Last weekend I did two days of solid diving, including putting much of what I learned into action. But, I’ll tell you about that weekend, later... for now, enjoy!
In case you missed them:
TRIMIX COURSE - PART 3
DAY 1 (CONT.)
Our Day 1 dives were done, but the day was far from over. We were in for a fine session of gas mixing and dive planning, not to mention Rubens’s critique of our
One of the first things Rubens does in his debriefs is to get each student’s opinion of positives and negatives. Most tech divers push themselves hard – we want to be the best we can – and we are quick to notice our mistakes; however, we often forget that we get a lot right, too. Rubens allowed us to remember our strengths and ensured we learned from our weaknesses.
The TDI Trimix course certifies us to dive to 60 metres. We really wanted a dive to 60 metres. We mixed the gases, we cut the plans, we checked the forecast and crossed our fingers. It would all come down to the weather gods.
DIVE 3 53M TRIMIX 19/41.
Our 60-metre dive wasn’t to be, Hughie (weather god of the sea) had other plans. A two-metre plus swell stopped us venturing far offshore. We settled for a relatively sheltered spot called The Thumbs.
The last time I was deeper than 50 metres, I breathed air and the narcosis left me uncomfortable. My toes and fingers buzzed, I was paranoid and my peripheral vision closed in. If we could get deeper on this dive, it would be a good test of how much difference Trimix can make.
A few hundred metres offshore and the sounder showed 50 metres plus. We dropped in, did our s-drills and headed for the bottom. We landed on sand, but could see reef structure in the distance. A check of our gauges showed 53 metres.
I remember thinking: Wow, this stuff really works! My mind was clear, vision was wide and I felt in control. Here we were, at a depth where narcosis on air was debilitating, swimming around as if it was only 30 metres. U N B E L I E V A B L E.
Rubens pulled out his flash cards. Problem 1 – Your drysuit inflator is stuck on: no worries, disconnect the inflator hose and continue the dive. Problem 2 – your primary computer/timer has failed: on to the backup timer. Problem 3 – you have lost your primary tables: okay, get out the backup slate. And that was it – problems solved. No hesitation, no uncertainty, just clear, concise thought.
Time always passes quickly at depth and this dive was no exception. All too soon, we were leaving the bottom and heading for our first stops. At 30 metres, we changed to EAN32, at 15 metres we shot our surface markers and by 12 metres we were on EAN60.
As our deco commitments cleared, Rubens had us practice gas sharing, with the donor losing his mask, while slowly ascending – more skills to ensure the task loading never stopped.
4 32M TRIMIX 19/25.
By lunchtime on Day 2, Hughie was showing off and we were going elsewhere. Nasty winds and big seas off the coast meant our final dive was at Port Arthur. More famous for the convict-built ruins that were the site of Australia’s most infamous prison, the waters of Port Arthur provided our haven.
This dive was a mix of skills while not wearing a mask, including removing and replacing stage tanks, valve drills and following a line with no reg – to simulate an out-of-gas swim to a buddy.
Dive complete, we surfaced with grins from ear to ear… just the theory exam to go.
The final exam was extensive and covered dive planning, procedures, the advantages of Trimix and the disadvantages. With most of the course being practical, I was glad to have revised my theory beforehand.
And that was it. Course done, and freshly minted Trimix divers out the door.
|Trimix Divers: L-R ~ Steve Dale (assistant instructor), James Sutil, Craig Harris, |
Rubens Monaco (instructor), John Silberberg.
Big thanks go to Rubens Monaco from IDC Scuba at Portsea in Victoria. He’s a great instructor who gets the best from his students. Thanks also to Andrew Fitzpatrick from Go Dive in Tasmania, who provided the boat and facility where the course ran. Also thanks to the other guys on the course, you were a lot of fun.