You join me today on day two of an Open Water Course that is going swimmingly (sorry!). After a flying start, it’s time to start building on the basics I introduced yesterday and hopefully manage an Open Water dive to keep enthusiasm levels up.
Courses are, of course, taught different ways to different students dependant on many factors – timing, logistics, whether someone is cold or even to work around pre-booked trips and excursions.
Where possible, I always try to get an Open Water dive in most days during a course so that the student can have a chance to swim with the fish and gain some appreciation of what they will be able to do once the theory and skills are out of the way. This is especially important when you only have one student, as they can feel pressurised, being the sole focus of the instructor and the only one doing what seems like skill followed by skill followed by skill.
So today we are starting off with an Open Water dive, as yesterday we covered theory and skills only (with a swim test thrown in for variety). We also had a trip to the hyperbaric doctor, just to check out some medication he was on, meaning our day had to be changed around somewhat.
After a successful and mostly unaided kit assembly, and a thorough briefing, we hit the water. A weight check is important, as even a day later, students are often more relaxed, breathing more normally and therefore dropping a kilo or two is not unusual. This is the case with my student, and one kilo lighter, we descend. The water is crystal clear at this hour of the morning, and there are very few snorkelers, so we should have the house reef to ourselves.Crystal clear open space – ideal for students!
The gentle slope of the bay means that a student instantly feels like they are diving without the instant need to equalise in a short space of time that you experience with a boat dive that requires a reasonable depth is achieved before the dive can begin (you really don’t want students swimming around at 1m when there is boat traffic overhead). Here, students have plenty of time to equalise, while watching the fish, and this in itself often results in less ear troubles as the pressure is off (so to speak!).
My student is, now how do I say this…. bouncing around! Up, down, up, down. Despite my best hand signals, the concept of using the inflate and deflate sparingly has gone unnoticed. And he’s up, oh and down again! Time for a quick surface chat….And it is just that, a chat, as I believe the best way to learn is to make mistakes and I am lenient on students in the beginning for that reason.The swim back to shore is much better and I sigh with relief.
The skills and theory I introduce in the afternoon are done with a flurry of excitement (yep, even the mask skills) as the memories of the experience this morning, a ‘proper dive’, provide the motivation to carry on as quickly as possible, the lure of another dive calling him!