Open water training is in full flow. Here are a couple of reports from RSAC divers enjoying Wraysbury Dive Centre.
Wraysbury 8th August. Report by Jo.
I had my first drysuit training about two weeks ago at Wraysbury.
During my first dive I had demonstrated to George, in every possible dimension, that humans can roll in water. I would describe myself as a drowning seal. Over the course of the second dive, I had improved greatly compared to first dive (I hope George would agree with this! - I do; for a few minutes I thought I had a different buddy), but I felt that I still had a long way to go to get my trim right.
Fortunately, Mike and Iqra kindly offered to go back to Wraysbury to help improve my buoyancy and trim. We were joined by Matteo and Andrew. In 32 degrees heat, Mike and Iqra were kind and brave enough to don their drysuits to assist me.
After we put on our drysuits, we had a dip in the water before continuing to kit up which helped to keep us cool. On the dive around one of the platforms, with Iqra assisting, Mike suggested we took a pre-configured weight belt and additional weights; for the purpose of trying different weight combinations/positions.
I entered the water with 1kg each side of the cylinder, 2kg each side of BC integrated weights and 0.7 kg weights on each ankle (as previously I had floating feet); all this added up to 7.5kg.
After we descended to one of the training platforms my ankle weights were taken away straightaway as they were not needed (!). This came as a surprise to me as I did so many inversions two weeks ago. After that, I swam around the platform and Mike would check my trim and make some adjustments including swapping weights and moving my tank further up my back. We repeated this process multiple times for nearly 50mins. I ended up with carrying a total of 5kg of weight! This was significantly less weight than the last time I had entered the water with. Last time I dived with more of a feet-up position, but today I was in more head-up instead of a horizontal position (how bizarre!)
For the second dive, we had planned to swim around and see some of the "attractions" Wraysbury had to offer. We dived in a group of five. We lost Andrew and Matteo within the first 3 mins! Due to near zero visibility we decided to call off the dive after 20 mins. I tried to work on my trim, but I couldn't see my own lower body and could just about see Iqra's hand up to her lower forearm. Thankfully Mike had decided to make sure everyone carried a torch, so I could see some lights before I thought I was lost in the mud....
Overall, we had a successful and enjoyable day (mainly the first dive). Mike concluded the day with some encouraging news: "Jo is now at a good starting point for drysuit diving"!
Wraysbury 31st July. Report by Loic.
It was a pleasant day to complete my OD open water lessons. Very nice weather, not too crowded and good water temperature. The visibility was okay most of the time.
After a few exercises (controlled buoyant lift etc.) we decided to explore a bit. George was attacked by a fish - luckily no one was hurt...
The plan for the second dive was for me to lead the dive and bring us back to where we started. The water (temperature and visibility) was still okay. George didn't get attacked this time, but we did see the unusual sight of three perch apparently attacking a crayfish. (Webmaster's comment: what the hell is going at Wraysbury?!)
For navigation, George told me that on our way out the sun is on your right, and on our way back it will be on your left. But I didn't think about the trees around the end of the lake, so we ended up on the other side. Notwithstanding, the dive was also an enjoyable one.
George adds: The attacking fish was the local Pike which we had spotted lurking in the grass, apparently asleep. We moved off and a few seconds later, she (Webmaster's note: big pike are always female) passed by and thumped my torch with her tail. I don’t think it was an accident. Congratulations to Loic on qualifying OD – the first this year.
Visibility was around 3-4m around the bus and over grass UNLESS you were following someone in which case it varied from 1m to zero. Water temperature was a steady 21 degrees until you went below 5m, at which point it dropped significantly, as did the visibility, probably as a result of the thermocline.