At the end of November we ran a OD open water training at Brixham Breakwater. See how they got on below!
On the 25th November, 9 ocean diver trainees and their instructors took the 2hour journey to Brixham Breakwater, Torbay. Despite the early start and bitterly cold weather, everyone was ready to go on their first open water dive. Some trainees were fortunate enough to use drysuits (if they had been trained in one prior) to stave off the cold, but the rest had to brave the elements in semi-drys.
The first of the two dives that day allowed the trainees to get used to the feeling of diving in open water (and substantially worse visibility than the pristine SU pool). The second tested the skills of the new divers like mask clears, AS ascents and general control in the water.
In-between dives everyone was very happy to make use of the waterfront café to warm themselves back up with a hot chocolate and some cheesy chips (3/10 hot chocolate, really terrible. 6/10 chips, pretty solid).
At the end of the day, despite the winter weather all the new divers had taken their first plunge into open water as a diver, and took some of their final steps towards become qualified ocean divers.
On Sunday 26th November, the shoal of Ocean Diver trainees returned to Brixham Breakwater for the third and fourth open water training sessions; The aim was to complete their qualifications which had been pursued all semester.
Leaving Bristol at 0700 we looked towards a day with slightly more testing conditions than the day before. Upon arrival, the water was still and calm but with a looming forecast of rain and cloud. As before, we made camp on the beach, tactically placed in front of the café and prepared our kit for the day. The equipment, still wet and dripping from the day before, slipped on easily. The faces on the group was a sea of grimaces and frowns; It was the making of new hardy UK divers. The school was ready and teaching began.
The third and fourth outdoor lessons featured the practice of key skills: CBL’s and towing, both necessary for safe diving practice, followed by the first taste of unsupervised diving. Each buddy pair planned a basic dive and each trainee lead part of the plan demonstrating underwater pilotage and compass skills. The visibility was not great (maybe 2-3 metres at best) but still there were regular sightings of crabs, anemone and scallops. We saw Sammy the seal surfacing regularly on the beach but they stayed well hidden under the water, away from us clumsy trainees. The training was completed with varying results with highlights including one insubmergible trainee, even when loaded with 20km and one completely failed drysuit. Even in the face of spitting rain and clouds morale was high and we had a great day out.
Pack-down was efficient, we refueled in the café and returned back to Bristol. Thank you to all the instructors (Edu, Sam, Meg and Harry) for sacrificing both their time and their cars to training the next wave of ocean divers.
Congratulations to our new qualified Ocean Divers!