Advanced day one today and my guests are already awaiting my arrival when i get to work, giving me little time to settle myself (ie have a coffee). Staying in Naama Bay means they only had a short walk into the centre and they misjudged how close to us they were, hence the early appearance. However, it turns out they had to skip morning coffee as well, so the mention of Starbucks is a welcome suggestion, and off they pop to get their morning nectar! This gives me a chance to sort myself out (drink said coffee) and prepare their paperwork.

Refreshed faces greet me on their return, and we start planning what dives they would like to cover during their Advanced course. With so many to choose from, when there is more than one person, there is normally a disagreement of some sort. One might fancy Boat Dive, while one wants Drift Dive, photography versus Fish Identification. With Deep and Navigation being compulsory dives, at least its only three dive choices to fall out over! Luckily, having experience of this over the years means that I know that certain dives can cover multiple Adventure Dives. Boat and Drift, Fish ID and Naturalist, the list goes on. That’s a problem for tomorrow anyway, as today we are making use of the bay and its topography to do Navigation and Peak Performance Buoyancy.

The two friends that I’m teaching today rarely see each other at home, due to one living the other side of the country to the other, but they always make time to go on holiday together once a year. A few years ago they took up diving together, and were both bitten by the bug.  Now they feel ready to gain their Advanced Open Water certification, of course, together.

PPB goes without a hitch and all too soon they are practicing navigation techniques round the rinse tank, the theory is that if you can do it on land, then the skills should be transferable underwater. Any instructor will tell you this is not necessarily the case. I have lost count of the amount of times a student has completed a perfect square on the surface, but once underwater has become a blank looking diver who appears to have no idea he is holding a compass, never mind what he is supposed to do with it!  In anticipation of this fact, and having been caught out once too often, I always take an extra blank slate and sharp pencil with me on a Navigation dive. Why? Although the adventures in Diving slate has all the pre-printed instructions on it for student guidance and record, sometimes things need ‘rephrasing’ shall we say.  I’ve often forgotten to clean my slate after a dive and re-read some of the comments later on, and it always cheers my day up. ’No, your other left’, ‘no, not a triangle’ and ‘you have a compass on for a reason…to use!’ are amoung my favourites.

Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a good mantra for this dive, and is one I repeat as we descend. The dive goes without a hitch, fin cycles, distance measuring, reciprocal headings (Cue writing on slate ‘out and back’) and squares. It’s all done well and I’m left very happy. The last thing to do is navigate back to the shore using natural navigation. Light, sand formation, seaweed and water movement contain all the clues they need for this and, as I now expected, they were standing up in the shallows before I knew it.

I had to tell them what an awesome job they’d done, and then they revealed their secret. It turns out the Girl Guides weren’t all about cooking!