29 Down

Today was our first dive after our open water certification.  I had booked our tour with Deep Ecology who we did our certification with a few weeks ago.  I was excited for our first underwater adventure and it was topped off by going out again with our instructor. 

We arrived at the shop at 745am and took off from the shop about 830.  It was an hour-long ride down to Waianae Boat Harbor where we met the captain.  We were off pretty quickly and out to sea.  Our guides had planned a couple of dives for us today but unfortunately they were “greened out”, whatever that means.  So we proceeded to another dive site close by.  If we hadn’t been told we never would have known the difference.  These dive sites all have mooring buoys so when we arrived the divemaster got in the water and announced that we were at the wrong site.  But, we proceeded anyway. 

The site we dove today is called 29 down because it’s an airplane fuselage that was used in a TV series by the same name.  From what I could find it was sunken in 2007.  Not much of it remains now.  It’s about a 70-80ft dive and there is reef near by.  We didn’t see anything big today except one lonely Honu passing through at the end.  but we did see an Eel and a bunch of little fishies. 

Our depth today was to be between 75 and 80 feet and that scared the heck out of me.  We have never been down more than 35 or so feet.  It was also only the second time I had been boat diving and practiced rolling off the side of a boat.  I was really nervous.  The last time I dropped off the side of a boat I panicked.  This time I had a little bit of experience in the water so I knew I would be ok once I got in.  I was familiar with the gear etc so I would be ok. 

There we 7 of us in all that went down today 6 divers and a divemaster.  Mark, our divemaster and instructor is so patient that I knew we would have a good time.  I was really surprised that I never even knew that I was down nearly 80 feet.  John certainly didn’t know it. 

John has been itching to get some under water photos.  I don’t know if it’s the novelty of being able to take pictures under water or what.  He rented a camera from the dive shop and he was in heaven.  Unfortunately, I was his buddy and he was completely oblivious to my presence.  He took off on his own and was taking pictures without a care in the world.  Normally it’s annoying but it’s not a safety issue.   When you’re scuba diving it’s a safety issue because you are supposed to be looking out for each other.  I was stuck trying to get him to come when Mark said it was time to surface.  John was off taking pictures with no regard for his depth or his bottom time.  This is a problem. 

Why?  Because when you go SCUBA diving you retain nitrogen in your blood.  When the level of nitrogen gets too high you get “the bends” or “decompression sickness”.  This is easily avoided by staying within certain parameters.  Everyone has a dive computer these days and they track your depth and time so that you are able to get your maximum down time.  If you don’t look at it though it can’t help you.  The other thing that needs to be tracked is air pressure.  Your computer doesn’t do this for you.  You need to be checking your gauge.  John surfaced with about 300-400psi of air.  That’s the bare minimum that you are supposed to have in your tank.  What he didn’t take into account was a 3 minutes safety stop at 15 ft and the slow 80 foot ascent that we would need to make on the air that we had remaining.  About the time you hit 1000psi you need to be heading back up.  John was pretty dangerously close to being in trouble today.  Not to mention he put me in danger because he wasn’t paying attention.  If I had an equipment malfunction he never would have known it because he swam away from me and didn’t pay any attention to my welfare.  Hopefully he learned something from it because he got told afterward. 

Another issue was John was touching the reef and dragging on the bottom.  He needs to work on staying buoyant.  So do I.  The second time down I couldn’t stay off the bottom at all.  No matter what I did I just couldn’t stay buoyant.  Come to find out, the deeper you go, the more air you will need in your BCD to remain neutral.  So I learned something to use the next time I dive. 

Overall he and I both had a really good time.  It was a learning experience for both of us.  We learn and then we don’t make that mistake again.  He took about 60 pictures but only 15 or so turned out good.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenkakio
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:14:51

    Congrats!!!! Wow, I am so proud of you. I wish I had the courage to take a dive class.

    Good call on the rental of a waterproof camera. Not so good call on your husband. He must’ve been really excited if he forgot about you. It’s okay, tho….maybe next time he won’t.

    So, what’s next in the underwater adventures?


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