RATs – Week 3 – Navigation Dive

RATs Week Three: Navigation dive

Oliver French, Year 7

On January 27th, 2017, the BWIC Reef Action Team group were scheduled to go to Coral Gardens for a navigational dive. However, the plans changed and, fortunately, our group was able to go instead with Big Blue on a dive boat. Big Blue decided to take us for a navigational dive to Eagle Ray Pass as this was the place that Big Blue had seen a Humpback Whale earlier that day – we had our fingers crossed!

Upon arriving at Big Blue headquarters, the RATs team sorted out their gear and met with an expert navigation diver: our instructor Marcia. She gave a long briefing on navigation dives and techniques and asked us questions to check we had read the relevant section of our Advanced Open Water manual! We then practised using a compass in a straight line, wandering up and down the dock, then we had to do a square – of course, this was all in preparation for what we were about to do underwater!

Afterwards, the team boarded Live and Direct and with the help of Ben, our cheerful captain, we put on our wet suits, sorted all the gear and set off to Eagle Ray Pass.

Whilst securing the boat to the mooring line, we were fortunate to see a healthy looking turtle coming to the surface, which was a nice greeting! The dive team then buddied up, geared up and started the descent to the deep. We descended until we hit the sand at 44 feet.

Our navigation expert (Marvellous Marcia) had already prepared a line of string at the bottom, which we were now going along and back, counting fin kicks as we went. Afterwards, we did the square navigation exercise. For this you are reliant on your buddy as one of you has to count the fin kicks while the other controls the depth and navigation. While waiting for Lucas and Ella to complete this exercise, I spotted a large Lionfish; we all gathered around to see it – not getting too close of course as we already learnt about those pretty but venomous spines they have!

After everyone had finished their navigation exercise, the dive team spent the rest of the time looking around the dive site. Then everyone headed up to the boat, and captain Ben zoomed us back to the shore. No whales this time but another great dive RATs – can’t wait until the next one!

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