This past weekend we conducted the Sidemount Confined Water training at one of our favorite pools, the Suwon World Cup Pool. This pool is setup for some great dive training. If you haven’t been here it is a 5m deep 50m x 50m pool. It has several hula hoops at varying depths for buoyancy practice as well as mirrors for each diver to self-correct and fine tune skills.
Our day started out with a drive through the Korean summer vacation traffic…and there was PLENTY of it. It took nearly double the time to get to the Suwon pool because Koreans were off enjoying their vacations. Once we arrived at the pool we went over equipment setup and tank rigging. This is one of the most important parts of the course, no instructor should over look this portion. Everything minute you spend on setup will greatly pay off during the dive. I would recommend that instructors compliment their instruction with some sort of video that explains various setups and use. The one that I like so far is Jill Heinerth’s Sidemount Scuba Diving.
Once our equipment was setup and prepped for entry we went over an orientation brief to explain entry methods, weighting and brief the skills for the day. With the briefings out of the way we pushed off the entry point and verified weighting and descended down to check out Jeff’s trim. This is another critical place that instructors can’t take too lightly and where students will greatly benefit…GET THEIR TRIM RIGHT! Spend the time to ensure equipment is setup correctly and streamlined. This may be difficult if the student is useing loaner/rental gear but it is still important. It is CRITICAL if the student is diving their own gear, this will be a great starting point for them to take note of. Rarely will a diver again get so much personal attention to work out kinks and perfect their trim in the water. Once Jeff’s gear was adjusted he knocked out skill after skill and we were able to surprise Jeff with multiple simulated emergencies as well. Great job today Jeff! We definitely earned those Chili’s meals.
It wasn’t only the divers that got some fun in today…our shore support (wives) decided to tour the Suwon castle and downtown area while we were in the pool. One more reason that we like this pool, lots to do for divers and non-divers alike.
If you are not familiar with the Suwon World Cup pool here is some information:
PADI Drysuit Specialty diver and PADI Divemaster were the two certifications earned this weekend. There is no doubt that we made the most of a 3 day weekend. For the American’s it was Memorial Day weekend and for the Korean’s it was Buddha’s Birthday. Needless to say the dive shop and hotels at the coast were packed! We got to meet some of our South Korean Facebook Followers and dive with some new friends as well…welcome to the 38th Parallel Divers Club Dave, glad to log some dives with you.
Despite some pretty strong winds the waters on the east coast were amazing. This weekend probably ranked in the top 5 weekends for visibility in the past 5 years. Definitely nice to jump into the water with conditions like this. The ocean was super flat all weekend and little to no surge or current, even at the dive sites.
Since most of us have been steadily knocking out certifications of students we decided to take this weekend for ourselves and make is a calm, lazy fun weekend.Congratulations to Dan on finishing his Divemaster certification (we know this was a long time coming), welcome to the pro ranks! Congrats to Divemaster Jeff on earning his drysuit specialty as well.
We did several beach dives at Namae-ri Beach as well as several boat dives. Our first boat dive was at Steel House. Steel House is a 10m tall structure that rests in 30m of water. Great for buoyancy practice swimming through all the beams. We also dove Concrete Cubes, and just like the name says it was a bunch of concrete open cubes that allow for divers to swim in-between and around. We saw a nice school of smaller sized fish and lost of small growth. West Ridge was another dive site that we were able to log some time onto. This site offered a natural rock formation and minor wall to swim around. A nice dive to see rock formations and small growth, even some nudibranchs.
It would be an understatement to say the shop was packed. Namae Scuba had extra staff on hand and both boats in the water for divers. They also shuttled divers back and forth to the beach for shore diving. There were several clubs diving with 38th Parallel Divers as well as 80+ college girls from the Suwon Women’s college. Most of the girls were doing PADI Open Water Diver with some finishing up Advanced, Rescue and Divermaster. Namae’s resident Course Director was also conducting an IDC (Instructor Development Course) for a few future dive instructors.
Despite all of this going on we can’t say enough how great their staff is. They always make sure to keep us informed on dive conditions and dive times. Namae staff also makes sure we have everything we need and make every attempt to help us work out any minor equipment issues anyone might have. These guys are a great operation indeed…thanks Namae Scuba!
So we went to the Suwon World Cup Pool on March 20th to check out new equipment that was purchased over the winter and to get our current equipment back in the water. We wanted to get wet to go over our Tec and rebreather configurations as well as get time to practice some buoyancy and gear configurations.
First note: During the week is the ABSOLUTE BEST time to go to the pool, we had the entire pool to ourselves (almost).
We were lucky to make a new contact with an Aqua Lung International and AquaLung USA representative. Coincidentally they were showing off some of their shallow-water (O2 only) rebreathers off to some ROK military. It was pretty cool watching these guys in the water. We also were able to meet up with some Korean friends from Young Jin Technical Scuba Shop. Our favorite Young Jin instructor had about 6 new students with her fro entry level recreational diving. It is always great to see a friendly face.
Since we had the pool all to ourselves for most of the time we were able to use all the underwater hula-hoops, ascent/descent lines and have a free-for all without worrying about others.
We also tested out some new equipment, the Hollis M3 mask. The Hollis M3 mask turned out to be an amazing new addition to our equipment. We have tried many masks in the past from several manufacturers but this one is our new favorite. The glass is CRYSTAL clear providing an excellent amount of light in. The side skirts are black which allow for easier focusing and less distractions from peripheral shadows. Our last mask we dove was the Hollis M1 mask (round edges) and we were wintering if we were going to find anything that could come close to this mask. The M1 offers a great FOV (field of view) and extremely low profile…WAS our go-to mask of choice until we laid our hands (and face) on the M3.
The M3 also has an extremely low profile and has a great FOV. The glass is Crystal Clear Saint-Gobain Diamant Tempered Glass. When they say crystal clear it is CRYSTAL clear. The second you put on this mask you will see an immediate difference in quality. Two critical factors (for us) make this our new STANDARD mask:
(1) Achieves a perfect seal with full beard and/or full goatee, there were ZERO LEAKS the entire dive. We rarely ever experience this. SERIOUSLY there we NO leaks it was honestly unbelievable (even the M1 has leaked a TINY bit now and then with bushy facial hair).
(2) ZERO pinching of the nose (under or over). This mask is quite possibly the most comfortable mask we have ever worn. After 2 hours in the water and on our face there wasn’t a spot that was uncomfortable or irritated. This is CRITICAL for two important groups of people (instructors and rebreather divers). These two groups wear their masks more than any other diving group. We can’t stress enough how great this mask was to wear.
We encourage EVERYONE that is interested in bettering their skills to contact us for our next trip. We have divers of all skills in our group to include Instructors, Tec Divers (back and sidemount) and rebreather divers. Not only are our club members always willing to help[ but we can always learn from what our new friends can bring to the table. Contact us via facebook if you are interested in getting some new skills or just looking to fun dive. We hope to see you next trip!