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Day One advanced courses are conducted from the beach for a variety of reasons. The timings when trying to fit theory around other boat divers can be difficult.  It can be hard to find dive sites with the correct topography if you are conducting some dives and lastly, many people start their diving week with the course, so it’s nice to ease into it with a coffee and a chat.

My guest is an experienced diver with a good number of dives under his belt, in plenty of varied environments. So why the advanced course? “I’m desperate to dive the Thistlegorm” was the first answer. Well this man was more than experienced enough to do those dives, so I wondered why the sudden interest in the advanced course. Surely I would not be able to impart anything useful to someone who has been diving longer than me!! “But you’ve done more challenging dives, so why now?” The reasons come flooding out: “I’ve bought this camera and want to use it properly, and this compass confuses me. And my new suit is going to be very buoyant.”

Well, this was going to be an easy course!  Most of my dives are mapped out in front of me, what a great two days I will have, with someone who has actively hunted out the best way to deal with new kit or situations.

The dives today will be the Navigation and Peak Performance Buoyancy. The bay is ideal for these dives and we already have logistics in place (read as pre-measured ropes and floating hula hoops) to ensure these dives are thorough and fun!

So as we practice using the new shiny compass on land (towel on head not optional), I think this old dog can be taught new tricks! Underwater, we navigate with ease around the artificial reef, missing (most) of the obstacles and ending up in the right place, which is not always the case!

To start the PPB dive, our weight check reveals that the nice new suit is particularly floaty and requires an extra 4kg’s more than his last. I do explain that after a few dives the suit will become a little less buoyant, which makes my guest happy as one down side of shore entries is the requirement to walk down the beach wearing your weights.The dive itself involves moving weights around, trying different types of belt and making adjustment for either extra weight or less weight that you need. The reasons for this are easy. Ever seen a weight on the bottom and picked it up? Or has your buddy needed a weight for his safety stop? There you go… two reasons to learn this skill.

After finishing off with a particularly stunning swim though the underwater hoop, we are off for a gentle bimble to finish the day off. Anything and everything is around today and as always there is no shortage of fish to amuse yourself with, and my guest is fascinated to see so much activity in the shallows.

Sandy it may be, but barren it is not!

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