Friday, June 26, 2009

Shore Duty

The large rock you see in the pic is the place where I spent most of my shore duty. It offers an excellent vantage point to see all the groups of bubbles.

As we went through the majority of our divemaster training last year, there was a nice group of us that got along very well. We rode together, chatted, shared the work and struggles.

Often when we arrived at the dive site, there were three or four of us, which was way more than needed for the actual classes, so we would switch off and rotate. Which meant someone was always pulling "shore duty."

Most of the people I dove with weren't crazy about shore duty, but I have to tell you, it has it's own responsibilities and perks.

Perk #1 - you can listen to music and be in the sun getting a tan

Perk #2 - you can get a drink, go to the bathroom, etc. (VERY quickly)

NOT a perk #1 - you better be keeping an eye on all sets of bubbles to make sure no one gets separated

NOT a perk #2 - you gotta watch the sky and be ready to head out with rocks to bang if a storm is coming/lightning, etc.

NOT a perk #3 - you better know your first aid/CPR/rescue stuff really well because YOU are gonna be the one in charge if there is a problem

NOT a perk #4 - if someone is shaky underwater and they come out, you need to know how to talk to them and help them through whatever it was that they couldn't work out the first time

NOT a perk #5 - it gets awfully hot when you are out of the water

NOT a perk #6 - know gear - how to adjust it, fix it, replace it, or find another one so whoever came out can finish up with an enjoyable dive

NOT a perk #7 - help the instructor, help your other dive buddies, and help the students get in and out of the water, take gear off and on, etc.

So while no really likes to go diving without ending up in the water, shore duty is pretty important. So the new term for shore duty? Land diving.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Let's talk about that dreaded animal that all midwesterners fear and know of. The jellyfish.
I think it's so high on everyone's list because EVERYONE knows about them. Swimmers, little children, old people, etc. And everyone knows someone who got stung by one on a vacation.

So my very first experience with jellyfish happened when I was NOT swimming or scuba diving. I was, well, trying to relieve myself. Here's the whole story.

We were in Jamaica, staying at an all inclusive, which among other things that they tell you are included, a nightly drunkeness is included. We were walking on the beach, far from the hotel and really anyone. Of course, I had to go to the bathroom.

Being kinda a country girl and used to going into the river on float trips, I waded out into the ocean just over knee high. Hubby followed to relieve himself too.

No problems. Until we got back to the shore and headed off walking again.

We both felt like our legs were on fire. We hadn't seen a thing. I itched so bad and nothing would relieve it. I rubbed sand on my legs to get it scratched really well. (Realize we had no idea why we were itching so bad - we suspected sand fleas or something like that) Nothing worked.

The next morning we talked to the dive shop guys about it and they laughed (of course). They explained that it was more than likely we had been in a group of tiny baby jellyfish, which are attracted to the shore lights at night. We should NOT have rubbed sand on our legs, as that probably just made it worse.

So the best bet for jellyfish that they suggested? Douse the area in fresh cool water. And of course if you don't have that, try rum. It seems rum is a cure all in Jamaica. Cure's a hangover, cure's an ailment, and I'll bet if you had enough it would cure a broken arm - or at least make you forget you had one :))

Another night (different vacation) we went on a night dive. We had extremely strict instructions to not turn our lights on within 15 feet of the surface (we didn't need to anyway because it was so bright out). They explained that we would attract jellyfish when we surfaced. They also explained that the boat lights would attract jellyfish too, so we needed to be on the lookout as we surfaced.

This, folks, is one of the best reasons to always wear a full wetsuit, or at least a dive skin, even in warm water. It just saves your skin.

Anyway, of course someone, despite the warnings, ended up getting stung by a jellyfish as we were waiting to get back onto the boat after the dive. The person followed all the directions. Even had on a full dive suit. But didn't really pay attention when surfacing and ended up getting stung on the neck and face.

It turned red and blotchy but they were fine the next day.

Another hint I read about said to apply meat tenderizer to the stung area. I don't know if this actually works but I do take some with us every time we visit the ocean. (Yeah right, like there won't be any rum around!)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Weather

The good thing about diving is that you can do it in the rain. You can do it when the weather stinks and you can't lay in the pool and sunbathe. Unless of course, it is a thunderstorm and there is lightning. That's a whole separate ball game. GET OUT!

But anyway, the problem is, we have had SO MUCH rain that the sun hasn't had a chance to shine. Therefore, here it is in June, and the water temp is still COLD!

I heard that the last weekend in May the one spot we went to a lot last year (Rolla Quarry) was 59*. Sorry folks. I don't find that enjoyable.

So until we start getting some sun and warmer weather, I'm a landloving mermaid.

Oh, and if it sounds like I am whining, moaning, and complaining, you're right. I am!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Not Really About Diving

So I posted a while back about being in the dunk tank. Here it is - my maiden foray, pre-wetness.
I took a while to curl my hair that day and then walked around telling my students I spent 5 hours doing it to entice them to come try and dunk me.
One little "darling" who wasn't my student, was first up. She got mad that she didn't hit it and ran and pushed the lever. My students were SOOO mad! And I didn't blame them.
Anyway, it ended up I didn't need the wetsuit - one of the parents had used the school's hot water heater and tapped into that water. It was like a sauna. But what else was I gonna wear???
But at least I dug it out, along with the boots - it hurts to fall into that thing with bare feet!
I can officially now call myself a "dunkee."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My First Aid Kit List for Diving

Geez - has it been that long???

Ah, well. I'm just going to ease back in here.

Let's talk about one of my favorite things - safety and first aid. (No, really, it is.)

I thought I would share what I take on a fresh water (not overnight) dive in the first aid kit. (Yes, there's more for salt water and overnights)

1. tweezers

2. Benadryl or some form of it.

3. eye drops

4. ear drops

5. q tips

6. neosporin

7. bactine (gotta love that stuff)

8. liquid bandaid (comes in a bottle like nailpolish and is great for in the water)

9. regular bandaids in assorted sizes

10. roll of gauze

11. a bandage wrap (like for sprained ankles)

12. scissors

13. needle (for splinters - no I am not about to sew anyone up)

14. ibuprofen, tylenol, and regular aspirin

15. antidiarhea pills and or gas ex

16. something to soothe the stomach, like pepto or tums

17. oragel swabs

18. something for bee and wasp stings

19. cotton balls

20. baby wipes

21. rescue mask!!!

22. plastic gloves

Most of these are self-explanatory. A lot of goofy stuff can happen when you are on land, or in the water for that matter. I personally would rather be prepared for the small stuff than have to cut diving short because you have to drive to the nearest drug store for something. Do I think I am a bit overprepared? Yes. But I don't mind and it's there if I ever need it. And it's not like it takes up that much space. Besides, when you prepare for it, it usually doesn't happen.

As a side note, we always pack a roll of toilet paper too. You never know - where you're going might be out (or completely water logged).