MJ and I took our first dive in the Canary Islands. We dove off of the water sports pier near old harbor. We rented all the dive equipment from Safari Dive Center and had a dive master with us. Our first challenge was figuring out the metric sizes and weights for the gear. The guys behind the counter asked if I wanted a 10 liter or 15 liter bottle of air. I’m use to 80, 100 or 135 cubic inch tanks. No clue as to liters. Since this was the first dive of the year for both MJ and I, we took the 15 liter bottles. More air the better. We had similar issues with wet suit sizes, fin sizes and lead weights. The guys at the shop were very helpful in getting us suited up with the correct size equipment.
After suiting up, the dive master gave us a dive brief. He detailed several dive options based upon our air consumption and comfort levels. One of the last options was the dive master giving us the buddy up sign and wave us off. In other words if he was comfortable with our diving skills he would send us off to finish the dive on our own.
We jumped into the water and dropped to 15 feet. The water was cool. We needed 5mm wet suits for warmth. The visibility was 60 feet plus. We swam along the storm break towards the old town harbor entrance. The water depth gradually dropped to 50 feet. There was tons of sea life around. Yellow jacks, Amberjacks, Wrasse, Parrotfish, Comberfish and Seabream were in abundance. Along the dive we came across an 8 inch squid, swimming along the sandy floor.
As we circled around, we swam out close to the underwater lava cliffs. At the cliffs the water depth plunges. at the cliff edge we found our selves at 70 feet deep. An eagle ray swam near us, allowing us to take soem great video. I had the Go-Pro camera with us. As soon as I get a chance I’ll post a video clip.
We started the dive with 200 bar of pressure in our tanks. Again, I have no real clue as to how much air that equates to. At 100 bar we were to tell the dive master and at 50 bar we were expected to be at the surface. In my mental gyrations I equated that to 1200psi starting up and 500psi being back on the boat.
We were at 180 bar of pressure when the dive master looked at MJ & I and gave us the buddy up sign and waved us off.
We proceeded to swim around several mounds of lava rocks, peering into the crevices, exploring. We stayed at 9 meters / 30 feet for the rest of the dive. At 100 bar of pressure we were both tired and called the dive. We were in the water for an hour and 15 minutes.
As we were cleaning up the equipment and turning it back into the shop, we talked to the dive master and the guys at the shop. They invited us to go out on the boat with them for some more difficult dives. I guess we demonstrated proficiency in our diving skills. The other funny point was that MJ & I became known as the “Americans” at the dive shop.