Two Strikes


The last 2 days I have tried, and failed, to finish my divemaster class.   Yesterday the conditions were ok at the site we went to but by the time we were able to get in the water we really didn’t have time to accomplish what we set out to accomplish because my instructor had another obligation.  It was still a fun dive but I left a bit disappointed and with plans to try again this afternoon. 

This afternoon my instructor, again, was generous to give up some of his free time to help me finish my class.  I had invited a friend along because she is leaving the island soon and I don’t know when she’ll get another chance to dive.  The conditions on the north shore the last few days haven’t been ideal.  We have had a strange June swell rolling through and it’s kept us from our favorite haunts.  Lucky for me my instructor knows all the best places. 

As we entered the water today we could see that there were waves breaking but followed anyway.  I trust my instructor implicitly and I know he would never lead me to a dive he didn’t think me capable of.  Once we got out to the trench in which we intended to dive we found that there was a strong current running.  My instructor, wisely, decided to descend as to not fight the surface current.  We followed to a place where he said we could do my skills.  I didn’t know it at the time but he descended and found an even stronger current down at the bottom of the trench.  Sitting just on the edge of the trench he handed me a lift bag and a rope to lift a weight belt to the surface as is required for my search and recovery scenario.  The current and surge were really wicked and the reef sharp and I began to tie my knots several times with no success.  Finally my instructor signaled for me to ascend and asked me if I wanted to call it off.  As much as I hated to do it I was finding the conditions just too challenging.  I handled the surge and the current fine until I tried to do something besides simply look around.  So he led us all to an exit and we called our activities for today. 

After we were ashore he said that he thought it was a learning experience.  He said he felt the current and almost called off the dive but wanted to see how I would handle it.  It seemed like he was trying to teach me about having limitations.  So I’m not sure if I passed the test or not.  I can definitely see his point though.  With a less experienced group of divers I definitely would not have made that dive.  A friend always used to tell me that the point of diving is to see stuff and if you can’t see it’s not worth doing.  There wasn’t much to see today accept a bunch of silt covered reef.  But we weren’t really there for the scenery either, it was training. 

A puzzling question I was asked is did it humble me.  It makes me wonder if I seemed too sure of myself.  It’s actually quite interesting because there have been times when I have been nervous or scared or just not confident in my skills in the water.  But I like to make it a point to appear as if everything is great outwardly and especially in front of clients.   I wonder if perhaps I gave the impression that I am over-confident, or maybe I have appeared to push the limits.  Scuba diving is all about knowing your limits and maybe I’m reading too much into the conversation.  Perhaps the point was simply to get me in the water and show me what bad conditions feel like.  There have been times when I have passed on dives because I didn’t like the conditions.  Not too many, but a few times.  Conditions here in Hawaii cooperate most of the time if you plan properly.  Perhaps the lesson is not to push the limits to accomplish a goal.  I’m not sure, but I did learn something today. 

I did leave disappointed and frustrated but it has nothing to do with the people and everything to do with the ocean.  The gods just haven’t been smiling on me this week.  It’s been a test of my patience.  I’m so close to finishing up my class and I really want to knock out the last three things, but not at the expense of safety.  I made the right call today, of that I have no doubt.  But mother nature just didn’t cooperate. 

I have plans to try again on Thursday and I hope to accomplish my goals then.

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