FISH! – An Open Water Journey
So my journey continues, and for me (and my PADI Pro’s), this story is best represented by one word – FISH! – All will become apparent later……….
This course started for me with confined open water sessions in a swimming pool, to say I was nervous was an understatement. However, having read module 1 in the PADI Open Water manual, completed the knowledge review at the end of the chapter and watched the video that goes with the course, I had a good insight in what to expect.
Prior to getting in the pool, any questions I had (there were a lot) were answered by my instructor and we also went through the knowledge reviews from the manual to make sure I understood everything. Each chapter also has a quiz to complete, this way my instructor knew I could repeat the theory, and I really did understand it.
Before we got in the pool, there was a thorough dive briefing from my instructor of what skills we would be doing.
Patience was always going to be key for me to progress at a pace that I felt comfortable with.
Every skill was repeated until both my instructor was happy and I felt confident enough to know I could repeat the skill in open water.
One of the skills from this dive was the scary partial mask flood, this scared me, as I am a contact lens wearer. However, I was assured that I could do mask skills with my eyes shut and when I had completed this, I received a gentle tap on the arm – All was good – I could open my eyes – Phew!
There were five pool modules to complete, and all followed a similar pattern. There was an exam to do at the end but the questions were very similar to the quizzes I mentioned earlier.
Pool sessions completed – Theory Completed – I was then ready for my qualifying dives at Stoney Cove in Leicester.
We arrived at Stoney on a sunny July day. Paperwork and rosters completed, I assembled my kit under my instructor’s watchful eye, I got into the wet suit I would be using and I was ready to achieve – in my head – but my heart was pounding.
After a full briefing, it was 1-2-3 – Giant stride – I was in a UK lake, I had done it! I caught my breath and started the first skill my instructor had told me about – a buoyancy check at the surface. We had done this skill many times before in the pool, and I completed this with my instructor and safety diver at my side, giving me the encouragement I needed at every step.
Some of the skills as I went through the dives were more difficult for me in open water, and this wasn’t helped by getting easily distracted by seeing fish close up – I hadn’t expected this, still trying to cope with not being able to speak underwater, my wide eyes and insistent pointing indicated “FISH!” to both my instructor and accompanying safety diver.
Over 2 days, we completed the four dives and all of the skills of the Open Water course. I was exhausted as this was difficult for me personally.
I am exceptionally proud to have completed this course, and am now “Scuba Jan” PADI Open Water Diver.
Why was I so pleased with myself and why was this such a great achievement for me? I really don’t like getting wet and I don’t like water over my head, but....the next step for me now... blue seas on a family holiday and... more fish – exciting times!!