Today I learnt that search and recovery can actually be fun and not completely horrendous!
We started with the deep dive again and went down to 33 metres. As we started to go down on the line we hit a wall of cold water and all I could think was ‘are you freaking kidding me!’ Bearing in mind it had been 27 degrees the previous day I was beginning to think I actually had no luck. Thankfully it was only really cold on the bottom and the shallows were much warmer! For this dive I had to do a task before we went down and then had to perform the same task underwater. It was just a number picker game i.e. finding numbers on a board. In theory you should be much slower under the water, particularly if you get nitrogen narcosis sickness (basically makes you all giddy and giggly, think laughing gas!). I however performed it quicker, which was probably because I’d already seen the board but hey ho! We then had to perform an 8 minute emergency decompression stop, a minute if which I had to breathe from an emergency air source. You would usually do this with a spare tank tied at 5 metres but Martin uses a ‘sidemount’ system which means he has two tanks one of which is a completely separate air source so I used that instead. This went fine except I needed to hover more rather than kicking to stay at a certain depth but all in all it was fine.
Next was the search and recovery dive that I had been mildly dreading after the disastrous first one However it was actually quite fun this time. We had to do an expanding square search pattern, I did this ok but I didn’t allow for current which took me a bit off course and I nearly found the item. Other than that it went pretty well I think. I then had to rig the lift bag to a weight belt again except no one had bought any rope! I thought Laura had it, she thought I had it and Martin had none. I therefore had to tie the weight belt to the lift bag, improvisation! I was a bit confused how I was supposed to do this though, it wasn’t like I could do a proper knot. Luckily Martin showed me what I should do and after all this I started trying to lift the bag. In theory this is pretty easy but you do have a lot to remember. After a fair bit of fiddling to get it to the right buoyancy so I wasn’t working to swim it up I got it to the surface and tada! Done.
So after all this, although I still made mistakes, I finished feeling like I wasn’t a complete idiot and that I could actually do this. Obviously I need practice but I felt so much better than the last time!