Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship – May – Benjamin

Hello all again…

Mapping

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 Dive Site
The Crane as seen from Google Maps

100 Dives
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.
100th Dive100 dive

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’s Divemaster
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.

Fun Dives
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.

MeridianPar Mar CanyonDan Driving the Boat

Left is the Meridian. Center is Pal Mar Canyon and Right is Dan driving the boat.
My Mask
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.

Mask 1Mask 2

Left is my old mask and the right is my new one.

Living
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.

Paulas Dinner 1  Paulas Dinner 3Paulas Dinner 4Paulas Dinner 2

Paula’s Divemaster Celebration

Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship – April – Benjamin


Two weeks ago we finished our Rescue Diver Course and we immediately started our Divemaster Course. We received a large bag with two books, a couple of training guides, the training log book with Instructor manual and the Divemaster dvd. The dark blue booklet is my dive log, which I purchased on my own.

Divemaster Package
A picture of the Divemaster package with my logbook at the top.

This is definitely a different type of  course. Erin and I started right away, reading as fast as we could. Paula was already ahead of us, as she started the internship a month ahead of us. The first half of the book went quickly, PADI Divemaster professionalism, responsibilities, etc., but the second half goes into more complex ideas of pressure, volume, density and dive related injuries, like Decompression Sickness. It’s quite a bit more challenging than the first part.

Training

We have to meet certain challenges to become a Divemaster: 800m snorkel, 400m swim, 15 minute float with the final 2 minutes hands free, 100m tired diver tow (literally dragging a person in the water), and the big one is a complete exchange of equipment, underwater, sharing one regulator. These are all timed depending on how fast you are, you get a certain amount of points, of which you need a certain amount to pass the course. We have finished all of them, with the exception of the equipment exchange. I came in first on the swim, Paula was first on the snorkel race, and Erin was first on the tired diver tow. It was nice that we all got the best time on one challenge each. The float isn’t a race, you have to do fifteen minutes; the grade is based on how well you tread water.

Diving

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Above: Tara gets the Open Water Divers ready with their skills and on the right, we are relaxing with some coffee and lunch between dives.

We had a very busy two weeks here. We started on April 20th with an Open Water Course that turned out to be challenging, as two of them had trouble with some of the course and one ended up leaving; diving was not for him. The others did great and passed the course very happy, one is even thinking about returning as an intern. Then we started mapping out a site called the Crane. Every Divemaster has to map one site and ours is huge since there are three of us: Paula, Erin and I. It is IMG_1052also covered in Sea Urchins and the depth can very from 9 meters to 20+. We have found it challenging to say the least. Mapping involves literally drawing the most detailed map of the site possible, marking the route with bearings, depths and finding every point of interest possible and then putting all of this information into a presentation so that we can present it, and dive it with our instructor as he grades us. We have dived it four times thus far and we still have several more to go.
Later in the week we were hit with lots of divers, so it was up to Erin and I to go on the dives with them because Paula hurt her ears and has been out of the water. I did 13 dives in seven days, which is a record for me, and I am up to 94 dives total. Coming up is the special 100th, where tradition has it, you dive naked. We will see how that goes.

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Above: On our way in the dive van to our last Open Water Dive.

 

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On a non-diving day we helped clean and repaint cylinders to meet a new Spanish standard.

 

Living
IMG_1063Things have been good at home. Erin and I have become more productive now that we have a solid goal in front of me. We have spent hours on our days off studying and learning. The cat has made one smelly return since I put out the sensor air fresheners, but I have been checking every morning and I haven’t see any sign of him. So hopefully he is gone for good this time.
The weather is beginning to warm up and so is the water. It’s gone up a degree and the sun is coming out more. Luckily our apartment gets the morning sun so our place doesn’t get too warm.

IMG_1055This the hardest part of our commute to work. We have to go up and down this gorge twice a day. In the back is a bridge that they are building. They were talking about it for six years and they have been building it for four months. In any other modern country it would have been finished in a month.

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Our commute has grown more beautiful as summer approaches.