Well today we visited my most local beach as I knew the visibility was going to be good and I hoped to see some of the big barrel jellyfish that are swarming up the coast at the moment. Unfortunately I didn’t see any, but the viz was probably about 6-8m and there was plenty of other stuff to see.
Unfortunately I have learned the hard way about the standard GoPro Hero2 underwater housing. It doesn’t focus properly underwater! What! I think it is fair to assume that an underwater housing good for 40m will actually take reasonable pictures underwater, but no, I got it wrong. I need the flat lens dive housing. The standard one, although waterproof to 40m doesn’t actually work properly underwater, it is still really just meant for surfing etc. where it is expected to take pictures above water.
You can see a short video here that illustrates the problem (apologies for the spelling mistake).
It is colourful, and the subject matter would be quite interesting, but it never going to be great until the focus problem is sorted so watch this space for some more impressive video when I get a new housing.
The trip was still worthwhile, the local wreck, Louis Shield is just off the rocks. There are some bits in open sand in the middle of the bay, on a very low spring tide these are just visible. Today the top was about 2m down, and 4m to the sand and tangled with old nets and lobster pots, quite dangerous in fact. The bulk of the wreck is just off the rocks, again this is almost too shallow to dive sometimes.
Loius Shield Wreck
So yesterday I had my first adventurous dive session. I went with my friend the instructor to a spot we both know well, and one of his favourite spearfising locations. I am still in my Orca swimming suit, but it was a hot day and I survived quite well. I think one of the reasons for this is that I am moving a lot more than he does. My technique is improving, but I am doing a lot more splashing around, adjusting my mask, and generally spluttering than he is, so I am generating heat at the expense of saving oxygen, the better I get, the colder I will be. I borrowed a speargun and failed dismally at getting anything, partly because of the low visibility but mainly my own inadequacy.
I learned about dehydration the hard way. It was a hot day, we were captivated by the undersea world and before I knew it I had been diving away in the salty environment for a couple of hours, and hadn’t had a drink for 3. So I ended up headachy and struggled to drag all my kit back up the hill.
Dehydration is a problem for freedivers because of the number of descents they are likely to make in a day. As I undersatnd it every time your body gets under pressure the fluids are pushed from your extremities to your core, you kidneys think ‘hello! too much liquid, let’s have a wee’ and so the excess gets sent to your bladder, when you surface and the liquid floods back to your extremities again you are a bit more dehydrated. Over a period of time you will lose more liquid than if you were bobbing around the surface, and the deeper your dives the more you will lose.
I now need to put into practice what I have learn’t, so I have been a few times to my local beach with some swimming friends. Never dive alone, is what freedivers will always tell you, and they are right, one minute you can be all safe and calm, the next second stuck, or blacked out, and the next minute dead, so you do have to heed the warnings. I have a couple of freediving friends, but recently I have been with practicing with some swimming friends, which is stretching things a bit, they are scuba divers, competent swimmers and life savers, but not freediving so they aren’t keeping a watch all the time. Because of this I am limiting myself to pretty much duck-dive pracice, and shallow water stuff to perfect equalisation in the first 2 or 3 meters of water.
The water is warmer now, and I am diving in my orca swimming suit with a separate hood. It is really really warm considering it is only 3mm, but it was quite an expensive one so I am sure there is loads of technology that comes with it.
Duck-dives are becoming second nature, and equalisation in that vital first couple of meters is becoming second nature too, so now I need to go deeper.