August 26, 2011


The underwater navigation is a mysterious segment of science. I read stories about disorientation even from diving instructors while other divers always find the way back to the boat regardless of their certification. I try to master my navigation skills from my first open water dive after certificaton.

After I got my card I hadn't dived for a while. When I joined a dive club's weekend trip to a nearby freshwater lake I was the one who hadn't a car so getting there was an expedition in itself. I met my buddy who was as inexperienced as me and my equipment which was as imperfect as my skills. Luckily I didn't have to worry about depth or dive time as I didn't get any instruments- my buddy neither. I won't ever know how long and how deep was that dive but hopefully we didn't brake any decompression rules as the maximum depth of the lake was about 10 meters.

Navigation wasn't a problem too without compass. Our 'plan' was spend under water some time. We descended into the murky water, tried not to lose each other. Luckily we didn't but we did lose the trail. As beginners we swam a lot, too much, and didn't check our position. When we were low on air we ascended. Our air consumption was high so the distance from the shore wasn't more than 4-500 meters. Our surface swim was long. Too long. I had enough time to think about preparations. The lack of our knowledge and the missing briefing from the experienced members of the dive club resulted a boring but not dangerous swim. I was a beginner but somehow I felt it isn't the right way of diving. Certainly long swims would keep me fit but in the open sea the distance could be 20-40 kilometers which sounds a high impact workout. Sunburn, dehydration, fatigue- if somebody doesn't pick him up the drifted diver can be very skinny in 24 hours.

There aren't any serious conclusions. We learn by experience and the lesson to learn for me was avoid too much swim under and above water as well. Better to keep an eye on the compass or the terrain than being lost for 5 minutes- or forever.

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