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Old School – Neutral floaters, A proper kicking, rescue and wet instruction.

Buoyancy workshop and Sports diver recue at Island School.

We had a sunny day for our training sessions and a big turn out. The pool was generally free of vegetation, but we were about to change all that with diver soup. We started with the traditional missing kit faff. This had all the usual elements, missing bits, tank adapters, odd boots, BCD’s, but with a combination of tools, adaption and improvisation we were ready to roll. Sick note Belshaw was supervising from the beach. There was a time when northerners stayed at home when they were sick and bit on a shoe. If you come down with black-water fever, diphtheria or amebic dysentery then you know why. More effective than a 3 day grape cleanse, so he says.

There was a brief on buoyancy and trim. The ability to remain neutral, still and stable on a single point of balance. Groups divided and demo’s began. At this point it is better to look competent and lose the temptation to flap like a paddle steamer and fin like Bradley Wiggins on stimulants. Weights were dropped, moved and air bubbles tamed. Gradually the flapping died and bodies stabilized and remained flat. At a more respectable level of stability we demonstrated various fin strokes and modified strokes. Cramping up at every change of stroke, I enjoyed it immensely…

Others in the pool had began showing off, removing fins all together, taking kit off, finning backwards, helicopter turning and all manner of head stands, tuck, pike, triple Salchow with half summersault and coffin drop. It was time for sandwiches to get away from it all. It’s enough to make you want to hide fins… Andy drained his tank and we left the circus to it.

A day of two parts and afternoon delights for the sports divers learning how to rescue from a concrete pond. Otherwise known as sports diver rescue, in confined water. What’s it all about, Baynee. It started with a short brief and a standing demo of “the pistol grip”. The two fingers for opening the mouth/airway and breathing mountain fresh air into the victim, or sealing the mouth to use the other available airway, other wise known as the nose or bogey central. You are not doing it properly if you don't get a piece of sandwich or salty bogey. Making sure the donator of all the facial treats is kept secured and above the water is a priority. Or from the victims perspective having morning breath, garlic, stale booze and sandwiches sprayed at you.

Kitting up and checking our bits , we descended to the controlled buoyant lift. Violent shaking, purge and pump we assented a metre or two and back again. After which was the full on surface breach, avoiding the Polaris ascent, we moved to securing the victim, establishing buoyancy, dumping kit, call for help and 10 spring fresh breaths in exchange for fresh facial fare. By this time we were immune to the horror of nose candles and spinach.

The demo eventually got to a climax, swimming to the victim, shake, secure, dump, pump, up, buoyancy, dump, shout, breaths and then decide – Swim to safety, more breath, remove kit, extract. Stuart obviously needed frequent facial cleaning to remove northern nasal soot/ lead or was practicing free diving breath hold… The main lesson looks to be practice makes rescue more efficient. It was the first of the session, but was also the instructors first outing in a while switching to the new procedure for rescue breaths and towage. All good we were finished by 4pm.

It went well, the next shore excursion is the 10th June to build up the difficulty and depth. Thank you to our main organisers Paul and Mike, the instructors and the students who came along to make it a useful and enjoyable day. Thanks one and all.

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