Well, that was the theory on how we were to run the Ocean Diver Course!
Normally we give the lectures on club evenings over a number of consecutive weeks and fit a number of pool sessions in on a different evening. This time though, some bright spark suggested we run it over a single weekend. It sounded simple enough over a pint one evening. Rather than chase instructors and try to organise loan kit for weeks at a time, just get everyone and everything together for two days over a single weekend!
It’s not until you’ve filled the old ‘L’ reg hatchback with 6 loan cylinders and all the club jackets and regs that you realise you’re in trouble! The cars full and you’ve forgotten all the extra kit you need as props for the various lectures – in go the two dry suits, with a couple of nitrox ponies and 6 sets of 88 tables. Hmmm….. my sons doing the Ocean Diver course this time, does he need a lift to the pool on Saturday too? Finally set off at 9am with one small boy in the passenger foot well with the pork pies, a laptop and a large jar of instant coffee (plus a box of sugar cubes).
Steve arrived, and somehow had space in his car for his Guitar – he mentioned needing to practice, but no hope this weekend, he had 3 lectures to give as well as 6 hours underwater!
During the day more instructors arrived to help in the pool and to give some of the lectures, and most were kind enough to leave even more kit for us to use – seriously, thanks guys! (note to self, can our Marchwood member lend us a big green truck on Sunday?). Why do all Ocean Water Divers have size 10 feet? (Another note to self, setup an eBay alert ‘cheap fins size 10’)
Using the tried and testing time management methods (controlled panic) we managed to get through 7 lectures and 5 pool sessions, including 5 Try-Dives and filling in some missed lecture for students from another local BSAC branch. We were even ready for the last minute planned HSE visit to the swimming pool on Sunday (just our luck we’d hired it for the same weekend as their visit), but the HSE inspector cancelled as they were feeling ill (I assume they had a Risk Assessment that covered that scenario?).
Glossing over the actual Ocean Diver Course itself which everyone involved seems to have enjoyed…. I survived to Monday morning! A day of rest for someone who works from home you’d suspect? Wrong, a steaming car full of wet kit that needed to be washed, filled and returned. The Monday wash day was very yellow, orange and black with lots of hoses!
Finally a chance to sit down and pull the photos off of the cameras, a chance to email everyone involved and to send them some fun pictures and read their responses. A few smiles and a descent coffee from a cup with a handle (as opposed to a pink plastic beaker after having to fill the kettle via a snorkel - don't ask), you can start thinking about those potential members who said they just couldn’t make this weekend…. but were still interested in the next one!
I’m convinced there should be a space in the Qualification Record Book for what we did this weekend, but then you might get it signed and just never do it again!