You're sitting there on the boat, in between two dives. You're relaxed, enjoying your surface interval, perhaps grabbing a snack and some water, talking about the dive you just finished, when suddenly, another diver pops up, flailing and yelling for help. What do you do?
This weekend, we learned just that - what to do in a diver emergency - and even practiced it. After a weekend at the quarry, we are now PADI's two newest rescue divers. Even through we were only certified a year and a half ago, with all the diving we've done, not the mention the variety of dives, it feels like a lifetime ago. Up until this point, our training and diving has more or less been focused on ourselves. We have now reached the point in our diving where we can begin to focus on others. The class taught us the skills and techniques to help divers in trouble. More than that though, it taught us to pay attention to signs that could make a diver emergency more likely, and ways to prevent potential problems. I hope these are skills we never have to use, but knowing we are capable of rendering aid should the need arise is comforting.
On Saturday, we observed a friends open water certification class and Aaron and I were able to directly observe diver stress, a common occurrence among new divers for a number of reasons (not that it's a bad thing). We did two dives with the group and then, in the afternoon, practiced the skills portion of the Rescue Diver open water sessions. We learned how to assess the situation, tow a diver to safety, give rescue breaths in water, ascend from depth with an unconscious diver and how to handle a panicked diver. We were all in dry suits and the water temperature on the surface was in the 60s, and the air temperature all day had been in the 80s. It was a lot more work than I was anticipating and by the end of the day I was exhausted, hot, and STARVING. Thankfully, we had a break where we were able to get out of our dry suits (i.e. cool off) and relax for a bit.
After setting up the tent, we cooked dinner over the camp fire with some friends. We had a veritable smorgasbord of food! Steak, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, oven-fried potatoes, asparagus, and macaroni salad. All of it was delicious. After dinner, we headed back over the quarry for a night dive. Stephanie is a newly certified diver and this was her first night dive. She did great! We hopped in the water a little bit earlier this week so it was really more of a twilight dive. Being so close to the summer solstice means that it doesn't get truly dark until late. We had to weigh the pros and cons of getting in a little earlier - more light, but we can pop that first beer earlier, or, a true night dive and that beer might get warm waiting for us (and really, who likes warm beer?). I think you can guess which option we chose.
After staying up far later than anticipated (seriously, I think time goes into warp speed around a campfire), and an early-ish morning on Sunday, it was back into the water for the scenario portion of the rescue diver course. We had three scenarios we had to work through. The first two were the same, but Aaron and I switched roles between them. There was one unresponsive diver and one panicked diver that we needed to rescue. The third scenario was a missing diver that was found unresponsive at depth. This class was, by far, the hardest dive training we have ever been through. It took us a full two days to recover.
On Monday night, the dive shop had their monthly social. We went to the Wurst Bar in Ypsilanti and enjoyed some delicious sausages and brews with other divers (remember what I said in this post about diving being 90% social and 10% underwater?). I like to think that by going there, I'm training myself for the copious amounts of cased meats and beer that the Germans are known to consume. Aaron and I both really look forward to these monthly socials and we are going to miss the friends we've made when we are in Germany. Hopefully we can find a dive shop with a decent social side to it (it's in the plans to interview dive shops when we are there on our look and see trip).
What were you all up to this weekend? Anyone doing any diving? Eating any sausages?