Posted by Walt on March 23, 2005 at 22:06:20:
In Reply to: Questions on drift diving, diver skill needed for Cozumel posted by Dick Analog on March 23, 2005 at 04:49:57:
If you go to Scuba Club, you'll be diving with a group led by a dive guide. He'll explain the basics of drift diving and will show you the highlights of the reefs. Here are a few additional tips we've learned:
* get to the bottom quickly when you jump in and immediately get with your group (usually 6 or so divers) to save time
* RELAX and breath deeply and slowly, make your air last...we typically can get over an hour from a tank. Let the current carry you and use it to advantage. If you see something that you want to spend time on, get low or behind a coral - get out of the current as much as possible
* if you get in front of your group, duck behind one of the reefs and wait for the grop while you explore the reef and its critters. Don't bother swimming against teh current - save air
* if you fall behind, don't worry, but get more in the current so as to catch up - you want to stay with the group as much as possible because your guide will be pointing out the highlights to be seen on that particular dive (he works for tips, so has a vested interest in having you happy with the dives). Plus someone who lags or drifts off only frustrates the rest of the group.
* watch your computer and nitrogen loading...if you're drifting right, your air will last a lot longer than your available bottom time. Move up the water column a little - just a few feet can give you more no-deco time.
* When you hit your comfort level (mine is on the 'yellow' or when I'm down to 10 to 15 minutes of air), begin your slow ascent. I always do 1 to 2 minutes at half depth before completing the ascent to the safety stop...if you time it right, you'll meet your dive guide who'll be hanging around 15 feet - many guides rig a line from a float they pop to the surface and tie themselves off at the 15 foot mark. You'll then wait for your pick-up boat.
* Enjoy your safety stop and watch the bottom - we've seen eagle rays, turtles, barracuda, bait schools, etc. during our safety stops. Take your time - a 5 to 7 minute safety stop will give your a better safety margin and you'll see a lot
The boat will eventually come to pick you up; I usually hang underwater until I hear / see it coming - lot more comfortable than bobbing like an apple at the surface.
I strongly recommend the beach diving off Club Scuba - I've gotten in 10 to 12 dives off the beach each trip. Each over an hour. My favorite is to stay near shore in 15 or so feet and swim to the lighthouse against the current, exit in the fresh water spring there, relax a bit, re-enter let the current drift me back to Scuba Club as I slowly explore the terrain.
Lots of critters near shore - morays, octopus, bugs, rays, eels, squid, etc. Also, its a great palce for macro photography - look for the small stuff! Plus withte unlimited air policy, you can easily double your week's diving by diving teh beach - not really a beach - its more like a ten foot wall along shore.
Have a great trip and enjoy!
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