Advanced PADI day 1

Well today was pretty good but I have a lot of homework to do so I won’t rattle on too much! Another early rise to get to the boat for the trip out to the Reef. Today’s course was to be part one of my Advanced certification, part two being on Sunday. By itself, this day would net me an “Adventurer” certificate but there’s no point in doing half of it!

There were three dives and this time I was with Mike, a Dutch guy now living and working here. I buddied with two people as the numbers were odd – Simon from the UK and Raisha (apologies if I spelled that incorrectly, I’ll check my log book later) from Canada. After a quick briefing, we donned our kit and made our way downstairs for the first of the dives – Deep Diving. This is the one which will allow me to dive below my current limit of 18m.

Mike took us down and we had to complete a simple number search game on a pad. Generally, it will take longer underwater than on the boat as Nitrogen Narcosis can settle in if you dive too quickly. People have been known to start doodling instead of answering the questions in the past! Once we’d done that, we separated out and did some exploration for the rest of the dive. Simon led as both Raisha and I only had 4 dives under our belts having just completed Open Water. Simon’s been diving for a year and had notched up 25 or so.

Once on the surface we were correctly informed by Mike that our buoyancy needed a lot of work. I already knew that, so it wasn’t too disheartening and one reason I’m booking 3 fun dives for tomorrow.

After some grub, we did the Boat Dive option. Essentially, we all know how to do this anyway as we’ve all been taught on boats, so it was a simple tumble into the water (rather than our usual big step, for variety) and a fun dive. Again, we let Simon lead and had a good scoot around. Poor visibility, but some wonderful sights to behold nontheless. In particular my first clear view of a shark. Only a little Reef one, maybe one metre long, but it was no more than seven metres away. Amazing!

Back on the boat, a quick zoom to another spot on the reef and we undertook our Naturalist Dive. This involved spotting a nice fish and drawing a doodle of it and making notes so we could identify it back on the surface. This dive lasted longer than the others as both us beginners were learning how to breathe a bit better so our air was lasting longer.

It’s hard to get across how great this diving lark is without showing people first hand. I know I’m being brief about each dive, but believe me it’s an amazing experience each and every time! As you stop concentrating on everything you’re wearing and begin to do things by instinct, you start to spot more and more around you and appreciate it so much more.

I’m now safely back on shore and thinking about getting a job on a boat in exchange for dives. I hear a few companies are offering so I may chase this up and stay in Cairns for a while next time I come up… which is likely to be the start of November for the Reef spawning season. 4 night dives, $290… Hmmm…

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