After 2 months here at Reef Doctor, I’ve finally started more dive training! Now that everyone is up to the same level ( as some had to learn to dive first, coming here with no prior experience) we have started our Advanced Open Water. The AOW is made up of at least 5 “Adventure dives” intended to expand the variety of things you can do while diving, this week we have already completed our Buoyancy and Navigation dives, which were both loads of fun to do.
The buoyancy dive consisted of doing fine detail tasks without moving around too much in the water, swimming through hoops without hitting the sides- this was also repeated, but with us swimming upside-down through the hoops, a surprisingly hard task- and trying to move around with extra weight. These games really helped me practice my buoyancy, and I definitely understand a little more about moving through the water.
The Navigation dive was definitely one I was more worried about, as my sense of direction isn’t the best underwater, but in the end I did really well! We first had to swim 30 meters in a buddy pair, one person counting kick cycles ( how many time the the same leg returns to the same position, a basic way of measuring distance) the other marking points of natural reference, we then swapped role and swam back again. Using the measurement from the previous task, we had to swim first a 15 meter square, then a 30 meter square, using a compass to navigate. My buddy and I left a DSMB ( a surface signalling device, hi-vis orange in colour) to mark where we started, and every time, we returned withing 5 meters of it! I’m really happy everything worked out alright, and it was really fun to learn new skills that will be useful in future dives.
In addition to all of this, our UVC survey training has really kicked into gear no all the old interns have left. We will be the only people there to do the UVCs in January, so everyone must be up to standard in time for the next cycle. UVCs ( Underwater Visual Census) are a kind of underwater survey used to measure the health of life on the reef. We survey multiple different sites across the bay, four times a year. In order to be able to take part in these dives, you need specific training. This includes; completed ID tests on Fish, Invertebrates, and Benthic of the local species, tests completed on size estimation, and 3 mimic surveys each time taking a different role. Once this and a variety of other factors are fulfilled, then you may take part in the surveys. This week was quite productive, as I managed to complete the Invert quiz and pass all of the fish length training dives, so now I am busy revising fish and benthic, in the hopes that I can take those quizzes soon!
Next Week; Christmas holidays! I won’t really have internet, so may take a while to upload.