Perhaps we should be certified but referring to completing our PADI Open Water Course 🙂
Certainly didn’t think I would even get to Day 2 initially but as Rob and I do virtually everything together the thought of not going diving with him spurred me on to keep on trying, despite hating the mask tasks. Our instructor, Jesse, had the shock of a new hand signal when he asked me to take my mask off and swim around with it in my hands before replacing and clearing it. The 2 hands, horizontally going back and forth over each other, with a shaking of my head, was a clear ‘I am NOT doing that’, followed by a swift exit to the surface 🙂
The key for me, was the practicing every day. Pouring the salt water into the mask with the jug got me comfortable with water around my nose and I eventually learnt not to breathe in. Without that, I would have continued to take in sea water and splutter and want to get to the surface and in the later tasks when we were 10m down, Jesse held onto my jacket as I was simply not allowed to surface unless it was an emergency.
Miranda is another instructor and she often came out on the dive boat with us to take other divers down. She gave us a few great tips to make life easier, including breathing in for 2 and out for 3, to keep buoyant and use less air.
The school is great, with patient, enthusiastic staff, a large shallow area of sand just in front of the shop, which is used for confined water sessions and good equipment. Learning in the clear, warm water has to be much nicer than a swimming pool! So now we can hire gear and scrape the hull whenever we like. When we got the boat, it had a brand new ‘Mini-B’ system but we had no idea how to put it together or use it. Now we do and it is a great backup for getting ropes off the prop or checking anodes. Just need to have it checked and the tank filled with new air.
Yesterday was our final dive, having both passed the theory somehow, with 100% (hooray!). I had made nearly 40 A4 pages of notes on the course, so there was a lot to learn. We went to a new site for the last dive and dived on a wreck. It was amazing, so many different fish around the old tug and huge lobsters underneath it. Shame it is closed season for lobsters now! Then it was time for our final 2 tasks. One was taking the mask off, replacing and clearing it. Now, I am happy to sit without the mask for ages, as I just keep breathing in through the regulator and no water goes in through my nose. I put the mask back on, straightened out the strap at the back, got my fringe out of the top and finally cleared it in 1 go. Never thought I would be comfortable doing that, so I am really chuffed 🙂
We have been in Bequia for 2 weeks and thought about going to the Tobago Cays for a few days. However, since we have been so busy with the course, we want to explore this island for a while, hire a scooter and go to the whaling museum in the south of the island. So, we may stay here another 10 days before going straight to Martinique overnight.