Today I passed my PADI Open Water certification which means I can dive anywhere in the world, up to 18m deep, without an instructor. I am sorely tempted to buy all the kit I need to make this a permanent hobby as it is much cheaper in Cairns than just about anywhere else, plus I can claim the tax back when I leave the country. However, lugging it around when I’m not using it is just not an option right now. Grr.

Again I’d like to thank the staff at Down Under Dive, especially Heath, Mitz and Celeste, for making the course so much fun and therefore so easy to learn. Incidentally, I aced the exam – 50/50 🙂

We’ve all seen what it’s like underwater on TV. Well, that’s nothing compared to being there. It’s like reading a Lonely Planet and assuming that going to the place will be just as good. If you’re physically able, try it. Especially somewhere with a better climate than the UK if you want to see the brighter fishies! It’s a relatively inexpensive hobby, especially if you do buy your own kit as most decent stuff will last you 15-20 years with good care.

I met a great bunch of people on the course as well and I’m tempted to do the Adventure or Advanced course shortly.

Aside from that, I had two nice nights out recently. The former was a pub crawl organised by an agency in town. Supposed to be $15, but Kerry scored two tickets for nothing. Free dinner, free pizza when we got the munchies later on and free entry to some decent pubs and a not-so-decent club. Very 18-30, but who cares? It was a good laugh and I even got a free souvenir photo of our group from Saturday night.

Unfortunately, this meant I’d had 4 hours’ sleep before my first open sea dive. Whoops. And I get seasick. Whoopser. Still, I managed it well enough to pass that day’s course!

Sunday night was more sedate. A walk to a restaurant a few minutes away to try their Aussie Game dish. A sampling of emu, croc and kangaroo. Croc was the best – much better than the alligator I had back home. ‘Roo tastes very much like steak. Emu was weird. Nice, but strange. Spicy, almost. After that, a quick walk round the night market, an ice-cream from Baskin Robbins and an early night as I’d spent far too much of Sunday not enjoying myself.

I also caught two films over the weekend: Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed, both of which I’d recommend.

I have updated the Fotopic archive with a gallery of larger-scale photos from the dive. There are also a few videos we managed to take underwater which I’d love to post. However, the broadband here’s not brilliant so I’ll get them online as and when I have a reliable connection. Posted by Picasa

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