So Kelly and I are at Couples Swept Away (paying out of wi head-side fi di likkle vacation) when Kelly suggests that we do the beginners SCUBA course since it's included in the package. I'd seen the ppl in the pool and thought that it might be an interesting thing to do, but I ain't into no craziness like turning off air tank... even if it's just in the pool.
So we sign up and our class is on the penultimate day, no proble..... wait.... I'm not supposed to drink before I dive! But it's just the pool so I guess a few pina coladas won't hurt. Wait.... I need to pass the swim test.... I'll just have to try harder in the morning. I'll just cut back on breakfast... sort of ish.
Thursday morning 8:30am, having had a light breakfast we head to the pool. Jump in he says and give me 8 laps of the pool, no time limit, but only free-style. You stop you start over. Sounds reasonable enough. Rhaaaaatid!!! Mi nearly dead!! Maybe I shouldn't have had so much to eat last night.
Kelly takes the lead and I never recover. Finally he tells me I should be ashamed that my wife kicked my ass and I should get out of the water, I just barely made it.
We get some gears we start off slow in the pool.... it's not very deep and my legs drag but we're just doing some simple stuff.... or so I thought. He keeps making reference to when you are diving in open water... I don't know what he's talking about.
After about 2hrs of skills training and some theory, he says "Ok go get fresh tanks and get your gear on the boat"...... WHAT???? Excuse me sir, we only signed up for the basic scuba course.....
So we get on the boat and I'm not amused. Kelly is fine. Soon land disappears and I've further not amused because as I just demonstrated in the pool, my behind cannot swim back to land.
We gear up and enter the water. My weight belt slips off, but I was holding it as instructed so I don't have to dive for it. We begin controlled descent. Down at the bottom was beautiful. My dive buddy (Kelly) abandons me at the bottom of the sea (her weights weren't enough so she kept surfacing despite a deflated BCD)!!
Instructor goes for her but she opts to return to the boat. I go alone. We complete our basic dive skills part and we surface and all is well. Back on land our instructor tells us that we did very well and we seem so comfortable with scuba diving and we could complete the first level of certification with just a few more hrs of confined and open water training and diving. It'll only cost $250 USD..... each.
So after being so psyched, we all sign up (grp of six). Then he gives us a 220 page book to read so that we can sit a test the following morning as part of the certification exam. No drinking or over-eating again tonight. Damn!!!
So we go eat and then hit the books... So Kelly hits the books and I sleep on and off on the book.
Friday morn I have a nervous stomach and use the bathroom twice. Couldn't eat much at breakfast, just some fruit.
No swim test this time. But had to learn to identify, assemble and disassemble our gear and work out our weighs. Then we learned buddy checks and then got geared up and start another 2 hrs in the pool with skills training. I was surprisingly quite calm when he turned off my air.
We finally head out to do the same skills and what we had learned the day before, in the sea. No buoyancy problems this time with Kelly and he refuses to tell us how far down we are supposed to be going. Our depth turns out to be 40 feet. This dive site is even more beautiful. We do the skills as we had learned and we do some sight seeing. No sharks seen or dolphins but no picture can do justice to what we saw. We head into a cave, swim through and surface several metres away. We do some more skills and then we head back to do the written test.
After passing and getting our paperwork done, he offers us one more dive. Kelly is starving so she declines cause we have to leave right away. I decide to go for it. No dive partner I get partnered with a new instructor, but I'm cool with it. We go this time no skills demonstration. This is the full practice of skills with minimal supervision. We see barracuda and a downed Cessna, body to one side and wing to another. Saw some coral with a steady stream of air bubbles rising from them.
All in all a wonderful dive. So now I have 90minutes of open sea diving under my belt.
We are certified PADI Scuba Divers. Next step is PADI Open Water Diver. We have two more levels for that, but our instructor already covered 1/2 of it with us because he says he prefers to over prepare his students. From his experience he sees too many divers come with respective accreditation and still not have some important skills that are in higher levels that he feels that they should have.
So next step is to get some personal gears and sort out the rest of certification to get to the Open Water Diver level.