Even though Murray and I have over 150 dives each, we are still accumulating knowledge about scuba diving.
I spotted a ray hiding under a shelf, took pictures, pointed him out to others and then moved on. After I left, the ray moved out from under the shelf. I missed that. K showed me a conch, I looked at him, took a picture and then moved on. I looked back and K was still hovering over the spot. The conch was on the move. I missed that too. Lesson 1: Don’t be so quick to move on. Hover for a minute to see what may happen.
Murray got new fins which have made him change the way he kicks underwater. Instead of staying in a belly to the bottom orientation, he rotates from the hips so his fins are at a right angle to the bottom on the left side, then at right angle to the bottom on the right side. Murray figured out that by doing this technique he can actually get closer to the bottom without disturbing the flora and fauna. While watching one of our dive masters, he realized that she used this exact technique. Lesson 2: Use a rotation from the hips to kick in order to get closer to the bottom.
Over the years we have been working on getting more planar in the water. Being “flat”, and not at an angle with head higher than feet, uses less energy to move through the water, uses less air and thus allows for longer dives. One way to encourage this planar orientation, is to use a leveler weight attached up near the top of the tank. In Bonaire, the dive shop had circular weights that fit loosely over the nozzle end of the tank. In Utila, we used a weight belt with a weight on it and wrapped it around the tank just above the BCD strap. Having the weight closer to the head causes the body to naturally go more planar. Now that we have used a leveler weight a few times, we will try to dive without it and still maintain the horizontal. Lesson 3: Use a leveler weight to encourage a planar orientation.
When we left for our first dive in Utila, there were 11 divers and 2 dive masters. Usually the group would be split into 2 groups, each with a dive master, but the New York crew wanted to dive as one large group. The dive masters had this look on their faces of “Are you crazy?” but allowed us to try it to see how it would go. Once in the water, the group spread out nicely and so it did work. It took me a couple of days to figure something out though. I started to get frustrated because the front of the group would find a critter, but by the time we, at the back of the group, got there, the critter was gone. I then realized that Murray and I, who always were at the back of the group, had to dive our own dive, see our own critters, and not worry about what the front of the group was seeing. Once I realized this, I relaxed and didn’t worry if I missed something. Lesson 4: Find your own flora and fauna and don’t worry about what others are finding, especially if you are well behind the front of the group.
When we write up our last dive in our dive logs, we always jot down notes to be read before we dive the next time. This time I made some notes about weights. I was still diving with a bit too much weight, so I wrote down at what weight to start with and what weight to work down to. Murray also wrote notes about weight. Lesson 5: Jot reminder notes down for the next dive trip.
We are already looking toward the next dive trip so we can continue to expand our dive knowledge. Cayman here we come!??!!!!