Friday, July 15, 2011

Commercial Dive School: Week 1

Two colleagues and I are being sent to commercial dive school to get our Association of Diving Contractors International (ADC) certification.

We arrived in Brainerd Minnesota, Tuesday July 5, and knew it was going to be small town living when our checked baggage was handed to us as we walked of the plane and in to the airport terminal.  After getting our rental car and packing the clown car we began our journey to locate our hotel.

Driving to our hotel was pretty uneventful, but we started to drive by a lot of statues with a lumber jack looking man and some with the lumber jack and ox.  As we continued to the hotel we passed places like Paul Bunyan Bowling.  Little did we know Brainerd, MN, is the home of Paul Bunyan.  I few other fun facts about Minnesota : Home of Post it Notes & Spam.

The first day of dive school started with us arriving at 8am and filling out paper work, meeting everyone and taking a tour of the facility.  The dive school building used to be an old armory and a lot larger then I had pictured it to be.  They have a full service scuba shop, two class rooms and a dive tank room.

After our tour and paperwork, we jumped right in to the course material.  Mark who is our instructor lectured us about the basics of an umbilical, rack box and hat.  After lunch we started diving in the tank.

The rest of the week was more of the same with lecture in the morning and diving in the tank in the afternoon.  Mark let us try out a variety of hats from the standard on demand hats OCC uses to the free flow hats like the MK-12 and Desco.

 Adon in Desco Free-Flow Hat, Anthony in MK-12 & Chris in Kirby Morgan SL77

By Sunday it was time to finally get to dive in open water, which around here means old mine pits.  Mark was even nice and let us begin an hour later on Sunday since we have been going to class every day from 8am to 6-6:30pm.  Mark showed us how he wanted his trailer loaded; packed up and headed out to the Mine Pit.  After a short drive to the pits, we unloaded the trailer and were showed how to setup the dive spread, check fluid levels and start/shut down all compressors.  Our dives would consist of conducting search patterns and rescuing an unconscious diver.

Anthony & Adon waiting to dive in Louise Mine Pit

To see more photo check them out here: Week 1 Photos

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