7.45 AM and we roll up to the locked gates of the dive site, a quarry in England. When the staff arrives and lets us in at 8 we take out our prepped and ready rebreathers, do our checks and hit the water. When learning from Phil Short, Training director of IANTD UK, you soon get used to be among the first people entering the water in the morning and the last to exit in the afternoon. Every dive is packed with exercises and all the time in between is filled with information. The amount of experience that Phil has to draw from is vast after numerous expeditions and over twenty years of teaching diving. Having never dived a rebreather before and now being taught by one of the top instructors in the world is a privilege and a challenge for me. First dive of the course set the tone for the whole week with a hundred and eight minutes of nonstop working. Rebreather diving was a new experience for me and I was very interested in the possibilities this technology opens up in terms of long and deep dives with outstanding gas efficiency. Prior to the course I had attended Rebreather Forum 3 which was definitely an eye opener to the diversity of situations where these machines can enhance the dives. Everyone seems to be using them nowadays and as with many things in diving what has been mostly used by “technical” divers is now taken to the recreational market.
Being a fairly experienced diver, I still struggled with some of the differences when changing to closed circuit. It really is very different and the sooner you accept that you have to start over and build a new skill set the better. Attention to detail is crucial but the rewards are great.
The thing that surprised me most was the silence when we dived. When using open circuit you get used to the constant noise of bubbles and when that noise suddenly is gone it is magical. The silent world really exists, but it has to be visited without bubbles.
Under Phil’s guidance I slowly built my confidence and I am looking forward to spending a lot more time on rebreathers and building experience to take me further with this technology.
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