Today I headed off to Connecticut once again. But, this time I was off to meet with Rick Simon, one of the previous Scalli Interns (2005). He is now the owner of Manta Industries and Highseas Millwork (Privateer Divers LLC), and is an extremely accomplished diver on the side. When I got there he gave me a quick tour, introduced me to his best friend Anthony (who also works there), and then started quizzing me on dive theory. I was pretty happy about that review session Lee and I did right about then. Next, Ricky showed me how to build a dive reel (which is one of the things that his company makes a lot of). After that, he had me build my own reel! I also was charged with learning how to tie a bowline knot. Let’s just say that didn’t go to well the first couple tries. But, I got it eventually…kinda.
After that the three of us grabbed lunch, and then Rick and I parted ways with Anthony and headed to Bigelow Hollow State Park for some diving in Mashapaug Pond! We carried all of our heavy gear down to a picnic table near the water, then came back and geared-up in our drysuits. It was my very first time diving in a drysuit! I was excited to see what it was going to be like. Ricky had me go through a bunch of skills, and we basically played “Simon Says” for most of the dive. I cleared my mask, took it on and off, removed hoses, put the hoses back, took off my BC, put it back on, swam blind, swam without a fin, and a few others of the basics. He also had me practice rolling forward in my drysuit in case I ever got air trapped in my feet where I can’t let it out. When we started he had me wearing ankle weights to keep my feet down and prevent this from happening. About halfway through our dive I took them off because they were doing more harm than good. Once that was done my buoyancy was easier for me to control (but I was still far from perfect), and then Ricky showed me how to do some things with a reel underwater. We tied the line to a sunken picnic table, and then swam off for a while, and came back. Little things. It was really neat, but when it was my turn to be in charge of the reel I discovered that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looks. You have to keep tension on the line at all times, and be careful you don’t get tangled in it. It’s going to take a bit of practice before I’m good at it. Ricky also had me do a skill test where I took down our psi, time, and depth every ten minutes in a wetnotes notebook that he lent me for the dive. I had never written anything underwater before, so that was an interesting experience. It’s not too horrible, but my handwriting looked like a four year old’s. Once we were done, we took our fins off, climbed out and trekked back to the van with all our gear on. After we finished stowing all our gear, we parted ways till tomorrow. 🙂