Growing in popularity, as with all things ‘technology’, is the option of completing courses via E-Learning. For an Open Water Course, you study the academics on-line at home, completing the knowledge reviews and even the exam before your arrival in resort. This not only means that you don’t have to spend some of your holiday in a classroom (as nice as they are!) but also your course can now be shortened to 3 days, leaving you more time to enjoy your holiday – whether that means an extra day on the beach or, what normally happens, another days diving!

So my students today have brought along the paperwork that confirms they have indeed completed everything, and by the look of the scores, which I can see on the paperwork, completed it easily. It all bodes well. The only academic part left is a quick review to check that the information has been retained by the students.That done, its straight into waterwork. And you’d be surprised how much you can get done with no classroom stuff getting in the way!

Although I’ve not actually seen the lay-out of the E-learning on-line, it must be very intuitive and well explained, as since we began offering this course, I’ve not had a bad student yet. They are fully aware of the skills they are expected to do, and often seem more prepared and fluid with the skills in the water than students who have literally just turned the video off! Strange, but very true.

So after doing skills for most of the day, I decide that we should break it up a little and do a nice open water dive, to keep enthusiasm levels up.  After lunch has settled, we get kitted up and head to the beach.The sea is flat calm, as is often the case in the afternoon, and I’m looking forward to introducing two more people to the underwater world.  We descend a couple of metres and all is looking good. As we swim out further, I suddenly notice a change in one of the students.” It’s all in the eyes” is a very valid saying at this point, as my student stares at me, then at the surface … and heads upwards.

So near, yet so far (away!)

Bringing the partner up with me, and thanking my lucky stars its calm today, we have a chat about the sudden uneasiness.  It turns out, much to my surprise, that the visibility is a problem.  In our medical questionnaire, we ask about what is referred to as ‘psychological problems’ (including fear of closed or open spaces), the former happens quite regularly to a degree but we don’t place too much emphasis on the latter. Very rarely we come across this problem, and today is one of those days.  It turns out that the seemingly endless underwater landscape can actually cause some people to feel uncomfortable, due to lack of reference and boundaries.  Strange but true.

After a bit of soul searching, and me suggesting that at least with viz this good nothing can sneak up on you, we complete the dive with no further problems.

With a fear like this, a good talking to yourself and a sense of humour are sometimes all you need. I’m pretty sure the rest of the course will go with no hiccups.

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