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Dive logs for Vance Stevens, P.A.D.I. Open Water SCUBA Instructor #64181

Abu Dhabi, June 8, 2000
Dives 350 and 351

Diving with: AB Divers, Ebrahim at Meridien
Dive site: Ras Ghurab (head of crow-like bird)
Dive buddies: Mike Galanaugh
Others in dive party: Mark Warney, Jurgen, Isam, Neil and Adam?

Conditions: mild swell to blustery

Water Temp: 30C

Visibility: 5-6 meters

Wetsuit combo: lycra suit

Weight: needed: 4 kg

Training:

Mike Gallanaugh's final Open Water certification dives.

Dive 350

Data from dive computer:

Time started:
Max depth: 4.6 meters
Dive time: 00:36
Min Temp: 30 C (est.)
Nitrox 21% (normal air), No stop

We anchored at the reef and as all divers but us were fun-diving, Ebrahim decided not to deploy a buoy, so Mike and I decided to use it. We accomplished two of the exercises for his course as follows. We took a bearing on a nearby boat with two umbrellas 155 south, and Mike led us 50 meters in that direction, head down, on compass at the surface. At that point we descended into 5 meters of water and secured the buoy on a bit of dead coral. I then had Mike ascend on Emergency Swimming Ascent. He came up a bit fast so we descended and repeated the exercise and he did it perfectly. Mike then led us head down on the surface back to the boat and crossed the anchor line on compass. (Two exercises, ESA and surface compass out and back)

We then descended at the anchor line and I let Mike lead us on compass underwater in the direction of the buoy. He concentrated on his work while I meandered behind him on the bottom. Eventually I got his attention and suggested we surface, and we found we had passed the buoy but that it was more or less between us and the boat, so Mike's compass work had been quite good. On reflection, I should have used my own fin kicks at about 6-7 per 10 meters to prevent us from getting so far past the buoy.

We returned on the surface to the buoy, descended, and conducted Mike's exercises for the dive, full mask clear and fin pivot with oral inflation. For this exercise, I had him remove his low pressure inflator, having explained previously what a potentially dangerous device this is, and that we would dive from that point without it, to show how it was not an essential attachment. Mike had perfected his rapid inhalation technique since our last outing and did the fin pivot well, so I had him move into a hover as practice for the next dive. He did this well also, showing good buoyancy control. We then used the buoy rope as reference and Mike finned 15 kicks to the west, where I became curious about a mushroom shaped rock with a rope dangling from it I thought might be an eel at first. Meanwhile Mike had started his trip back to the buoy line, which he arrived at dead on.

We then meandered back in a northerly direction in the general direction of the boat. I passed over a bit of reef and noticed I had misplaced Mike. I backtracked and found him at the surface. He had had no problem, but on losing me had gone there to wait as per protocol. On the surface, I similated a tired diver. I complicated the exercise by deflating my bcd and dragging in the water so that Mike would have to orally inflate it, since we'd never re-attached the low pressure inflators. He got me back to the boat fine, where we removed and replaced weight belt and then attempted the same with BCD's. Since we were drifting, I asked for a trailing line, and was thrown a heavy fiber rope which didn't trail but sank, and tangled in our fins as we were struggling with our bcds. Mike was having a lot of trouble with that so we aborted the exercise and decided to do it at the start of the next dive, when we could simply drift from the boat.

Dive 351

Surface Interval: 00:44

Data from dive computer:

Time started:
Max depth: 4.6 meters
Dive time: 00:36
Min Temp: 30 C (est.)
Nitrox 21% (normal air), No stop

We started as planned, removing and replacing bcd at the surface, and drifted a little behind the boat. We were over the top of a patch of dark coral so we decided to go down there and follow it to the west, then swing south under the boat and move toward the buoy. We planned to do Mike's remaining two exercises, mask removal and replacement and hover, and agreed that if Mike wanted he could signal me out of air and we would then ascend buddy breathing.

We did all of this pretty well. We started over the reef, and as we passed under the boat I pointed this out to Mike. We then meandered at about 150. I made plenty of detours whenever the coral looked interesting. We were shadowed the whole way by a large and very curious batfish. Again, I failed to count kicks, but the plan was to do the exercise and surface on buddy breathing and then return to fetch the buoy if need be. But on the southerly leg I came up the mushroom coral head with the rope dangling from it and knew then that the buoy was 15 kicks to the west, which indeed it was. So we did the remaining two exercises near the rope, Mike aquitting himself perfectly well. We then circled about the nearest coral head looking at angel fish and grunts and gopies emerging from their holes with the little blue crabs behind them, ducking back inside at the approach of a diver. The coral was in good shape, mostly porites, with yellow, blue, and brown blossoms. I was glad to not see any bare patches as a result of my modest harvest the previous week (all in the name of scientific research; email received that samples had arrived safely). The bat fish stayed with us the whole way.

Eventually we arrived back at the buoy line and 32 min into a planned 40 min dive, I signalled to Mike that we should begin our exercise, so we went into the buddy breathing dance and got ourselves to the surface. I was busy getting Mike properly hooked up to me, dumping both our bcds when needed, and preventing him from breathing inadvertently on his snorkel, but he did well considering the complexity of the maneouver. A fitting end to our dive course.

At the surface I was surprised that I couldn't see the buoy. The wind had risen and the sea was choppy. To the north, Ebrahim was raising the anchor, on his way to fetch us. Coming alongside he urged us to hurry aboard as the buoy was by then halfway to shore. I thought this was impossible because we had just left its tether just minutes before. I thought Ebrahim was pulling our legs and had already picked it up (Mark had been snorkeling nearby and could conceivably have retrieved it while we were surfacing). In fact, it had come apart from the line when the seas came up and what we had seen was the buoyant rope dangling toward the surface. We clambored aboard and rushed into the shallows to retrieve the buoy, which has split its plastic ring attachment (a weak point common to that kind of buoy). We returned to Abu Dhabi for half an hour in chop and spray. Fun day out.

Vance Stevens, vstevens@emirates.net.ae | http://www.vancestevens.com/
June 9, 2000 in Word 2000