Advanced Open Water Diver
Happy Divers – Estepona Spain April 2003
Advanced Open Water Diver. It wasn’t until the following April that we had the opportunity to dive again. Before we left for Spain we looked around the web to see which centres were near to where we were staying and found Happy Divers.
We turned up there with two children to do their Open Waters and one for his referral; we only intended to do some diving and had no intention of signing up for a course. However we were convinced that doing our AOW would be beneficial to both our children and us and would give more purpose to our diving that holiday.
So we decided which specialities we would do in addition to the Deep & Navigation dives; we decided on the Drift, Fish Aware and Peak Performance Buoyancy. Yet another holiday with the evenings spent learning and revising, why do we put ourselves through this!
The dives themselves were all different:
Navigation – we learnt to use the compass and different dive patterns; this would hold us in good stead for our future diving. We both managed this without too much trouble.
Drift – well this was certainly different; we drifted in a leisurely current but with gradually reducing visibility, which went to zero! We ended up linking arms to ensure we all got back to shore safely. Whilst neither of us really enjoyed this dive we certainly learnt a lot.
Fish Aware – this was more like find the fish as the visibility was not too good, but we managed.
Peak Performance Buoyancy – another very useful part to do, we learnt more about diving on this dive than most others. We both always recommend people to do this as part of their AOW or as a stand-alone speciality.
Deep – we were told that we would be going out in the rib for about 10-15 minutes to the dive site. We headed out to sea and 35-40 minutes later with no sign of land at all we stopped and dropped the anchor. We were both quite nervous and could not believe where we were or where we were going. We kitted up and dropped into the water, straight down the anchor line to 20m or so to the top of the reef. When we arrived we both settled down and enjoyed the dive; this was down to about 29m to the edge of the reef. There was a drop off going straight down; where the bottom was who knows. There was a small shoal of barracuda circling off the reef, which was very nice to see and a first for us. On the boat on the way back we relaxed a bit but were both better when we reached Terra Firma!
Now 5 dives later we were Advanced Open Water Divers with three of our Children Open Water qualified.
During the summer we were diving in Mallorca and thought that with our children now diving we needed to be able to look after not just ourselves but them as well if there was a problem. With that in mind we decided to do our Rescue Diver course; we looked around at where we might like to do this and thought why not the Red Sea!
More time spent looking on the web to find out what was available for when we were available to do it. We convinced the children that we needed to do this course and there would be other opportunities for them to go to the Red Sea, and any way we couldn’t afford for us all to go.