Qualified Rescue Diver

This was the final day of my EFR and Rescue Diver course, and the second involving hands-on training and exercises. My instructor today was Ice, a local guy who speaks English, Malay and Cantonese. Along with us was Elsa, a girl from Hong Kong who was to play my victim/patient for all the hard work. I’m very glad they picked someone small and slim, making the exercises a lot easier than they would have been with Ross! No offence, Ross – Elsa’s also a lot prettier! 🙂

The venue was Sangamata, a small “floating” hotel resort only a short boat ride from the mainland. It’s also a fish farm with many cool species kept in netting before either being used for food or released into the wild. There’s a natural reef around it as it’s essentially a small island. Like many “floating” places, Sangamata’s actually on stilts embedded into the bedrock beneath.

We covered a lot of work from locating a lost buddy to bringing her to the surface safely. Once there, checking for breathing and performing rescue breaths while towing to the nearest shore/boat while continuing breathing and removing equipment if necessary. A few techniques for removing a victim from the water were shown to me as well. Trying these things out for real is a lot more work than watching the training DVD and reading the manuals!

The dives were also fun around all the exercises, but I had some problems with my camera housing fogging up. I think I got it sorted by the last dive – important as I had three dives at Sipidan booked for the next day and I really wanted to get some good snaps there.

On the boat on the way back, Ice said simply “Congratulations – you’re the newest Rescue Diver in Malaysia!” and shook my hand. Cool – another qualification and step towards Dive Master should I decide to go that route (which is tempting).

Back at the dive shop I bumped into John and Mel again. They’d not expected to stay here so long and I thought they’d have left as well, but they opted to enjoy some more diving and ended up with Sipidan Scuba as Scuba Junkies were fully booked. We had a few beers and pizza in Scuba Junkies to celebrate and had a great conversation with another English couple, a Canadian guy and another English lass (Helen).

Beers safely stowed in my belly, I walked a Danish girl back to her flat (I’m nice like that) and then trudged back to my own place for a decent kip. I was really looking forward to Sipadan – I’ve heard so much about it!

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