I went diving for the first time at Farnsworth Banks on the backside of Catalina Island. It was a different experience since this is a site that is on the ocean side of Catalina and not protected between Catalina and the West Coast of California. I had wanted to dive this site before and never had the chance to before. I went out on the Magician dive boat and did two dives on the site. I should have spent some time doing some research on the site as it was a little jarring to find out that when I descended down the anchor line I found myself at 80 feet. Also I brought the wrong camera rig for this site as I didn’t have any external illumination for my Go Pro so a lot of my shots came out rather dark and grainy as the Go Pro tried to recover and get something usable. Unfortunately most of the footage and none of the images are good enough in my opinion.
During my last dive trip to the Oil Rigs I was able to catch some Sea Lions swimming around us while we descended. This is always fun to see while we are descending and just waiting to get to depth. Really fun to see. Attached is the video from the dive.
In my pursuit for my Dive Master certification I decided to take the Underwater Navigation course. The course consisted of 1 class session, 1 pool session, and in my case 2 ocean dives. The class session was a couple of hours just mostly going through the book and the knowledge reviews you were supposed to have done. We also did a little bit of house keeping and administrative stuff at that time.
At a later date we had the pool session which was really nothing more than the Instructor testing out our skills and making sure we were comfortable in the water. We then spent the rest of the pool session out on dry land practicing our compass work. I had purchased a wrist mounted compass for this course thinking that would be better to use than a console one. I had some problems with my console compass not being able to come up far enough for me to read it with the lanyard for it. The wrist compass however turned out to not be a great option and I think I will be switching over to a compass on a retractor. We spent several hours on land mapping out courses and doing different exercises. It had been a long time since I had done any compass work so it was really good to get comfortable with doing it again.
We then did two dives at North Crescent Bay in Laguna. The first one we did a 100 foot swim so we could figure out our length for a kick cycle, this would then play into the rest of the tasks we would do for the class. We then followed a mapped out course that we had been provided with ahead of time and written on our slates. After doing that a couple of times we then got out switched tanks and went back in and followed a course that had tags out on the ground that had been setup ahead of time by the dive instructor. The tags were set with a heading and a distance. We had two courses, one that was shorter and then one that was really long. The shorter course was a little easier to follow, the longer course I had some issues with getting off by a few degrees and then not being able to find the next tag after 160ft.
Overall this was a great course and I highly recommend for anyone that needs 1 a refresher for compass work or 2 is working on their Dive Master cert.