We have been meaning to do our PADI course for a while now and were going to take it in Bonaire. However, we have some free time before haul out and are in Bequia where Dive Bequia are based and they came highly recommended by several friends.
Cathy and Bob run it and they have great equipment at their lovely dive shop. Charlie, the parrot, is a great attraction too and will even deign to talk sometimes!
A few years ago we did a taster session at a hotel in St Lucia but I really didn’t get on with it at all. My lifelong issue has been water in my nose and as many can testify, no matter how close to the water I am when Rob manages to push me in, I will always get my hand to my nose to pinch it tightly before hitting the water! By the way, Rob has pushed me in at least 6 times but I am waiting for my moment for revenge 🙂
So, the skill of letting water into the face mask and getting rid of it by blowing through my nose is a nightmare for me. The first day it was the same old story, salt water in my nose and then throat, followed by a rush to the surface to splutter and cough a while. Fortunately we were in shallow water, doing our confined water exercises but clearly I couldn’t dive in deep water until the problem was sorted.
We didn’t go out on the dive boat for the first dive due to this as I just wasn’t happy I’d be able to deal with the mask thing. But, I didn’t want to give up as I’m supposed to be the buddy for Rob when he qualifies, so I sat on Beyzano’s stern for an hour the next morning pouring salt water into my mask from a jug and clearing it. Some tries were the splutter type but eventually it became easier and I managed several good clears. Progress at last but I must have looked crazy sitting there.
Yesterday there was success and I got through the mask clearing a couple of times with the instructor. We completed several skills, including swimming 200 metres and floating for 10 minutes. Then came a task I was unaware of. Removing the mask completely for 30 seconds before replacing it totally full of sea water and clearing it. Big, big nightmare!!!
Not sure how, but got through that one as well but not particularly happily. Rob had thought it was game over. I enjoyed controlling the depth I was swimming at using the BCD to add or remove air from the jacket and my breath to just use air in my lungs to go up or down, also having the fish swim so close they almost touched me. We also checked the equipment and how to put it all together. There are so many tubes and things to remember but the instructor, Jesse, is really patient and explains everything well. We also have an online course to complete which helps to reinforce the learning.
Yesterday we went off in the dive boat and took our first Open Water Dive off the Devil’s Table, down to about 12 metres but it seemed further! We saw lots of little fish, big fish, a huge lobster and lots of coral and rock but nothing too exciting. Probably for the best as I was more concerned with not getting a drop of water into my mask as no way was I wanting to clear it down there. I’m sure I won’t get hooked on scuba diving as it isn’t really grabbing me at the moment. Perhaps the instinct to survive and be on top of the water is too much for me! Perhaps I’m just a coward!