Our last dive in the advanced trimix course in Bunaken, Bunaken island to 100m took us almost two hours. Usain Bolt runs 100 meters in less than 10 seconds and could probably run another 100 at the same pace!
Theresia arrived couple of weeks earlier to start her divemaster course and somewhere along the way we dived into the world of gas mixing – nitrox and trimix blender course was the name of the game. We looked at gas behaviours, equipment, dangers, filling procedures and protocols and eventually filled quite a remarkable amount of different nitrox and trimix blends using different methods. “The dark art of gas blending” as I like to call it is very enjoyable and even meditative activity especially when the outcome is as planned.
Theresia and I did some preparation dives to 55m before Ben and Simone Reymenants from Blue Label Thailand arrived and the deep adventures went full steam ahead. Five days of theory, planning, gas mixing, preparation dives to 40m, 55m and 70m brought us closer to Sunday 16th of June where our 100m dive was planned.
Did a quick tempo run to the village in the morning only to find that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to get into action because Simone and Theresia were already eager to analyze the gases and do the last adjustments to the equipment. Breakfast was a bit more on the quiet side and after that it was time to load the boats.
The planned dive site Muka just in front of Two Fish Divers Bunaken resort had a fair bit of current so we decided to change the divesite to Lekuan II and in retrospect it was a good call. Arriving at the divesite we had almost perfect conditions – bright sunshine, flat seas on zero current. It didn’t take us long to gear up, pre-breathe the rebreathers and clip on the bail-out and stage tanks. Final top to toe check and off we went.
The sun rays penetrated sharply through the water as we ascended straight down to 66m where Simone and Theresia did a gas switch from intermediate trimix to their bottom trimix. Somewhere between 80 and 90m we hit a thermocline and the temperature dropped rapidly from 27 to 22 degrees. Wearing only a long sleeved Sharkskin and board shorts I have to say that the initial froze up was quite unpleasant but I think it was hindered by the concentration and the extra adrenaline circulating in my blood. 10 minutes at 100 meters, temperature in the low 20’s, small caverns everywhere – almost perfect environment for the elusive coelacanth fish?
Our decompression lasted hour and a half and the stops ranged from a single minute long deepstop at 66m until a long hang at 6 and 3m. The conditions were perfect throughout the dive, almost no current, bright sunshine, a shark here and an eagle ray there topped up with tons of small reef fish making our deco more interesting.
So what did I learn? Discipline and more discipline. When you can’t follow the procedures associated with rebreather and depth then that’s probably not your dive. I wasn’t sure about my abilities at the beginning because of the added complexity. I had doubts about my knowledge and skills.
I think there are four levels in a learning curve:
- Unconscious incompetent – I don’t know or understand that I lack skills and knowledge.
- Conscious incompetent – I start to learn and by learning I understand that I lack knowledge and skills.
- Conscious competent – I’ve learned, have knowledge and skills and am aware of that. Now it is time to practice.
- Unconscious competent – I’ve mastered the knowledge and skills for a while and become complacent.
Obviously you want to stay at the conscious competent level because that’s where you stay sharp, hopefully learn more (what might bring you down to conscious incompetent level for a while) and polish your skills.
Thanks again Ben, Simone and Theresia for the long week and good dives!
Keep on learning and challenging yourself! Find out more about Tec diving in Bunaken & Lembeh.