Getting ready for Pico

In two weeks I will have left Amsterdam and be on my way to Pico – wow, it’s getting close now! In my current job I’m starting to transfer all my tasks and next to this preparing for my departure. The packing list is almost finished (probably I’ll still forget something…), the medical checkup has been done and my diving gear is again ready to be used intensively in the coming year!

The body

Last week I visited De Sportartsen Groep for an extensive medical examination. Getting yourself checked and tested once in a while can’t hurt, especially in view of the coming intensive year. Of course it all started with the huge ‘Yes/No’ questionnaire on paper followed by a comprehensive questioning of the doctor. Following this the measuring started. Weight, height, fat percentage, flexibility, eyesight, hearing, listening to the heart and lungs, blood pressure, blood values and the electrocardiogram.

Now the passive part was over and I had to perform. First I had to do the pulmonary function tests, testing my full lung capacity or the forced vital capacity and then trying to exhale as much as possible and as powerful as possible to measure the forced expiratory volume in one second. All was good, but next time I’ll make sure to train for this as well! Now the fun really started, as I was put on the ergometer to perform my maximum cardio test. Trying to get my heart racing at it’s maximum beats per minute. Since I’m an avid cyclist I was quite motivated for the test and as far as I knew 198 bpm would be my maximum. Starting at 35 watts it was extremely easy but every minute 35W was added gradually. Slowly the drops of sweat started running of my head and I had set myself the goal to at least pass the 400W mark. Peaking on the screen next to me, I could see my heart rate climbing to over 190 bpm. 191, 192, 194, 198… Wow, I still felt I could continue! At 402W though I reached the 202 bpm and my legs filled quickly with massive amounts of lactic acid and I couldn’t keep it up. The resistance was lowered and I got a couple of minutes of recovery. My legs started feeling like they belonged to my body again. At least this result was satisfactory, both for the doctor as for myself,and now I’m sure I can keep pushing myself the coming year!

The gear

However good the body is, without some properly serviced diving gear it would still become quite challenging! And especially my regulators really needed some care as they hadn’t been serviced in the past two years – oops! As my quality for sure is not rinsing and drying everything after a dive (except for my camera – that’s my baby ;-)), the necessity was even greater! Two weeks ago I went to Sander of Dive Solutions to take good care of them. The tools were laid out, the ultrasonic cleaner heated and filled with some Blue Gold so we were of to a good start. First things first, so we removed all the hoses and plugs from the first stages and subsequently removed all the O-rings and Sander started to disassemble them, each one into it’s own tray.

With the help of the ultrasonic cleaner the first stages started looking as if they were hardly used in a matter of minutes. The time the cleaner was working on then was the time for us to disassemble the second stages. Again, each of them disassembled into a separate tray to keep all the bits and pieces together where they belong. I’ve seen the insides of regulators quite some times before, but I keep being amazed by the beautiful simplicity of the system. Being this simple and still such a technical feat gets my engineering heart running (not to the 202 bpm though!). After everything had been through the cleaner and thoroughly dried, it was time to assemble everything again. Starting by looking for the right O-rings, putting some grease on them and installing them on the right location before putting all the parts together to form a functioning regulator. It’s always quite a hassle with all the small bits and pieces, but thanks to Sander’s experience doing this it was all done with great ease. Once everything was assembled Sander started to calibrate the regulators – although he almost put them at the perfect position already while assembling, making it more fine-tuning than calibration.

After this hard work we had some time to take a well-deserved beer and talk about the
future plans. Thanks a lot for your help Sander – besides the body the equipment is also ready for the coming year!