I enrolled for my open water diving course right in paradise, 4 days – 5 dives up to a depth of 18 meters with a group of 6 students and 2 instructors we first learn the theory, mostly about the equipment and lots of physics and mathematics like air expansion, pressure, air mixture plus some basic hand signs for communication and of course the rules to follow J
Keen to dip in the waters after that, some handled quite well others needed a bit time to adopt, but after one and a half days we were ready for our first dive in shallow waters – it was amazing, for me it felt so natural, breathing and the movements, like in a dream.
Our Instructor Tiagu is from southern India his village Erode is near Coimbatore and after the course we got to talk about his home and Isha Yoga Center but now he made sure we get all the practices we had to learn right, like cleaning the mask, finding the regulator, inflating/deflating the BCD (buoyancy control device), properly kick with the fins and so on, he always had a smile for us and explained further more if something didn’t work quite well. Now is the time to practice if we’re in the open waters and deep down we should know our shit!
We meet round 7 every day at the dive center and 5:45 the sun comes up so I managed to start the day with a sunset on the beach quite often, not too bad of a start eh 😉
Most of the good dives are way out in the ocean heading there with the boat goes always along with diving – you get a sweet ride, one day we even saw dolphins!
The next day’s our small group formed and a new face joined Teo from Finland, he enrolled for his dive master. As soon as he appeared I knew he’s a good guy, his energy body was already enhanced, later on I got to know him better and the connection grew.
In groups of two to three students per instructor we went to deeper ground every day and visited multiple dive sites, jumping or rolling off a boat, wicked! Just with watching the experienced guys you can learn so much about diving, minimal movements and breath is key, so some asanas and pranayama helps being a good diver – maybe that’s why it came to me quite easy.
The underwater life was good up to that point, still being spoiled from Vanuatu, I always expect a bit more but just being down there is actually so sweet, all the movements it’s like floating the long dream of flying becomes true as zero buoyancy is the divers aim, meaning the weights are balanced – you don’t go up and down and basically float at one level. Hanging upside down, going sideways, rolls, spirals – everything is possible, just watch your head! Mine was a spinning and it felt a bit dizzy after some time 😉
On our final day we went to “The Wall”, one of the deepest spots around, boasting with underwater life but the currents were so strong I could barely move forward when already kicking the ass out of my fins, of course you cannot go on your own, always stick to your buddy! So there I was floating back, while the others were holding the line staying in one spot easily. At the ground the current wasn’t as bad and I could spot a fish the size of a shopping cart, amazing! We went up just after that, the conditions were too harsh and the visibility was also not the best, I still loved it – the power of nature, it was right there for me to feel! The fish I got to see seemed not to notice the current and just naturally went with it as the birds go with the flow in a storm – everything is connected…
And here we were after the short multiple choice test, approved open water divers – Yes!
But as 18 meters depth is not enough we all went to do the advance course right after, 2 more days and 5 more dives, that gives us the certificate to go down to 30 meters – this is where the cool cats go and the big fish roam so yeah, bring it on!
Directly the first day we went to Dixon – 3 pinnacles in the open sea, it’s been low tide so we just went down to 28 meters but that was a hell of a ride, somehow my right ear wouldn’t equalize going down, after 9 minutes and a couple of different techniques I made it and felt no more pressure. Teo was back with us again and once we reached the bottom he showed us a color chart – red is completely gone, no light is reflected anymore, it simply appears black in this depth – very interesting how fast the reflections vanishes deeper down and the light fades. We went counter clockwise round the pinnacle and watched the life taking place, the air we breathe in those depths won’t last long – more atmospheric pressure as water has thicker density than air. Imagine a column of water above your head the height of the depth you go.
We had 70 bar left and went back to the rope, all of a sudden my buddy disappeared and Teo went after him, leaving me alone – 15 meters to go up. “Well I’ll make it on my own now!” I thought to myself after searching them for a minute. With enough air left I ascent very slowly and waited at a depth of around 5 meters for 3 minutes we learned the theory so now I had to use it, of course this was a situation that should not have happened but this is real life and it comes as it goes and there’s never a complete safe way and diving should also not be treated easily it’s demanding physical and mental exercise. We all made it safe to the surface the two others were there way faster than me thou.
What happened was, my buddy panicked and shot up like a rocket he thought he won’t have enough air left but that’s what you learn before, if you’re out of air, you just share air with your buddy. Teo went after him pushing him down, he told me later he knew that I could take care of my own so he left me down by the big fish – he was right as we were connected before. This is what happens, real life situations, you need to be prepared for everything and know the one to trust, we all learned something there!
Some more dive sites we visited were M4, a shallow one, if you’re not that deep down your air will last longer, visibility was good with 15 meters and we directly saw a stingray, schools of fish and famous clown fish of course guarding the anemone, soo nice to watch those little fellows. We saw a bigger Napoleon fish at the lighthouse site and also got to dive a small wreck, a wooden boat sunk one year ago and is already falling apart, visibility was shit, 2 meters and less but still nice to see the old ship in the green misty waters, like a bad dream floating, it had something spooky but I felt safe – you just want to stick in the group.
We saw smaller schools of fish some nice corals although they’re pretty dead those days as of the changing climate the water temperatures are round 28 degrees Celsius and corals like it colder too. Still it was colorful down there with giant clams – like mussels the size of a flat screen tv, shining with vibrant colors bluish-yellow-greenish and closing when you approach magically, bellied vase like structures with munching fish, smaller structures of the typical coral and the fitting fish to each, some I already saw, some just introduced them to myself and I said hello to everyone, nice to meet you guys we’ll have a good time together this life 😉
Thanks Bertl & James, Shira & Aviul, Hagar, Idan, Teo, Tiagu and Abhi! The group is key and we made it happen certified Advanced Open Water divers – good times, lots of laughter and always a delicious samosa to munch on – bring it on!