Two Oiks doin’ an OWIC

Rob Lea and myself received a day’s training towards our instructor qualification last weekend at Wraysbury – specifically we undertook the Open Water Instructor Course (OWIC); the next step following the Instructor Foundation Course and about half-way(ish) towards the final instructor qualification.

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##Short cuts lead to long delays

After parking our car at the dive centre, we met-up with our fellow students and instructors in a hall in Wraysbury village for the initial introductions and first theory lesson.

It was a good job we left in plenty of time, as we got lost following an imaginary short-cut from the lake to the venue. Notwithstanding this, if you ever dive in Wraysbury at the weekend – get there early. The car park was chock-a-block when we returned later that morning.

Students were from clubs all over South England. And, our instructor’s for the day included two K&E members; Rachel Sharp and David Tresidder.

##Have you seen Rob?

Rob and I were split up when students were formed into small groups, probably so that we didn’t become fractious, become a “bad influence” or lead other pupils astray. This was OK, but it did lead to some fun-and-games as we had shared a car for the day and access to our respective kit depended on where the keys were at any given time. Eventually we worked out that the best way to get around this problem was to leave the keys on the top of a tyre. Clever, eh.

##That “mouth to nose” thing

I won’t go into the actual ins and outs of the training, but essentially it boils down to our planning, demonstrating and managing of all the aspects of an open water lessons. We end up actually giving a complete lesson to the other members of our group, while being observed by our instructor. A bit like a driving test, and just as nerve-wracking.

I had to give a lesson aimed at Ocean Divers teaching the correct deployment of a DSMB (not the way I normally do it!). And, I have to say I was pretty happy about being offered this skill given the alternatives. This was after all a common diving skill – not an un-practised rescue drill.

It turns out that I am so behind on the current technique for Rescue Breathing that I didn’t even know that it was the new name for what I remember as “Artificial Ventilation” or some such. Oh well, policemen are getting younger. The type on the screen is awfully small. And, I am going back to the pool before I look like a dinosaur to the next influx of members.

##Losing the plot

One of my fellow students on the course carefully planned out a lesson on “Alternative Air Supply” (AS) – It’s called something like that now, I knew it as “Taking and never letting go of your buddy’s octopus when you’re out of air” (TANLGOYBWYOOA). Anyway, he had a really nice underwater slate clipboard, super-neat handwriting and everything. The only problem was that he had to give his lesson on “The correct use of a compass”.

We might have laughed and had a joke about it, but he didn’t find it funny at all. In fact he took great pains to use his 45-minutes of lesson time to tell our instructor that the system of instruction that BSAC employ should be changed to something that he had just dreamed up.

It was awful. Things went from “funny” to “mildly embarrassing” through to “cringe-worthy” while our instructor, with the patience of a saint, listened to a protracted ramble punctuated with vague “new ideas” about new teaching methods. Actually, if said instructor hadn’t intervened with a killer contrary argument, I’m pretty sure the chap would have built up to “instructor performance league tables” and the concept of “student choice”.

If you’re wondering what the “killer argument” was it goes something like this: “Yes, you can do it your way. But, when it comes to the exam, you will fail – Q.E.D.”

##Cheddar Gorge

Whilst running about, I noticed a few other K&E members* preparing for their instructor exam (to be taken on the following day).

When I say “noticed”, what I mean was that one of them accosted me round the back of the compressor hut to see If I had any insight into what might be on the next days’ itinerary. I obliged them with a few well-told lies and wished them the best of luck.

All in all it was an enjoyable day. There wasn’t a lot of time for lunch (read “none”) and that had the effect of making Rob unbearable on the way home, until he got to my house and ate a half a pound of cheddar.

* Names withheld so as not to attract allegations of libel.

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