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Archive for December, 2009

Encounters with angel sharks and equipment exchanges – Lanzarote

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Making headway with my course and lots of good dives to report! Victor and his trimix students, Chen and Felipe weren’t too happy recently when I passed them on a dive at Flamingo Wall and later reported that they looked like pregnant seahorses with all their stage tanks hanging underneath them and one of our divers, Heike reported that watching the tec divers doing their drills was almost as good as watching the fish!

Chen and Rich getting Teccy

Chen and Rich getting Teccy

Rich and I had one memorable dive on Colorados with an unhappy Angel Shark who nibbled at my fin, circled a few times and then swam off to bury himself for another nap! I got my own back while I was deeply concentrating on measuring depths, distances and directions for the mapping project section of the divemaster course I suddenly felt something wriggle under my knee, looked down, looked at Rich, looked behind me and saw a disgruntled shark slinking away. I had been there drawing for minutes before the poor sleepy shark decided he’d had enough of being sat on and swam off!

Soon after, I had my best dive in the four weeks I’ve been here. On the first really cloudy morning since I arrived, I went out with Josean guiding two English divers, Oliver and Jake. The sun came out on the short boat journey, the water was beautifully clear with a slight current and as we swam along Flamingo Wall we encountered more and more fish – huge shoals swirling all around us, big, lazy barracuda lurking in every direction, totally unbothered by our presence, and a big tuna darting in and out. At one stage, despite the sun and the great vis, it went almost completely dark because of the shoals circling between us and the surface.

Fish in all directions

Fish in all directions

Absolutely magic. After being cranky because the clouds had obscured the usually spectacular sunrise on my walk to the centre, I surfaced to warm sunshine with a smile on my face.

Diving in the marina to clean the boat engines or recover sunglasses dropped off the jetty isn’t quite as spectacular and definitely isn’t glamorous, but if I think of all the other things that I could be doing I’m just happy to be in the water, enjoying the kind temperatures and looking at all the curious fish coming to watch me work.

After passing all of my exams (one of them took three goes) and finally finishing my knowledge reviews (I got off to a good start, but then got lazy…) one of the biggest challenges for me was the equipment exchange. I can take buddy breath, I can take my mask off, I can stay calm, but doing all three together was a challenge the first time around. The second time I attempted it was on the morning of my 24th birthday with Chen, off the ramp beside the dive centre. We spent about half an hour buddy breathing, then buddy breathing and swimming, then buddy breathing with no mask, then buddy breathing with no mask while swimming until eventually we did the equipment exchange first time without panic or bother. Lots of underwater hugs followed and I was delighted with myself! After that, the stamina swims and tows seemed easy!

Since I arrived Josean has got married and Lizzie and Phil have got pregnant, so congratulations to all of them. Only a few things left to tick off before I’m a divemaster. Hopefully I’ll get it all done before Christmas and then I can start the new year as a PADI professional!

Lucy –  Dive Master Trainee