tackle that problem can obviously be quite amusing but it is a great eye opener for them on what to expect and to have more of an awareness of nitrogen narcosis when you head deep with scuba divers.
Challenge number two….
Heading up the reef a bit we explored around until towards the end of the dive they hit their next skill challenge, the DSMB. The Delayed surface marker buoy is an essential bit of scuba diver kit, not just for professionals like Divemasters and scuba instructors. It allows you to attract attention on the surface and in areas like the pacific (or any part of the ocean really) where there is current, you can deploy it from depth so the captain or group on the surface can take note and follow where you are moving too as the current carries you.
At this stage in training, I want to see it being deployed pretty quickly as if it takes you a few minutes to get it deployed you could already be off the site and into the blue. As an added challenge we’ll have a couple of the divemasters deploy them at the same time which means keep those lines taut. If they are loose they will wrap around each other very easily. Oh, and don’t forget that when you inflate them they become buoyant!
Up to the safety stop and then an 8 minute simulated deco stop. nice horizontal position and breathing off of those deco bottles. And yes, once you turn them on at the stop, breathe from them please!!! All great stuff and then back on the boat for a debrief and surface interval.
Divemaster deep dive two and Eel time!
Cookies and fruit eaten, water consumed, and then back into the water for the second dive. Not as deep this time obviously, down to around 26m. A bit more practice on navigation, looking at buoyancy and then exploring. Looking around we see a beautiful little jeweled moray, but wait….there’s another one……and another……and another (and no, we are not swimming in circles!)I counted a total of 12 jeweled Moray eels in the space of 5 minutes between 22 and 26m. That’s a lot!
Maybe it’s that time of year when love is in the water, maybe there is a big abundance of food for them. So, I decided to start finding some information about them, and guess what I found, a bunch of websites about keeping them in aquariums! Why would I want to do that? Such a shame really that the first 5 web listings on them is for them in captivity and even Wikipedia (good old wikipedia) in its short and brief descriptions talks about them having to be in a tank at least of 150 litres and to not be two in together unless introduced at the same time. You know what, how about juts leaving them in the ocean? What do you think? I loved seeing them down there in their natural habitat and maybe mr aquarium should don a scuba suit instead. Just my thoughts thats all!!
So, after two great dives, lots of eel love and some great training the afternoon was over. Well done to all of the Divemasters in training who came on the little adventure that afternoon and onwards to our next challenge!