Posted by JRM [aka JRM] on July 16, 2001 at 18:13:43:
I just finished the lecture and pool portions of the "Fundamentals of DIR" taught by Mr. John Walker. It was very enlightening, very humbling, and very frustrating. Enlightening because I learned so much. Humbling because I now have a rather accurate assessment of my in-water skills. Frustrating because every little bit I learn demonstrates how much more there is to know. It's kind of like watching the end of the tunnel move 20 yards further away with each step.
We started with lecture on Friday night, which I was late for, because I got stuck in traffic. Not being from the area, I blew chunks on the ETA. But eventually I got there, and after taking a short ribbing about events that have transpired here on this bbs, we moved forward.
I think I probably took at least 12 pages of notes during the lecture portion. We covered everything from the history of deco theory to Unified Dive Team mechanics. And John Walker is an *excellent* teacher. He really has a gift for conveying information. That and he seems excited about teaching it. He really lets his experience teach us.
The pool sessions were an eye opener. For the record, I went in with my split fins, but borrowed a reg to replace the Poseiden (which will be headed to ebay along with some other stuff). The webbing on my harness was a bit short, so I replaced it with that from my AL plate (bought both in a combo deal, used). I was a bit slow in getting everything pieced back together. To say it wasn't a really great gear weekend for me would be accurate (It wasn't the gear, it was me. I just seemed to have two left hands). Eventually I got everything sized and done, and it was into the pool.
Even in my short (very short) diving career I've picked up several very bad habits. Not the least of which is sculling with my hands. That's a no-no. But as I came to find out, since it's impossible to do much other than a flutter kick with the Bio-fins, I can at least share the blame with my equipment (and save a shred of ego, possibly). The coolest thing ever is finning backwards (again, not really possible with splits). Wearing the jetfins I could at least make some small headway. It's worth the price of admission alone to learn that little trick. I'll be practicing that in the pool here a lot. We did lots of air sharing, and other stuff.
We learned to deploy a liftbag with a spool, while attempting to maintain trim and bouyancy. OK, that's way harder than I thought it was going to be. I had thought that lift bags would be the realm of the "technical" diver. But there are some definite applications in the recreational world. Regaurdless, it's great task loading. The first time I tried was probably the ugliest thing seen underwater since Motley Crue went swimming. My buddy looked over at me and somehow managed to give me the OK sign with a straight face. Well, unsatisfied with that performance, I had to try again. By the end, I could deploy it (if you can really call it that) without scraping the bottom too bad. Yet another skill that requires much work.
The drills had some added excitement, provided by Mr. Walker. Like many things, it's best not to know too much going in. Needless to say that when in the water with him, try to keep at least one eye on him, because if he gets away from you you're in trouble. Watching him underwater is really amazing. And he seems to swoop in out of nowhere. Scuba Toys pool isn't that big, so I'm still not sure exactly how he does it.
The reason this is part 1 of 2 is because the red tide and SW swell closed the beaches on Sunday. That and there really wasn't boat space for us to be found anywhere, except perhaps to SB Island, which isn't really practical. The Open Water portion is supposed to be even more intense than the pool (by several orders of magnitude), so I'm sure I'm in for another ego deflating episode. Of course, I'm going to be practicing in the pool up here at least 1 night, so hopefully I won't be such a swimming disaster.
I can't possibly stress how important a course like this is. I just wish that DIR wasn't such a polarized issue. But even if you don't have a wish in the world to dive DIR, the class is still applicable. The class is exactly what I had wished my PADI AOW class could have been. Actually, it kind of made that class seem like a huge joke. I may have an Advanced C-card, but I don't even scratch the surface of being an advanced diver.
So go take the course, you won't be sorry. The confidence it builds is great, and you can learn and have fun as a bonus. As soon as I finish the OW portion I'll try to do a whole class summary.
-- as last time, I'll be dropping back in my hole, so replies not sent via email will not be read by me in any reasonable time frame.
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