Friday, 21 September 2012

Open Water Dives 1 and 2

Today was finally the day. I am in Santorini on holiday for a week, after first stopping off in Crete for 4 days exploring the island. I researched the local dive centres before coming here and chose to dive with Navy's Waterworld as they were the most helpful and responsive to emails.

The dive centre arranged for a car to collect my boyfriend, who is PADI certified and I from our hotel. After filling in the paperwork and getting into a wetsuit and boots we were taken by car to the south of the island and then travelled by boat around the south coast past White Beach and Red Beach to two diving spots: White Caves and Caves.

The diving instructor was not at all talkative but he was a crazy driver, the boat was bouncing up and down along the waves but thankfully the waters were very calm at the sites.

The instructor helped me into my BCD and fins and then I dropped backwards into the sea and we descended for my first dive under water. I was pleased to not feel too nervous, perhaps my early days of snorkelling had something to do with this.

There isn't a great deal of aquatic life off the coast of Santorini but there were lots of small colourful fish, which I'm trying to find out the name of.

We dove to a maximum depth of 11 metres and the dive lasted 38 minutes. Visibility was great, 25 metres. For dive 1 I performed the flexible skills; cramp removal, tired diver tow and snorkel/regulator exchange.

The first dive ended earlier than planned because I started to ascend and couldn't control myself to stop and broke the surface. This was extremely frustrating and I felt that along the way either my last or this instructor should have explained at some point that if you start to ascend you should actually keep your body upright, rather than pointing down, so that you can let air out of your BCD. I was trying to do this but as my body was pointing down the air had nowhere to escape.

The second dive was much more successful. We went to a maximum depth of 11 metres again so I was able to control my buoyancy along the bottom. For the second dive the flexible skills completed were removing and replacing scuba and weights at the surface, performing a controlled emergency swimming ascent and a safety stop. There were also more dive skills that I had to complete underwater, but my boyfriend commented that the instructor rushed through these compared with his experience.

The second dive only lasted 30 minutes because my buddy was getting low on air, however I still had 120 bar remaining so I don't think my air consumption is too terrible. Despite what I thought was a lack of good communication and instruction from the instructor I thoroughly enjoyed the dives and can't wait for day 2 tomorrow!

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