Recently I spent the past few days with previous intern Rick Simon at his farm in Connecticut. After a late night sitting in on his Advanced Nitrox and Tech class, I was greeted by the not so enthusiastic welcome committee of Rick’s four dogs, who clearly were not informed that a guest would be intruding their home. The next day started at 6am – unfortunately not by a rooster crow – to complete chores on the farm.
Then we went to Rick’s shop (Manta Industries) where he makes his dive reels. It was at that time I realized: I was going to have to tie the dreaded bowline knot. It is one of the most important knots in boating and diving, but the story of the bunny would not stick in my brain (in case you were wondering the bunny comes out of his hole, under the log, then back into its hole). After re-learning the art of a bowline knot, Rick helped me assemble my very own reel (probably for his own amusement watching me fumble with some tools)! After filling some orders, we went diving in a quarry so Rick could film our dive and we could assess my skills. Unfortunately, on our first descent attempt, I was too light and could have used another two pounds…two pounds that were not in my dive bag (another reminder to divers, always have extra weights). The only option was to use a 20-pound weight belt, which we both knew was much more weight than I needed. Because of this, my buoyancy and trim were way off. Frustrated by my mistake, I went through my air much faster trying to compensate for my heaviness. Rick decided to test my limits by silting up the bottom to mimic zero visibility conditions, but I stayed calm and descended to a spot with better visibility. The next day we went out with Rick’s boss Jay to dive the Heroine, a wreck from the 1920’s at roughly 80 feet. Much to Rick’s surprise, I consumed much less air at 70 feet than I had the previous day at 20 feet. Concentrating on slowing your breath really is important when it comes to conserving air!!! We headed towards Fishers’ Pier to avoid the rough seas for our second dive and spent an hour searching for golf balls. After finishing diving for the day, Jay invited us back to his house to see his dive hat collection! It was interesting to see how technology has changed for commercial divers throughout the years. I am grateful that Jay took us out diving, and even more grateful that I do not need to wear a 40-pound dive hat! I hope to dive again with Rick soon and when I’m ready, get started on some technical diving!