Jim & Sherri's Photos from Jim's July 2014 AOW Certification

July 2014 - Jim finally got around to getting his Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification through Columbia SCUBA and spent the weekend doing his five dives.

We went to two different quarries for the dives, Hydes Quarry in MD on Saturday and Bainbridge SCUBA Center in PA on Sunday.

Saturday at Hydes quarry was an interesting day, the water was warm, generally in the 70s, but the visibility was non-existant, it was around 3 ft. It was very difficult to see and keep track of your buddy. We did three dives at Hydes. The first was Peak Performance Buoyancy, to work on our buoyancy skills, which while wearing a 7 mm wetsuit in 10-15 feet of water is not easy, especially when you can't see anything for a point of reference (and my mask was leaking!). The second dive was a Navigation Dive, where we used our compasses to navigate somewhere, which in those conditions was the only way to get anywhere. The third dive was a Search and Recovery dive where we put the two previous skills to use and practiced search patterns and using a lift bag to lift a crate full of weights. The good thing was the water was warm, the bad thing was we couldn't see "you know what" the whole day. For this day we only went to around 20 feet deep the whole day.

For Sunday we drove up to PA to dive in Bainbridge Scuba Center (Quarry) because it is a deeper quarry and did a "deep dive" down to just over 60 feet (and 50 deg water). PADI requires you to go beyond 60 feet to complete a deep dive (even though Sherri and I have been to 100 feet in the Cayman Islands before). The good thing was the visibility was around 15 feet down at depth, the bad thing was the water temperature was 50 deg, which is COLD, even with a 7 mm wet suit. We had to write a sentence on our slates at depth, it was supposed to be the same as what we had written on the surface wearing the gloves "scuba fashion rules", but 3 of the 5 students changed it to something on the order of "its very cold down here". The purpose was to show that fine motor skills start to go at depth and in the cold. We also looked at a tablet with color swatches to observe how colors disappear/change as you go deeper. The second dive was a Wreck Dive. There was a ship sitting in about 20 feet of water, and, at best, 5 feet of visibility, which we had to survey and draw a sketch of and identify hazards, size, layout, etc. By the time we had been there for a little bit the vis was down to 2-3 ft from us stirring up all the muck, so I told Sherri afterwards we were doing braille surveying.

But in the end all five of us students passed and got our advance open water certifications!!!! Yeah!!!

Photos from Hydes Quarry
Gearing Up
Helping my Buddy
In the Water
Waiting at Surface
Bainbridge Briefing
Preping Gear
Waiting at Surface