Advanced Open Water Diver- Navigation

Saturday John and I finished our advanced open water diver course.  The last piece of the puzzle was our navigation dive.  Our instructor, Tyler, is very knowledgable and patient.  We went over our skills on land and then we entered the water and performed them again. 

Saturday was more than just a navigation dive though.  The surf was up a bit so we also got to practice a surf entry and exit.  Then waves were around 2-5 or something like that.  They were good size but there was also a break between sets so that allowed for entry and exit if the timing was good. 

On our way in we stood on shore and we waited for a break.  Our instructor had told us beforehand to enter with our masks on, fins tightly in our left hand and regulator in our right hand.  That way if we needed to we could put our reg in our mouth and duck under a wave without contending with water in our snorkels etc.  Initially we all entered the water pretty easily.  As I was putting my fins on the waves started breaking on my head.  I put my reg in my mouth and looked down to see what I was doing.  Unfortunately, I was tossed around and it was a general pain in the butt.  I survived though with a little help from John.  But yesterday John insisted that we purchase springs for my fins instead of having to put the straps each time.  He has them and really likes them. 

Once we all had fins on we swam out beyond the surf with our snorkels and the instructor tied off the flag.  That was some cardio right there because we were fighting a surface current.  Once we were all gathered relatively close together and the flag was tied off we descended.  E-beach is a shallow site and is optimal for training because it has a large sand patch where divers can stay on their knees and wait without damaging the reef.  

The visibility was fair, probably around 50ft, and there was a moderate surge.  I was floating around quite a bit while waiting.  The first skill was counting fin strokes for 100 yards, next we did time.  After that was finished we used our compass headings and followed a reciprocal path.  The instructor had said we would do 5 fin strokes but I forgot and just kept on going.  It was rather comical.  The last skill we needed to complete was our navigation of a square. 

I understand the concept of the square but the way Tyler taught us he didn’t move the bezel once it was set to the original heading.  That makes sense to me for a reciprocal heading but heading 90 degrees was tough.  I was trying to do the math in my head and I started to get confused.  I ended up splitting my compass in quarters and that worked.  I definitely need to practice this skill some more.  I was able to take a reading of where the “boat” was on the way out and then tell the instructor where it was at the end of the dive.  That was a big deal because the “boat” was our heading back to shore. 

I think this gave me a foundation to work with and I can practice it at some of my more familiar sites until I am comfortable navigating even and unfamiliar site.  But it’s all about learning right?  I’ll just keep practicing and I’ll get better and better.

I’m diving again on Wednesday with a group of friends and I plan to take 1lb off each side of my BC because I still feel a bit heavy.  John seems to have found his happy place for weight so I’m taking his 1’s and giving him my 2’s.  That way I can play with my weight a bit.  Baby steps though.  I would hate to take off too much and then to too light.

And I can’t forget that I am completing Rescue Diver this weekend also.  I’m staying busy and staying wet.  My equiptment might dry in time to be packed for weds and then the same for Sat.  I’m not a huge fan of putting on a cold wet wet suit.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cravesadventure
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 11:29:36



  2. BCDiver573
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 12:05:10

    Congrats! You’ve got a great area to explore, have fun! Good luck with the rescue diver course, it’s challenging but great.


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