My first few experiences leading dives were definitely stressful. I was scheduled to not only lead a double mapping dive, but also a deep dive later that week. Both were stressful in their own ways. The double mapping dive was plagued by bad visibility and a constantly shifting dive time. It started with us leaving at 8:00 and it was soon pushed forward to 6:00, which meant a super early start to our day. Unfortunately when we arrived at the site, we discovered that the visibility was less than a meter, meaning we could barely navigate, never mind trying to create a map, we spent most of the time marking out the two ends of the reef so that we could have better anchor points for future dives. It was unproductive in some ways, but we have some good plans for next week’s mapping dives! Then, at the end of the week, we had our DM deep dive, which I also had to plan. This involved a lot of detailed planning; from learning what the site would be like, to how much air we were expected to use and how long we could dive for. I spend the whole week building up to it, and thankfully the dive was mostly problem-free. It definitely was a weight off my shoulders when we were on the boat back to camp! The site that we went to was called The Wall, a large plateau reef that drops off into sand as it gets deeper. The reef was packed full of really cool fish, a bunch that i’d never really seen as we don’t go deep that often.
In regards to positive diving experiences, we had an amazing UVC at Coral Garden, a site notorious for bad visibility and strong currents. Through a little clever guesswork, we found the perfect time to dive there! We arrived on the site to find that there was 20m visibility and absolutely no current! It was such a pretty reef, and my first dive there. It was full of so many interesting fish, and the reef structure itself was like different mountains of coral with rivers of sand in between each. Everything went perfectly and we collected all of the data needed! What’s more it was just generally a fun dive.
Next week; Camp manager, stuck in camp and related cabin fever