So with hardly a breathing space between my last IDC and my next class, I am almost at an end to my current MSDT program. I have been lucky enough to teach some fellow instructors from the national university here in Costa Rica, which has been great fun, but definitely got my spanish back in full swing!!! We launched straight into it last week with some deep diving practice. Pony tanks and harnesses ahoy! The thermoclines have arrived here in Costa Rica so the temperature did drop a little, I was ready for it though, armed with my 5mm and booties!!! Objective: to look at changes in color pressure sensitive objects and timed tasks. Color check completed. Red disappears, check, blue looks crappy, ok, check. Move instructors, lets look at our sensitive objects….oh dear….in the sheer excitement of deep diving we have somehow ended up with a bag full of scrambled eggs, (it was supposed to be whole eggs that you then break and then gaze at in wonder as the float around as whole yolks in wonder!!) scrambled eggs as you can imagine, don’t really fulfil that purpose. Okay, so after the giggling through the regs subsided we moved onto object number 2, a wonderful neoprene globe that supposedly compresses (according to said owner!). Hmm no change in shape, it is blowing bubbles and clearly letting in water somewhere. Third time lucky….lets check out the balloon, oh….no….wait……you are supposed to blow it up at the surface right to see the difference ?! Ho Hum. A+ for amusement factor at least as the laughs coming through the regs made it worth it. Now onto our timed tasks…… how quickly can you put mr potato head together ? Yes, The real mr potato head, he likes to explore that much deeper and beyond!!! Tomorrow, the photography report….how many amusing shots can you take underwater!

Wednesday afternoon, +Go Pro Costa Rica .Okay, so after our scrambled egg episode, we moved onto the navigation. Navigation underwater has the additional add on that not only do you need to know your directions, return place etc, you may be effected by current, water movement and other delightful underwater factors. measuring kick cycles, arm spans, elapsed time are just some of the ways that you work with this. After working with this on our first dive, we also looked at basic compass work. Now as instructors already, this was relatively straight forward, and as they have already have their own way of working with the students, each person has a set way of organizing the navigation skills. This generally results in some very animated conversations underwater, as even though strategy and organization has been discussed, there is still some communication needed underwater. I like to sit back and watch as it turns into a coffee hour discussion sometimes, with hand signals getting more animated. Do you realize how easy it is to tell if someone is shouting underwater?!

For the second dive we worked with the infamous Navigational plotter one of the long lost PADI  materials that I love dearly but is now discontinued due to the lack of similar enthusiasm (Boo!) With this fantastic little toy you can set out a course , in this case, of 5 points and then navigate through your points. In this challenge, in teams of 2, a course of at least 5 points was plotted, followed by an exchange of nav finders. From there, the team had to navigate, using the points of the other team. FUN! For starters, don’t put the nav finder in your pocket as the numbers can rub off, secondly measure kick cycles accurately as they can completely throw off a dive navigational course. With nice visibility for the pacific here, reaching around 50ft it was a successfully completed, and whilst I did have a moment, when I believed the was going to be a couple of lost divers, it all worked out, arriving back at, or close to the start point. Obviously with this exercise, we can always blame the other team as they were the ones that created the 5 point course!

Next stop, Search and Recovery…… ready to impress with the amazing compass work!