Dive #2 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:

1h
38m


Dive Info:

Dive Start:
10:50AM

Bottom Time:
50 minutes

Maximum Depth:
60 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
200 psi

Weather Conditions:
Overcast 85F

Surface Conditions:
3' swells

Surface Water Temperature:
80F

Bottom Water Temperature:
80F

Visibility:
60+ feet
2
TITLE
* * *
July 16,
1997
NORTH WHITE SANDS
GLOVER'S REEF ATOLL - BELIZE
PADI Open Water Certification Dive No. 2
TRAINING DIVE
 
Rebecca Cabral (Instructor), Linda, (buddy)
Glover's Atoll Resort - Belize
http://www.glovers.com.bz/
Rich
Linda at North White Sands
Photo by Rich Torkington in Belize 1997 
Dive Journal: This second of our PADI Open Water training dives was conducted at a site quite close to our first dive. It is finally 10am - time to dive! We meet Wyatt on the dock, load our gear onto the Pelican, and then assemble it while Wyatt motors out to our second dive site, North White Sands. Becky has dropped an air tank onto her foot, probably breaking a bone, and certainly doesn't want to try to put a fin on it. So this dive, it is just the three of us, and I have brought the underwater camera loaned to us by Myron and Mercedes.

We make a free descent this time onto a broad white sand flat. Wyatt goes down quickly and is waiting on the bottom while Linda and I are a bit slower clearing our ears.

Linda has inadvertantly inherited a 4 lb weight belt and is definitely underweighted for this dive, which contributes to her slow descent. As I approach the bottom, about 10 feet below Linda, I immediately notice a small nurse shark, maybe 4 feet long, resting on the sand about 25 feet away from me. As I descend further, the shark flicks its tail once and gains speed. It is interested in me and is swimming directly to me! I stop my descent and hover a few seconds as the shark reaches about 5 feet away from me and about 4 feet beneath me. Not sure whether to descend into the shark's proximity, I lightly flick one fin, and the shark then deftly veers off and calmly swims away from me. Wow! Linda watches this whole exchange from above with amusement.

We perform our certification skills without a hitch, including clearing a fully flooded mask, an alternate air breathing skill, and fin pivots. This last skill, which we affectionately call "pin fivots," is a demonstration of buoyancy control by lying prone on the bottom, then manually inflating the BC to achieve neutral buoyancy. Once properly neutral, the idea is to alternately lift then sink with each inhale and exhale, pivoting on the fin tips.

Wyatt then leads us on another tour of the magnificent coral wall. This time, we explore mostly areas in the 50 to 60 foot depth range. The panorama is fabulous! We follow Wyatt into a particularly beautiful open cut in the wall, encrusted with multi-colored coral forms and fishes. There is a memorable swim through a partial overhang, where we descend to 65', then ascend on an uphill slant about 10 feet. Cool! Visibility is stunning as usual, with a little bit less light than yesterday owing to overcast skies. Still, I take 21 pictures with the camera and furtively hope they capture even a fraction of the beauty here.

After 25 minutes or so, Wyatt checks Linda's pressure gauge and also his own. He gives me the "Mid-point" sign, then an "OK," and changes direction to turn back, which I interpret to mean that either he or she is now at 1500 psi. Good, I think, I am also at 1500 psi. We change direction and begin our tour back to the boat. As we approach the boat, I reach the "low on air" level of 500 psi, but I see that we are just about to surface and simply continue following Wyatt. However, Wyatt then sees that the anchor has shifted and is now resting on live coral, so he swims down the anchor rope and begins lugging the anchor over to a sandy region as we watch.

As he works, I continue to check my pressure gauge and rather calmly decide that I will definitely need to begin surfacing at about 300 psi. Fortunately, Wyatt finishes just as I reach that point, and we slowly begin our ascent, leveling off at 15' for our safety stop. Wyatt reaches over to look at my pressure gauge, then looks again quickly as he notices mine reading 200 psi! When we surface and board the boat, Wyatt expresses his surprise at my low air condition. He instructs that I should have given him the "mid-point" sign at 1500 psi and definitely the "low air" sign at 500 psi. I explain my weak reasons for not doing so, and learn a valuable lesson to take better personal management of communicating my air status.

More
Dive
Info:
Fins:
Mares Avanti Quattro
Computer:
PADI tables
Tank:
80 ft3 Al
BCD:
Rented
Dive Type:
BOAT (Pelican)
Body of Water:
Caribbean
Mask:
U S Divers
Protection:
Lycra skin
Regulator:
Rented
Weight:
8 lb
Water Type:
Salt
Video Equipment:
None