As someone who studied Marine Biology at University saying that you are going to learn to scuba dive sounds like a fairly logical step…although my own dive journey has been a little stop start!
I decided before studying the underwater world that I would learn to dive in the big old blue! I completed my first confined water dives back in 2005 and then completed my open water course rather nervously in Zakynthos in the summer of 2006. Then….I like to say that life took over! I completed my studies without ever entering the underwater realm and stayed dry until earlier this year in 2017! I decided that it was time to jump or shall I say giant stride back in! I completed my reactivate course with Paul and John and was relieved that the skills hadn’t left me completely. I decided I was actually going to keep my fins wet this time and take on the next challenge of my diving journey.
On speaking with Paul and the guys at Bespoke I worked out my next step was to sign up to the Advanced Open Water Course, perfect some of the skills and actually take the plunge in UK water for the first time in November! Everyone, friends, family and colleagues thought I was a little more crazy than normal, especially given that the water is now topping out at 12oC! I read all the course materials and got excited and a little nervous all over again about taking on my next adventure. The morning of the first dive in Stoney Cove I could feel my heart pumping a little faster than usual, apprehension sinking in. Everyone at the club put my nerves at rest; they were great!
After our briefing we got all kitted up, with me donning a dry suit for the first time ever! Not the most becoming of outfits, but I was so grateful for the insulation by Sunday afternoon! After the buddy checks I got to the side of the “bus stop” (our entry point) and took my first giant stride into the “British Blue”! We descended for the first of our 5 dives of the weekend. My first UK dive challenge PPB, which stands for Peak Performance Buoyancy. They literally had us swimming through hoops! Practicing our in-water position and hovering in a various fun ways, this dispelled any of those residual nerves. The instructors had patience of saints and made the dive one I will remember forever, pointing out crayfish and roach, whilst we got familiar with being in the water.
When the dive was over I was pumped and couldn’t wait for the next one! We completed another 4 dives over the weekend including Navigation, Deep, Wreck and DSMB (Delayed Surface Marker Buoy). It was the most exciting and exhilarating weekend of the year and I finally saw some of the wildlife that I had studied at University first hand and in the UK! So now I have my Advanced Open Water Certification and I would recommend it to everyone, I had a great time, learnt some invaluable skills and feel like a far more competent and aware diver.
I can’t wait for my next adventures with the club and this time I am in for the long term!
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