We are back from Key Largo! The Olympus team recently concluded two consecutive weekend trips to Key Largo. We dove with Blue Iguana Charters, a personalized live aboard operator. The first 3-day weekend was recreational with sites ranging from shallow reefs to deeper shipwrecks like the Spiegel Grove and USCG Bibb. Our second weekend was focused on Technical diving with sites in the 170-200 fsw range. These included the Queen of Nassau and the Northern light. Water temperature on both was a delicious 78 degrees and the visibility ranged from 20-100 ft!
The live aboard format gave our students and their instructors an opportunity to completely focus on their courses. 4-5 dives per day allowed for maximum enjoyment and the repetition to hone superior skills in a short period of time. Congratulations to Ryan Kane for successfully completing PADI Enriched Air and PADI Advanced Open Water. Kudos to Kevin Hoerburger- great job on your TDI Advanced Nitrox course; we have another budding Technical diver in our midst! We also had two PADI Divemaster candidates diligently working on their performance requirement.
During the second Technical weekend we had 4 Trimix students whose competency and motivation made for a very safe and enjoyable series of deep dives. We were blessed with superior visibility, negligible current, and I got to witness several notable learning curves. Each Trimix class is unique. The progression is interesting as each student strives to properly marry their in-water skills with the proper mindset and overall attitude. I had two students who made great strides in this area, although the lessons learned were completely different. I feel these were valuable insights that all divers can take something from.
One of the divers in question is extremely competent in the water and with academics but his team skills left MUCH to be desired. The other, also very competent with skills and academics, lacked an overall confidence and was dependent on the team construct. His "head trash" that he entered the water with greatly affected his comfort and SAC rate. Of course, I naturally put these two together as a buddy team. After nine training dives with some bumps along the way, I witnessed a bit of a transformation. They both embraced one of my mantras which is; be capable and confident to execute your dive plan solo if need be but also be a competent and productive Technical dive team member. This duality is harder to master than you may think. Both of them came away with a fresh appreciation for what a complete dive plan entails. Obviously it must include depths, times, gas switches, deco requirements, etc. However, it must also delve into the divers attitudes, preferred positioning, and expectations for one-another. Dive planning with a new team member is much like a first date. And like a first date, expectations can make or break the dive. Personal gear idiosyncrasies must also be addressed so team members can anticipate and react to the others movements underwater in a timely manner.
Overall, the class went very well and everyone had a blast and learned much about themselves as well as Technical team diving. Enjoy this video and be on the look out for more! I will be posting a Key Largo Technical video soon. If Key Largo in the winter months sounds like a good fit for you, join us next February, 2015. We will be offering both a recreational and a Technical trip so you can choose which one fits you best. I can assure you great food, personalized service, a relaxed atmosphere and if interested- many training opportunities.