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Search and Recovery on Catalina Island

Casino Point, Catalina Island

I spent last weekend on Catalina Island with Grant working on my Search and Recovery certification. Search and Recovery is part of the Divemaster requirements and full of really important skills. As usual, Grant chose the worst conditions possible to make the training… better.

It was deja vu of my Rescue Diver course that we did in Monterey, except with fewer jellyfish. The water was 14ÂșC, the visibility was very poor and there was kelp everywhere - perfect for losing and finding stuff. It was a new moon as well so during low tide, entering and exiting from shore became quite a challenge.

The first dive we did was a recap of dive one of Underwater Navigator because I needed to get a kick cycle count again. It turns out that with a drysuit and my split fins, it takes me 70 kicks to go 100 feet. Actually, I had to do two dives to get the kick count properly because I was underweighted the first dive and that messed up my trim completely.

The good thing was that while the first dive sucked and the second dive sucked slightly less, each dive and the weather got better after each dive. By the sixth dive, my buoyancy in the drysuit was under control and I was able to find two quarters in the kelpy bottom using a jack stay search pattern.

It was quite challenging, but I completed the course and certification in the end and feel like I took another baby step towards becoming a useful divemaster.