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GUE TECH 1: Impression by Benjamin from Germany and Jeff from the USA
Three total strangers travelled in total around 9839km to meet in a small town at the coast of Croatia. Why? To relax on the beach? No! All of us wanted to attend a diving course which would bring us to the edge (and beyond) the capabilities of our diving skills at that time being. We all signed up to the GUE TEC1 course with JP Bresser as our instructor. Foto1
I work an interesting schedule at 21 days of work followed by 21 days of vacation, which actually makes it suprisingly difficult to plan a GUE course to fit in somewhere. I found a couple of weeks that were available and when I searched the classes website I was pleased to find that JP had a Tech 1 that fit in right where I could make it happen, it just so happened to be in Croatia, very far from my home near Boston.
After reading a few course reports from Krnica and of JP I had all the convincing I needed and scheduled the course and ordered some plane tickets.
I was greeted in Italy by a friendly Croatian along with a warm sunny day and a beautiful 2 hour car ride through the countryside to arrive in Krnica where I met the Big Man, Maurizio, owner of Krnica Dive.
The logistics for the course were so incredibly easy, the first day included a short walk to the beach for the GUE handshake and some in water drills, the following couple of days only required about a 50 foot walk to the dive boat from the center for work on the reef with reel work, failures and the beginning of ascent training.
Day -1: Check in at Divingbase and apartment. Basis and apartment were nice and fully equipped.
I met the first of my two other buddies in the evening. Easy day!
Day 0: Checkdive! We checked on weights, became comfortable with the environment and facilities. We met exhausted but happy finishers of the TEC1 course. After a chat they told us that the task load of the course will increase constantly and Day3 will be the most challenging. At that time we barely could imagine what they were talking about. In the evening we met the third member of the team. Easy day!
Day 1: Meeting Instructor JP Bresser. After a course overview and a short briefing we went straight to the first dive. We reviewed all skills from the GUE Fundamentals course and did a first “Handshake” by Gas-Donation. It quickly became clear that a high level of detail and precision is expected. Feedback on mistakes was immediate and honest. Lesson of the day: Know your drills!
Day 2: DryRun/Theory on Decostage and Manifold failures. In several dives we practiced handling issues and failures which neither came expected nor isolated. Manifold failures had been simulated by a nasty little airgun connected to a HP hose of the instructor’s first stage. We had to face many issues at once...”yeah”...try to handle that! For each situation we had to make the right choice. Call the dive or can it be fixed so the dive could continue!? The task load increased significantly compared to day one. We received direct and honest feedback on the subjects we had to improve. After dinner we had homework until late in the night. Lesson of the day: Never lose awareness!
Day 3:...the longest day. In the morning we have been introduced to the “Gremlin”. A 122 m long reel which is nice and easy to handle till the moment it is getting wet. After long dryruns it became part of our equipment in the water. This day we did a lot of dives and of course...again challenging combinations of errors had been simulated, line entanglement, manifold failures, out-of-gas, lost mask, broken light, lost (stolen) deco-bottle....! The feedback was immediate and without flowery words. This day was indeed the most intense day of the course. After dinner again long homework. The evening was silent; we all were very exhausted and thoughtful. Lesson of the day: Know your drills, never lose awareness and beware of the instructor and his airgun!
Days 4-6: On these days we put everything together. Planning the dives by informing ourselves about the wrecks we planned to explore. Team-/Gas-/Deco planning, all done by ourselves in real dive scenarios. The experience dives let us to the wrecks Lina, Cesare Rossaroll and SS Vis. After the last days everything came together in the most rewarding way. “TriMix dives to 51 m without any signs of narcosis in a very conservative way at first-class locations.
To see the Lina our first experience dive was about a half hour drive to get to the dive boat and a very short boat ride. The VIS on the next day of experience was sporty to say the least as the waves were kicking up and got quite a bit worse while we were down, everyone managed and it was an interesting and wet ride back to the dock.
The final day of the course on the Rossarol we got to take the big boat out from across from the dive center and happened to find a little scorpion in one of our team mates dry bags! It was interesting when one climbed out of his wet notes earlier in the week while we were doing dive plans!
The dive went perfectly and it was a sunny cool ride back to Krnica for a final debrief and celebratory Tomislavs.
The people in Croatia were incredibly friendly and the dive shop was very well laid out, the whole week everything was just easy, Logistics, food, travel, it all flowed so well.
I can't recommend Croatia and Krnica Dive enough as well as all of the work put in by JP to make it such a memorable week with so much learned.
I have been asked to review my GUE TEC1 class after some time passed by. Honestly I was not sure how to do that but I wanted to take the opportunity to share this experience to other divers thinking about to take this class. Was it worth to travel thousands of kilometres, spend time and money to work with total strangers 6- days hard on your diving skills, getting direct feedback on each mistake you make, make homework after a long day of diving just to fell tired into bed and start on the next day all over again?!? Oh YES, it was! The value in becoming a better and conservative diver was worth every exhausting day in class. It was great to learn from the experience of a professional instructor which performed dives far beyond the limits of recreational diving and could share his experience first hand. It was one of the most intense classes I ever took, but it was most rewarding.
Benjamin Schreiner and Jeff Gawrys
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