Hello all again…
The Crane is a tricky site. It can go down to 24m (80ft) or you can stay about 10m (33ft) for most of the dive. When you leave the beach you go out and you see a crane that rumor has it was dumped by the hotel adjacent to the beach entrance due to the fact that they boxed themselves in building the swimming pool and it would have cost too much to get it out. Let’s hope that’s not the case. From the crane, the rock creates a wall that jets out like a peninsula, forming bays.
I ended up doing eight separate dives over three weeks and one snorkel swim to confirm the bearings, and by the end of the project the three of us had done ten full dives at the Crane. It was exhausting but very educating. The team ended up making a lot of mistakes, but we also learned a lot by making those mistakes. Thankfully we are finished and we did our presentation and we all passed. Hard to believe that we did so much work for just a pass, but like I said, we learned a lot.
The Crane as seen from Google Maps
Tradition has it that on your 100th dive you are supposed to go naked. I’m not sure how true this is and I am also thinking about how much of the world of diving lies in cold climate areas, but I like a challenge. Due to customers and such it actually ended up being my 107th dive. I choose the site Mar Azul which, my favorite due to its deep waters, very easy entry/exit and the time, 3-4:00 pm on Monday, May 4th. I chose this date and time due to the tides; it was going to be high tide and that would make getting and out even easier. I also got a buddy to come along. Erin was just past dive 50, but I can’t dive alone, so I said if she accompanies me naked, I will go again for her 100th dive. She agreed and then the day came. We wore our swim suits to the site because there were many people there. Normally Mar Azul is vacant and it was a Monday afternoon after a major European holiday, so I was hoping for a little privacy. I understand that the Spanish are very easy going concerning nudity, but myself being an American am still adjusting. We hopped in and took off our suits in the water and then Dan snapped a picture with us covering our privates. Erin and I then timed ourselves as PADI says you need twenty minutes for a dive to count. So we swam away and had a great time. When the twenty minute marker came we suited back up but it became too difficult for Erin to do tie her top so she just motioned to go and we climbed out, half naked and as it turned out there were a group of German’s sitting right on the edge, but Erin, freezing as she was, just couldn’t be bothered and carried on. It was one of the most enjoyable and memorable dives I’ve ever had and I am actually looking forward to doing it again.
Left: Erin and I entering the water at Mar Azul, you can see we are sans wetsuits.
Right: Erin and I underwater trying to hold a slate that has 100 written on it.
Paula finished her Divemaster internship last week. We had to rush to finish all of the skills, so and Erin and I took advantage of this by doing a lot of our requirements too. The mapping and timed skills were all part of this, but we focused on demonstrating skills underwater. There are 24 skills that we may have to demonstrate to a student during an Open Water Class, which we need to preform and score at least a 3 out of 5, although Dan and Tara really expect 4s and 5s. During this time, we were also busy finishing up our divemaster required dives:: Deep Dive with skills and Search and Recovery.
The Deep Dive was done at Mar Azul, but we found that no matter how far out the ocean went it leveled off and we were unable to get deeper than 30-32m (100-104ft). We stayed and did our two objectives. One was to do a skill at the surface and again on the deep dive to show how much slower you are. We had a kids toy that could become a cube and we had to put it together. Erin made a square instead of a cube, Paula didn’t understand the task, but I am happy to say that I was the fastest. The second thing that we did was crack an egg open. It remained a perfect sphere, until a puffer fish made the yolk its lunch The point was to see the effects of pressure on our bodies. It would waiver a little but you could hold it in your hand. It was very cool to experience.
Directly after the Deep Dive we did our Search and Recovery dive. Adrian, one of the instructors here, went out and hid a stack of weights and we had to find it using our skills in search and recovery. We used a U-Shape search pattern and began our search underwater. There was a miss-communication on which direction to go and we stayed too close together instead of maximizing our search area. We then practiced using a lift bag as it would have been too difficult for us to carry the stack of weights, and that task was a lot of fun. Tara tried to hide her knife and tell us to find it but Paula had seen her hide it and had thought that she had actually lost it, so she went directly to it while Erin and I began an expanding square search. It was pretty funny.
Paula finished her course that day but stayed for an extra week of diving. Ultimately she finished with 106 dives. She is now in Spain before she moves up to Norway to work for the Summer doing whale watching tours.
Despite how much we have been diving and helping out on courses, we do find a bit of time now and then to do fun dives. The day after Paula’s divemaster course was finished we took the Sunday to do some adventure diving. Dan took us out on his boat to Palm Mar Wall, where we hoped to see dolphins. We did not see any, but we did see a lot of rays and it was a fun dive. The only sad part was that Paula lost her mask getting back into the boat. The month old, near new mask. I felt really bad for her. Erin gave up the next dive so that Paula could go by giving up her own mask. The next site was the Meridian, which is a semi-new wood wreck that has sunk twice. I really enjoyed the wreck and Dan asked me how I liked it. I said I loved it, though the time was short as Tara and Paula had gone back looking for Paula’s mask and had therefore shortened their surface interval and were close to going into to decompression on the Meridian.
Left is the Meridian. Center is Pal Mar Canyon and Right is Dan driving the boat.
My large Scubapro mask (or as Erin calls it, the brick) I bought for my first open water course is finally retired. I loved my brick but it is now ten years old and the seal isn’t holding. Dan tried to fix it but the glue didn’t last. It had ruined more than one dive so I decided to look for a new one. As it turns out the Scubapro guy was stopping by the very next day and so I took a look at his inventory and chose a new mask. It’s exactly what I wanted and it works great. Even Erin bought her very first piece of dive equipment, a brand new mask.
Left is my old mask and the right is my new one.
We had Paula’s goodbye party a little early as Dan was leaving us for a week but it was fun and Tara cooked some really delicious food. Towards the end of the evening Dan even brought out the tequila. Paula followed tradition and drank a drink that was poured through a snorkel.
The weather is really heating up and that means that the ocean has warmed as well. We now have 20-21 degrees Celsius (68-71F) and it feel amazing. I gave up my vest and Erin her second wetsuit and running in the morning is easier than ever.
Paula’s Divemaster Celebration