DIR- Generic CCR1 class report in Croatia (Krnica) with Derk Remmers

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beester

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GUE CCR1 course with Derk Remmer (and my buddy Johan Wouters) in Croatia/Krnica.

Background: I've done my fundies in 2010, and took more courses based on needs and goals (C1 -> T1 -> C2 -> T2 and some dpv in between). From 2016 onwards my tech/wreck diving was mainly diving deep(ish) and long (up to 100m, 3h runtime) in OC but in mixed teams (OC/RB80/JJ). I was not convinced to switch to CCR, but a very good buddy of mine with who I did deep dives convinced me to buy a JJ when he switched from RB80 to JJ. All in all 5 close friends of mine switched from OC/RB80 to JJ, so we decided to buy the units together end of 2017. We planned a JJ CCR course (which I organised) in April 2018, however a divorce happened to me so I had to bail. I call our little group "jinxed" because a lot of things happened to all participants in the next 18 months (divorces, finding girlfriends, children, stopping to dive, etc).

Fastforward to 2021. Covid happened, divorce, new girlfriend and son happened ;-) So I only managed to dive the unit for about 100 hours between 2018 and now, and had to bail on the JJ CCR course in 2018. (I had an IANTD MOD1 ticket). The first 3 years I actually hated the unit, because it was too "head-heavy", until I switched the 7L setup to 8,5L setup (longer tanks). After this switch it dives like a dream.

Wanting to use the unit a bit more, doing more T1 range dives and planning expeditions in 2022 in the T2 range, I wanted to up my game. So I booked a course with a good friend of mine and T2/CCR2 instructor, Derk Remmers. My goal being, getting more time on the unit, but mainly getting in tune with the GUE procedures on the unit and getting my ass kicked!

To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to another fundies style class. But I was looking forward to spending evenings talking wrecks, drinking a glass of whiskey with Derk and Johan. My buddy is a guy I know well from Belgium, with about 60-70 JJ dives.

We met on a Monday morning, spending most of the day on theory. In the morning, Derk was thinking we would already be able to do a quick dive the same day (which is not the traditional schedule) but by 11 am it was clear we were asking too many questiongs ;-) ... the late afternoon was spend checking our GUE builds, but since we've been diving them like this the instruction was on details and introducing the GUE checklist on building the unit. I found this to be really helpful. Checklists are the bread and butter of rebreather diving in any case but the GUE one is intuitive.

DAY2: This day is mainly focused on getting the first underwater experience on the unit, getting introduced to the CHAOS prebreath and checklist. This was not new to me, since I stole the process from buddies of mine a while ago, but still the devil is in the details. Underwater we, managed to do a lot of skills in a 2,5 hour diving session (2 dives)... from diluent flush, loop dewatering, switch to backup and full bailout. We managed to do all of this multiple times, because we didn't need to focus on rebreather basics and we were just 2 students. This progression repeated on the following days.

DAY3: Introduction of scenarios, PPO² low and too low (bailout) and subsequent scenarios to manage the issue. In theory we went deeper into this, which was strictly not fully CCR1 (if in doubt/trouble bailout), but included scenarios how to stay on the loop (ccr2). Mainly because we kept asking questions, and our goals were quite defined, Derk endulged and shared his extended knowledge with anecdotes and really good tidbits of info. We shot smb's as well.

DAY4: Different scenarios (PPO² high and much too high (bailout), discussing solutions after closing the O² valve (sccr, connecting O² via mav, but without safety net), 2nd dive scenarios including current limited cells or slow cells.

DAY5: A wreck dive and a combination of above scenarios, plus ADV runaway, valve failures, rescue drill.

DAY6: Just a nice loong wreck dive... no scenarios, but some added tips on how to optimise the ascend and deco.

We spend every day about 2 to 3 hours in the water, spending the rest of the time rebuilding the units and listening to the theory parts which went above and beyond what we expected. What I had feared, that it would be a very hard "fundies style" class didn't happen. The class actually had much more of a T2/C2 vibe, meaning that we didn't overly suffer/stress on the dives, and there was a lot of back and forward discussion during the theory sessions on optimal processes, frank exchanges of thought. I believe the fact that us students had at least some experience on the units helped a lot in this regards. According to Derk normally the course is much more fundies like, because students are constantly stressed. Reason being that they are always behind the curve. It is very hard to go from first CCR dives on day 1 to getting introduced to scenarios in such a short time span, vs us who didn't have to micromanage diving the units, managing loop volume, ascends, managing PPO², etc. This allowed us to go into a bit more advaced details. However he also stated that also most beginning ccr students manage to get on top of all the data, processes, and basic diving shared during class, but need more time processing and experiencing it after class.. hence no immediate T1 limits post class, but only after 25 dives on the unit to ingrain the procedures taught. Like this (with no prior ccr experience) it really becomes a "fundies" style class. Due to circumstances (the jinxed group) I bailed out of the GUE ccr class in 2018 and as such had a bit more personal time on the rebreather before class ;-)

I have to say it was a wonderful experience, I learned a lot, mainly because my mental bandwith was not occupied with the basic stuff (managing the unit underwater). I told Derk I'm looking forward to take in the far future CCR2, but unlike T2, only after diving the heck out of the unit in the deeper ranges/longer runtimes.

If you ever want to take a ccr1/ccr2 course I cannot recommend Derk Remmers enough.

Also a big "high five" to my buddy Johan. You tend to **** up from time to time in these kind of courses, it's part of the learning process. Him giving from time to time a high five underwater, to full blown hugs helped immensely to keep having fun! Cheers bro!
 

Matan

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The first 3 years I actually hated the unit, because it was too "head-heavy", until I switched the 7L setup to 8,5L setup (longer tanks). After this switch it dives like a dream.

only solution is 8.5L doubles? I feel exactly the same way....

Matan.
 
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beester

beester

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Well you could tierap a 2 kg weight on the bottom metal stand to balance the weight but i am a tall guy so longer 8,5 l make sense.
 

ginti

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I think I met Johan already, during my fundies with Peter Brandt he was helping by taking videos, a very nice guy.

I have a couple of questions, just out of curiosity:
- would you suggest to go directly for a GUE CCR1 course, or to first do a MOD1 and then to go for the GUE course?
- given that you are T2 trained, do you really need to do the CCR2 course? What would you learn that you do not already know?

Thanks :)
 
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beester

beester

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I think I met Johan already, during my fundies with Peter Brandt he was helping by taking videos, a very nice guy.

I have a couple of questions, just out of curiosity:
- would you suggest to go directly for a GUE CCR1 course, or to first do a MOD1 and then to go for the GUE course?
- given that you are T2 trained, do you really need to do the CCR2 course? What would you learn that you do not already know?

Thanks :)
Haha yes Johan is ace! On your questions. Take the CCR1 course straight away or do another MOD1 first get experience on the machine and then take the CCR1 course. Mmmm pro's and cons for both.

PRO TAKING IT STRAIGHT AWAY
- The CCR1 course is designed as a MOD1/2 course, starting with new divers on the unit (normally the first day is a no diving day, building up the unit, explaining how it works, etc. There is also a workshop on maintenance included which is handy and the first dive day really is just about getting to know and struggle with the machine.
- You also start straight away with the processes explained well. No risk of getting a bad course/instructor.
- You immediately from the start learn the GUE processes on the machine.
CON TAKING IT STRAIGHT AWAY
- Get ready for a real fundies style class, it will be hard, your days will be very very long! You won't have the bandwith to handle everything, and every day they will add more and more new stuff, while you feel you didn't process yet all what was covered before. There is so much that needs to be worked through that you will not get many opportunities to practice all the different scenarios, and you'll have to practice what has learned after the course again and again. In this regard it really is the only GUE course (together with fundies) where coming out of it you just get a license to practise... only after 25 dives (preferably more) should you be ready to do more.

PRO TAKING ANOTHER COURSE FIRST AND THEN GUE CCR1.
- Both me and Johan had some hours on the machine (he about 60, me about 100), which means that parts of the course were not skipped but went very fast (building the unit, maintenance), which gave room for some honest back and forward discussions which went beyond CCR1 on how to use the unit in different scenarios. I really liked that part. Also on the dives, we straight away on dive 1 dived into procedures and scenarios, because the basics where there, we were no longer fighting the machine, we already were reasonably good at maintaining minimum loop volume, ascends and descends didn't bother us so much, we could already more or less run the unit manually with the mav, etc... This gave much more time in water to practice scenarios, get failures, surprises... meaning by the end of the course there was confidence because we had been hit with a lot of failures not just once but 2, 3, 4 times per failure, sometimes one on top of another... So from this background the course becomes more MOD2plus (although MOD1 on the procedures).
CON TAKING ANOTHER COURSE FIRST AND THEN GUE CCR1
- You risk having to unlearn stuff that was maybe not taught well or doesn't align very well with GUE practices. Yes you can get the GUE procedures easily from a fellow dive buddy, but as with everything the devil is in the details, and this you might/tend to miss just reading through or getting ad hoc explanation from a fellow GUE CCR diver.
- You risk learning or using procedures that are not super safe. You are more on your own.
- I took an IANTD MOD1, because it came free with the unit when I bought it (I made a deal with the instructor, he gave me the course, he got the JJ wing and BP, since I didn't need it after my GUE conversion).
- Johan bought a unit 2nd hand and didn't take a course. He got ad hoc instruction from buddies.

On CCR2: I think it's a really nice course, we talked a lot about it and got into quite a lot of the theory, but as always it's a different thing talking about it and having all these failure scenarios slammed into you on dives. Main difference with CCR1 is that you are exploring more scenarios where bailing out is only option number 2 or even 3, and you try to find ways to solve the issue by staying on the loop (for example by plugging in off board O² or diluent, by running the unit manual, by running it in sCCR mode), all of these are possible but also have disadvantages. Next you'll have the T2 part which deals with bailing out at depth and handling OC stages, tank rotations etc... this part needs to be included in the course because the entry level for CCR is T1 no longer T2, so you'll get students who haven't practised this skill set.

For me personally it will be like the CCR1 course, I've a couple of weeks planned next year of diving the unit in the T2 range, and then some really deep stuff in 2023, after that I'll take CCR2 ;-)
 

ginti

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Thanks; what scares me is the possibility of getting a "provisional"... anyway, right now it is too early for me, I will see later on :)
 
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beester

beester

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I don't get that that people are scared of a provisional. In the end you don't need to redo the course, you just need to spend 1 day in water after you've worked on what has been thoroughly brieved to you by the instructor.

Yes I understand that if you take the course in some far away place it's harder to organise, but if you stay in contact with the instructor it should be easy to realise and what is "far away" anyway (at least in european context).

:cool:
 

ginti

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I don't get that that people are scared of a provisional. In the end you don't need to redo the course, you just need to spend 1 day in water after you've worked on what has been thoroughly brieved to you by the instructor.

Yes I understand that if you take the course in some far away place it's harder to organise, but if you stay in contact with the instructor it should be easy to realise and what is "far away" anyway (at least in european context).

:cool:

I wouldn't be scared in case of a cave or a tec course, but CCR instructors are not a lot. Add the job, the fact that GUE instructors often have a busy schedule... and well, this is why I am a bit scared of it :)
 

barth

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only solution is 8.5L doubles? I feel exactly the same way....

Matan.
You could use the original jj backplate. It's possible to change the height of the JJ relative to backplate. (That's not possible with a halcyon backplate with 2 holes for mounting tanks. The JJ backplate has 3 pairs of holes for mounting the JJ).

I don't know what kind of first stages you are using. Maybe you could use first stages for the doubles with less weight.
 
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