Thursday Ricky crewed a trip on the Canned Air (the boat he’s been crewing for since he was a teenager), so basically he was responsible for tying into the wreck and untying. Basically, Brown University hired the charter through various grant sources and a few scientists were able to do some graduate research work. They were mostly graduate students focused on invertebrates, particularly jellies. They actually travelled internationally looking for these specific jellies, but had little luck. In the New England region not many people are interested in blue water diving (open water diving watching whatever is in the water column). So they had no idea many of these jellies could be found right in Brown’s backyard! The work they were doing was very interesting, but it certainly was not my area of interest for a career. They kept saying fancy words like Cnidaria, and although biology is not my favorite subject, I think my high school marine teacher would be proud that I at least vaguely knew what those words mean! When Ricky went to untie I was able to jump in for an open water dive. I went to 130ft on the anchorline, and wow was that an experience. Very dark and my first experience with narcosis certainly made that dive memorable for me, definitely in my top 5 most memorable dives. After the dive we headed to Diver’s Cove where ricky was teaching a basic open water class, he gave the final exam that day and I got to take the exam as well. I managed to pass.
Friday morning we had to go to the DMV. That is all I will say on that subject.
After that we went to his shop to do some work, I got to try my hand at welding for the first time. Following that we went back to Diver’s cove where Rick taught an advanced class I got to sit in on.
The next day we went back to divers cove for an open water class. Once in the water Ricky and the other instructor, Ed decided to mess with me and test my skills. On the first dive Ricky took my mask a few times and stole my fin once. The second dive was purely a “gag drill.” Basically I went out a bit with Ed and then he started messing with me. Took my mask, shutoff some of my valves (doubles), and, best of all, unzipped my drysuit. I think I reacted pretty well to most situations, I definitely need to work on valve drills because I could not reach too well, and I was surprised by how much buoyancy the drysuit really supplied, but otherwise I thought the drill was exciting and a great learning experience.
Overall the week with Ricky was a superb learning experience. I learned how dive gear was manufactured and some of how that business worked, and the technical diving knowledge I gained was excellent! Talking with Ricky, his father, and everyone at the dive shop really gave me some great perspectives on diving and my future careers. I really hope I get to work with Ricky again, it was truly a spectacular week.