Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Placebo weight dive - Holborough Lakes, 17th April 2016

Another 9am start. Holborough Lakes again (instead of Buckland) for this month’s well-attended training and shake-down dive. Entry was £10. The site has good facilities including a compressor and a clean toilet. Today wasn’t too busy – just us 12, a few other divers, and some bonkers swimmers (sans wetsuits).

Lee and Victor dived with Steve R and Aaron to do a bimble, controlled buoyant lifts, rescue breaths, towing and landing a casualty, some of this having been done in the pool on Wednesday with Geraint and Daniel. Ken took Emily snorkelling and then for a short dive (curtailed due to ear problems). Frank dived twice with Corissa, Ken joining them with his rebreather on the second. Sally and Clive provided shore cover. Audrey and Simon provided encouragement from the shore.

Frank demonstrated the placebo effect perfectly, requesting more weights from Sally, unknowingly dropping them, but then descending satisfactorily. Also of note, the second dive turned out to be Frank’s 500th, yet he somehow “forgot” to do it just in his trunks.

We were finished by 2pm.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Open Water Instructor Course - 16th April 2016

by Victor

The Open Water Instructor Course forms part of the progression towards qualifying as a BSAC Open Water Instructor (to summarise: IFC + OWIC + TIE + PIE = OWI). The course is not assessed (although in some respects it felt like it was), and costs £69, plus – for this particular course/location – £10 entry at Wraysbury Dive Centre.

Around 15 attendees met at 9am at Wraysbury Primary School. Janos Suto was the boss, and other instructors included Cameron, Ali, Michele and Russell. Most attendees were from London and SE England, including Sally and me from Bermondsey BSAC.

The day began with a presentation about the various considerations instructors need to address when moving from the pool to open water training (this was a recap of part of the Instructor Foundation Course), and continued with presentations about organising an open water lesson, where we were reminded of the many acronyms we learnt during the IFC – STEP, SEEDS, PPP, REAP etc. We then broke up into 5 groups and were tasked with the job of designing 4 open water lessons (rescue breaths, compass navigation, buoyancy and controlled buoyant lifts).

The next part of the course involved delivering those open water lessons at Wraysbury Dive Centre up the road. The place was busy, but we had enough space to do our lessons unobstructed. Wraysbury has good facilities including a large car park, kit hire, cafĂ© and compressor. Visibility wasn’t great, but it was decent enough for what we were doing. The water was cold, which got to some of us by the time we were delivering the third and fourth lessons.

We later reconvened at Wraysbury Primary School for a useful presentation about how – for example – a club wreck dive presents many opportunities to deliver training. It was emphasised that a diver’s dive career shouldn’t end when they become an instructor. Importantly, it was also emphasised that BSAC training is what is set out in the Diving Instructor’s Manual, not what a certain diver in your club might think it is. Janos then provided a detailed explanation of where the OWIC fits into BSAC instructor training, and what attendees can move on to – this part of the course probably wasn’t necessary, as attendees knew all this.

Sally enjoyed today, but I can’t say I did, due to the cold and my tiredness. I did, however, find the day useful. It is important to attend courses like this where you have an opportunity to think through your training thoroughly, get feedback from senior instructors and peers, and crib ideas from others.

A little more advance information about the day (including an idea of timings, and a warning that there would be no break for lunch) would have been useful.

We finished at 6pm, by which time the sun had come out, making the drive home rather pleasant.

Big thanks to all the volunteer instructor trainers, who gave up a chunk of their weekend for us.