As we noted in this post, Kale is currently with us for a few months while he moves toward his Instructor Development Course. Here is his newest post on our blog!
(Note this is an edited version of a post from Kale’s own blog; you can read the original full text of Kale’s post here.)
It’s time to talk diving. I finished my Emergency First Response Course last week renewing some information on CPR I hadn’t learned since I was thirteen. Practiced chest compressions on a dummy, learned how to provide primary and secondary care, and so on. Wrote a little exam at the end of it all and became officially certified. Woop.
I spent the next few days shore diving at Blue Angel Resort to increase my number of dives; the minimum requirement of dives before beginning the Divemaster program is forty.
After the EFR (and a multitude of shore dives) I began my Rescue Diver program. The program seemed daunting at first, but when all was said and done I have an immense appreciation for what I learned. It boosted my confidence in what I’m about to undertake as a Divemaster-in-training and changed my perspective of diving. Essentially, it’s become real. It’s no longer just about personal safety or task-managing, but constant awareness of everything and everyone in and out of the water.
The past Saturday (the 15th), Matthew and I went over some textbook work and then hopped in the water to practice some of the skills. These included providing an alternate air source to a buddy low on air, learning how to approach divers – both tired and panicked – on the surface, and how to properly throw a line out to somebody who’s close enough to shore. After we were done, I left with a disillusioned sense of accomplishment, not knowing what I had in store for me the next day.
How is this relevant? Well, I had been biking hard that day, spent over an hour in the ocean, and then topped off the night with a big dance session. When I showed up the next day for Rescue training, my quadriceps were DOA. (Editor’s note: I snipped out the piece about the all-night dance off; read Kale’s original post for the full skinny!)
Matthew and I were joined by an older couple hailing from Washington state; another DMT named Melina and her instructor-certified husband Ken. They were to simulate accident-prone divers, and I spent the better part of the afternoon learning how to properly respond to unconscious divers above and below the surface. It was a challenge. The currents had changed that day and were stronger than I had anticipated.
This meant while I was simultaneously providing rescue breathing, towing the victim to shore, and removing their equipment… I was also getting my ass handed to me by the strength of the ocean. I came out that day feeling like a wet noodle.
However… every sore muscle in my body had lent itself to an incredible sense of confidence. I had learned something vital. Something real.
Yesterday, the 17th, was the last day of training. Ken and Melina joined Matthew and I again, and we took off on a couple more dives. All three of them tested me in the knowledge I had acquired, running through different scenarios or situations. Needless to say, I utilized what I had learned and officially passed the course. I’ll be damned if that didn’t feel good.
Today I completed the Emergency Oxygen Provider course. I learned how to assemble and disassemble the O2 tank and attach either the non-rebreather mask (for you weak breathers out there) or the pocketmask with the non-resuscitator demand valve, or both at the same time.
Then I had to do it blindfolded.
3 minutes and 20 seconds, baby!
Now on to the orientation for Divemaster!