A busy season – Part two

… The very next day I was back in the water with Yamil and this time we couldn’t finish again as I had another course already booked but we could get another two days done.

Then Ritch came in who I had taught previously during his cave diver course to do some training in deep diving and expand his horizon in cave diving with a basic Sidemount class. As Ritch was already a cave diver his basic skills just needed a little brush up but we were ready to go and introduce new information and skills such as SMB deployment, gas switches, team formation in open water, ascent protocols, and so forth. We did a deep diver and advanced Nitrox combination and so the theory was focused on gear selection, dive planning in regards to decompression, gas volumes, oxygen exposure, emergency procedures and plenty of real life examples. During our dives we saw different environments as we used a Cenote for confined water, a sinkhole for our first dives and then moved over to dives in the ocean. During our dives in the ocean we went down to Xpu-Ha and then drove down a bit south to the deep reefs. After arriving on the bottom I have to admit I was surprised how cool the reef was. Anybody that knows me, knows I am not super keen on ocean diving, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the dives there as it was full of life and colour.

Right after that we were back in the caves (juhu) and our first objective was to built a rig that Ritch would feel comfortable in. Being that Ritch is a bit larger then life it wasn’t quiet that easy but not that hard either, and I think at the end we came to a total price on his rig of like 100usd or smth =) The next two days we were training first in open water to get familiar with the equipment and to understand 3 dimensional diving, fine tuning here and there and working on gas management and emergency procedures the basic game. After that we started with cave diving in passages that he could have passed in backmount but only with serious effort but now in sidemount were manageable with ease. It was cool to see Ritches smile after the dives because he felt so comfortable and free under water as never before with a set of doubles especially since the normal backplate simply doesn’t fit on his back. We even had a day to spare and go for a fun cave dive down in Chan Hol which we both really enjoyed!!!

Ritch in a basic harness with a modified BCD

The days after that we could finally finish Yamils cave training with two last spectacular days in Taj Maha and Xunnan Ha. It was kind of funny since I went from the biggest person I have ever trained (Ritch) right to the smallest one (Yamil). The same way I like to challenge my students during training I like to be challenged myself, and so it was really cool to look for ways to make the two comfortable in the water although they had slight disadvantages due to their seize. At the end of the day the two of them really came around during the course and I was more then happy to sign their certification!!!

Right after that it was my time to be student again, Yipi!!! I had enrolled in a GUE fundamentals class with Fred who I know and respect for some years now. I am constantly trying to evolve as a diver and as a diving instructor and part of that is to take classes myself not only to see again how it feels to be watched and critiqued but also to see how the instructor teaches and relates information. All in all it was a great experience and lots of fun and I am looking forward to do further courses with Fred an hopefully also with Danny and Chris!

At the same time my dear friend and dive partner Hans (with family) was is town and so of course we had to seize the opportunity to go cave diving. He had spent the last couple of days exploring with Mauro while I was teaching and now that I was free the three of us went to Cenote 307 adding some 600ft of line in small unstable but awesome cave!!! The day after that we went down to Dos Pisos for a three hour swim around since neither of the two had been there before. There is really hardly anything better for me then going cave diving with a couple of friends and just enjoy a day out in the nature!

Little Hans

The day after that I was back teaching, finishing Anneleens course that she had started with Nando. We had only the last three days left to go from intro to full cave. Anneleen is a local diving instructor who finally after living here for more than a year gave in and started cave diving. It was fun to watch because she instantly was so fascinated and stunned by the caves that she was still smiling hours after ascending =)))))

Finally the last couple of days I had the great pleasure to dive with Dr. Mel Clark and show her around a little bit which was great. Of course it is always cool to dive with another CCR cave diver especially one that is in the hall of fame!!! We did some really amazing dives and finished with an insane trip from Cenote Dos Palmas to The Pit and back. Some 4h of non stop scootering…I don’t know what was better the dive or finally getting out of the water releasing the pressure in certain areas =)

Mel with a 42 … without batteries in it though =)

After that I got another two former cave students in, Jojo and Chris from the french part of Swiss. We started of doing a stage, multistage course which was really super fun, since I had to teach in french which always kind of makes me look like a stand up comedian. In the evenings my brain was so much in knots that I started to mix all sorts of languages and simply was not able to communicate anymore. Moments like this always make me think of my polish chemistry teacher in high school, being that chemistry isn’t the easiest subject in the first place, only being able to understand every third word of the teacher doesn’t really help either 😉 But they both assured me that I was doing great and that they really understand what I am talking about (yeah right…)! Thanks god hand signals are international!!!

Jojo and Chris still suited up to avoid the bloodsuckers 😉

After that Jojo continued with a Normoxic Trimix class which brought me back again to dive in the ocean. After the confined water session in a cenote we dove out of Xpu-Ha, mostly hanging out at the drop off =) Jojo really enjoyed the training especially the ratio deco which was a new concept to him and as he told me changed completely the way he looks at dive planning now! I am always happy and glad to get such a reaction from a student!

So I hope this little report shows why I didn’t post too much in the last 2 months but I was simply too busy living the dream and going diving every day, hahahah! I hope you enjoyed the post nearly as much as I enjoyed the dives!!!

cheers Patrick

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1 cave diving news from mexico =) - Rebreather World { 06.09.10 at 6:45 pm }

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