My name is Romain Vaast, I spent 6 months learning technical scuba diving with Blue Label Diving.
These were 6 months of hard training, deep diving, failure but more importantly success and personal growth.
I arrived at Blue Label in May 2019 as a young Open Water Instructor with some basic decompression diving experience. I was ready to learn everything I could; Sidemount, Trimix, Cave, Rebreathers and eventualy become a Decompression procedures instructor.
It started with the sidemount course with Klaus Klaeden as instructor. The first time I put the system on and did a dive I said to myself : “This is not for me”. It was too bulky, the tanks were not where I wanted them to be, too many hoses. I felt very uncomfortable and a little bit scared for the next courses.
After more dives with 3 or 4 tanks on sidemount system during my Extended Range course, I started to appreciate the streamlining of the cylinders and the trim it gives you. Especially after buying my own harness, I could put the hardware exactly where I wanted it to be.
Discovering the fun of caves
Things started to get a little bit more challenging with the Cave course.
This time my instructor was essentially Claus Rasmussen. I realised how ignorant I was about safe procedures in caves. Diving in an overhead environment was so different from open sea. Having strict redundancy in my configuration made me feel a lot more secure; now I always carefully plan the equipment I’m carrying with me.
When the time for squeezing into restriction came, I was a little bit stressed about my reaction. I ended up loving it! It’s now my favorite part of cave diving: going through tight restrictions to discover what lies beyond.
I had the chance to do a few more trips to the caves and do specialty courses like Stage Cave and Dpv cave.
Rebreathers and more advanced dives
I really started to get out of my comfort zone with the CCR courses. I did my first course on a ISC Meg 15. The confined water session was my most frustrating experience in scuba diving. I couldn’t figure out my buoyancy and kept sinking or floating up.
Thanks to Claus’ advices, the next day on the boat, when diving a bit deeper I started to get how the unit was working. After a little while I got pretty comfortable on the Meg.
Then I did a cross-over to the Triton mCCR. Being a manual and compact unit, I liked a lot having more control on the unit operation, I felt more secure.
On the end of September, I did the Advanced Trimix course which brought me to 100 meters of depth in Song Hong Lake. It was an amazing dive, I was very lucky to put a cookie with my name and lift up the trophy.
In between all the courses I had plenty of time to deepen my understanding about decompression physiology. Thanks to Ben Reymenants extensive knowledge on the subject.
An other part of diving I love is equipment! Here in Blue Label you can see lots of different BC systems, regulators and rebreathers. I spent a lot of time of my internship fixing broken gear. Sometimes succeding, sometimes not…
Becoming tech instructor
On the last month I did my Advanced Nitrox and Decompression procedures instructor course with Ben. I learned more how to conduct a decompression dive with a student. Various ways to handle incidents to avoid more complicated situations. Also how to present different decompression theories in a simple way. It was intense but rewarding, I’m proud today to be an instructor for these specialties as my first step into teaching technical diving.
I am very thankful to everyone at Blue Label Diving. I learned a lot and now I feel like a much better instructor, ready to explore the world!!