Not all diving is glamorous I: the training days

Following a couple of my experiences over the last few weekends, I would like to share a different point of view of diving, also inspired by the article from Roger Williams recently published: not all diving is glamorous, full of colors and beautiful.

All these divers that you see in perfect trim and position, calmed, smiling and enjoying deep dives, on caves, wrecks, beautiful reefs, or somewhere else, haven’t been always like that. They have hundreds of hours under their belt, just training, and not most of the times, not in really pleasant conditions: you have to take what you have available!

It looked like a gorgeous day on the surface

A weekend of exploration blown up, turned out on a well deserved weekend at home, and a casual training session in Lake Pupuke in Auckland, another volcano caldera in New Zealand. Whoever who is engaged with any diving in Auckland, knows this lake, and how unpleasant conditions could be. This time was, by far, one of the worst visibilities I’ve ever seen, and surprisingly, my most enjoyable time there.

The goal was to train basic skills: valve and S drills, basic 5, ascents, SMB deployment and switch to stages, both on the bottom (around 13m) and in mid water with no visual references, so we keep up on our skills and overcome laziness.

The visibility was less than an arm distance

We weren’t expecting great visibility, but wen we descended, we could barely see each other within an arm distance due to the algae bloom on the water. The temperature was 20 degrees on the surface, and below 9 meters, where we definitely felt the thermocline, the visibility improved to around 5 meters, even it was going to be a night dive.

Yes! Tim found a rock to tie up the SMB

It was a challenge visibility wise, and I really enjoyed the dive, even tho I always say I’m done with lakes! maybe not so done after all.

Silty bottom at 13 meters
Always find the odd glass bottle on the bottom, surprisingly, it wasn’t absorbed by the silt

The training went really well, and we did all the skills that we planed during the briefing, managing to spend almost an hour there. It was not the ideal glamorous dive that most of the divers expect, with plenty of fish, or corals, shipwrecks, etc, but to be able to enjoy later dives with a higher level of comfort, to keep up to date with your skills is a MUST.

It is important that you keep the training, and your level of fitness for diving, specially when you are into technical, overhead or decompression dives. First of all you need to enjoy the dive not worrying about the skills, and second, but not less important, you need to get back safe to the surface, no matter the circumstances.

Tech parameters:

  • Dive site: Lake Pupuke (Auckland)
  • Maximum depth:  14.6 m
  • Average depth:  11.9 m
  • Dive time: 51 min
  • Water temperature: 20ºC (surface) / 16 ºC (bottom)

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