I spent the better part of my weekend being under water, completing my 4 confined water dives that are needed to take the exams for my diving certificate. I have to admit that it was a long weekend. It included watching some sections of the PADI DVD (5 for each chapter of the knowledge book), taking 4 small exams for each one of them and also taking a final exam based on everything, apart from completing the dives. It was a bit challenging since it was a bit tiring, but a really nice experience altogether.
I don’t think I’m explaining the procedure well since it encloses during the first day some theory (a section of the DVD), a test, jumping in the pool completing some challenges (for more than a couple of hours), then some more theory (out of the water), a test and finishing early in the evening. The second day we had to first jump in the water to do some slightly more difficult challenges and finishing the day with some theory, a test and the final exam!
The challenges included some easy tasks like being able to assemble and disassemble the gear, being able to swim for 200m, staying on the surface for 10 minutes, being able to check the equipment of your diving buddy (you always need one) or being able to empty your mask of water while being underwater and stuff like that. The more complicated challenges (always underwater) include things like swimming for a few meters after you’ve taken off your mask and then putting it back on, having your air supply cut (by your instructor turning the valve off) and having to breath by your buddy’s extra regulator before ascending to the surface or staying neutrally buoyant and controlling your position with just the air in your lungs for a minute. The key to completing all these challenges is by staying calm. Panicking underwater, trying to reach the surface quickly or holding your breath is what you should NEVER do.
Fortunately, we had a very nice instructor that made the whole experience less boring (the theoretical part), was willing to share her experiences (even the embarrassing ones) and tried to explain the challenges efficiently. The rest of the group was quite nice as well. We were 7 altogether, 3 guys and 4 girls. We didn’t have any trouble makers or people that couldn’t understand what we were doing and why. That made the whole course run smoothly and I believe that we were finishing each day, earlier than expected! I have to admit though and I felt knackered at the end of each day. I had a slight headache and I had to have a nap to feel functional again.
All of us did pass the final exam. YAY! That means that with 4 more dives, now in open water, I will be qualified as an open water diver by PADI. I will be able to dive down to 16 meters of depth until I gain some more experience! These 4 dives, we will do them next weekend. They will take us somewhere outside London to a lake, they will throw us in and we will have to do some of the same challenges again accompanied by an instructor. I will let you know how that will go next week!
I’ve already checked and I found a 5 PADI centre in Rhodes. They provide a variety of diving sites according to the experience level of the diver. They even have a shipwreck that you can visit, but it is deeper than I can go. The next best thing is diving in 12m visiting an area of abundant Mediterranean Sea life. It’s in near a place called ‘Pefkos’ and you can do two dives (same day) with rented equipment (I don’t have my own gear yet) for about €72 which I find quite reasonable. I will talk with JJ about it, since I have to check if it is OK for him to be left somewhere on his own until I finish the dives. I will also check with JS, my best friend from university who is a permanent resident of the island and might know more for the centre or the area.
I really can’t wait…