Advanced PADI Scuba Course

It’s a been a really really cool weekend. It’s only about 1 month to go before I go to Philippines for my big holiday. And since Philippines is well-known for being the “Dive Capital of Asia”, I’ve decided I better brush up my scuba skills before I go there. Hence, I’ve decided to continue my Scuba Water course, with Pro Dive, for the Advanced PADI Course.

Paul Greening was our instructor (pictured). I’m not sure what’s the word to describe him. Witty, joke-cracker, occasionally offensive, yet a good instructor!Advanced PADI Instructor

As it’s been a while since I dived (approx. 3 months?), I was a little nervous about this course. But it wasn’t too bad. I met Howard, Silvia and Rob. The surprise of the day was that Howard & Silvia happens to live in the same block of apartments as us! Talk about a small world! They’re an English couple (although I think Silvia is originally from somewhere in Asia). It was really cool meeting them, as we ended up talking about snow boarding, sky-diving and all sorts of adventures! Amazing!

Back to diving.. the Saturday kicked off with theory course with Paul. Luckily I’m more prepared than the last course I attended, so I’ve already spent a good amount of time reading the theory. Once it’s all over.. it’s time for some real diving!

The cool thing about Pro Dive is that they have their own boat “Sea Life V”. We were picked up by the boat at Manly, to be greeted by a whole group of other adventure divers. This weekend happens to also be “Sydney Harbour Week”, so there are more divers than usual. To be honest, I have no idea where I dived exactly. All I know I was somewhere in the harbour, diving at Flagstaff, Clifton Gardens & Shelly Beach. As usual, visibility is not that great in Sydney water. Can’t wait to see what the tropical waters in Philippines is like. The disaster of the day was at Clifton Gardens where the visibility is literally half a meter! Rob and I are trying to complete the navigation module, and I have to admit.. we failed miserably! Don’t trust us with directions, that’s for sure!

At night, we even get to do a night dive at Shelley Beach. The water is quite calm, and I had my brand new cheap underwater torch. It’s not a particular deep dive, but the experience was very cool. It wasn’t as scary as I thouht it would be. The drama came when I lost Rob underwater. Paul, my instructor, noticed it and asked me where he is (with a hand signal). Of course I turned around, and he wasn’t there. I knew he had some buoyancy issue, as he kept on trying to stay underwater. We surfaced to look for him, with no luck. Paul asked one of the training master diver to look for him, and we continued the dive. At the end of the dive, it turns out, Rob accidentally followed another set of flippers (which was similar to mine), and ended up with the wrong group. Glad to know he didn’t disappear!

The real excitement comes the 2nd day (on Sunday), when we get ready for the ‘Deep Dive’ module. This is what I did this course for, which allows me to dive down to 40m. I was definitely a bit nervous thinking about how much deeper I am going this time, considering I just lost Rob last night. We headed out to “The Blocks”, where apparently we can get down to 30m. The water was choppy, and my heart rate was definitely higher than normal. Anyway, off we went into the water, and slowly descended down the achor line of Sea Life V. Once we are half way down, the first thing we noticed was the water suddenly went cold! This definitely reminded me of the ‘Thermaline’ the course talked about. Further down, the water appears much calmer. By then, I’ve relaxed, and the environment seems to have gone very ‘serene’! Strangely, it seems to be missing of any sea life. I don’t recall seeing any fish at all!

The scare of the day happened, when Silvia’s air tank decided to come lose, and hanged semi-floating behind her back. I was the first to have noticed it, and kept pointing it out to Paul about it. Luckily it was purely just the straps coming loose, and Paul fixed it. Another scare came soon after, when another diver from another group swam over to Paul, and asked for air as she appeared to be very low on air! Paul helped her out with the spare regulator, and we had to end our dive a bit sooner and started ascending. It turns out, she was struggling to stay underwarter, and used a lot of air trying to stay down! Gosh! Dramas!!

The last dive was a ‘Naturalist’ dive at Old Man’s Hat, where I encountered a heap more fishes than any prevous dives. The most impressive was a huge cuttlefish which was hovering under rocks. Even managed to spot a Wobiggong shark resting on a rock bed. Plenty of other fishes, which I have no idea what they are!

Overall, I must say this diving experience is even better than my last course with Abyss. Everyone was now talking about continuing their diving courses, like Deep/Wreck Diving, and Howard even suggested going Snow-boarding together! Certainly a fun-filled weekend which I will remember for a while. Now.. Philippines here I come!!!

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