It was pretty obvious that I needed to get scuba certified, now that I was living in Phuket, Thailand. We were friends with the owner of Rumblefish Adventures, so it was easy to decide with whom I will be doing my Open Water Course. I signed up online with PADI, got the manual and DVD’s from Rumblefish Adventures and started studying!!!
It took me only a couple of days to go through the whole book and I was ready to start my OWC at the pool. Everything was pretty simple and understandable; the only tricky part was figuring out and understanding the Recreational Dive Planner (RDP) – hahaha – it took me more than a couple of tries to GET IT!!!!!!
My first dive was in the pool up on a hill in Kata (area in Phuket). I arrived at Rumblefish Adventures to help Chris, my dive instructor pack our crates with the following:
- Depth Gauge
- Tank-Pressure Gauge
- Underwater Timer
- Dive Logbook
- Oh, and Sunscreen
I was soooooo excited and couldn’t wait to get in the water.
Chris taught me all of the required skills needed like:
- Equipment Assembly and Disassembly – How to properly assemble and disassemble my equipment
- Pre-Dive Safety Check – With your buddy, check each others’ equipment to ensure that everything is in place and working properly before the dive.
- Alternate Air Source Use – Simulate being out of air by signaling to your buddy, securing their alternate air source, making contact with each other, and ascending while breathing from their alternate.
- Regulator Cleaning – Remove your regulator, put it back in your mouth, and clear it.
- Regulator Recovery – Learn two techniques that will help you recover your regulator in the event that it is knocked out of your mouth.
- Clear a Partially Flooded Mask – Partially flood your mask and clear it while remaining underwater.
- Mask Removal & Replacement – Take the last skill a little further and completely remove your mask, put it back on, and clear it.
- No Mask Breathing – This skill is normally done in combination with Mask Removal & Replacement. Learn how to comfortably breathe without your mask on.
- Free Flowing Regulator – Simulate a free flowing regulator. You’ll see how easy it is to continue breathing normally from a regulator that won’t stop flowing.
- Air Depletion – Experience the feeling of running out of air and signal that you’re out of air to your instructor.
- Standard Hand Signals – Practice all of the standard diving hand signals with your instructor.
- Disconnect Low Pressure Inflator – Simulate a stuck inflator and practice disconnecting your low pressure inflator.
- Deep Water Entry – Enter the water safely using an appropriate deep water entry. The correct entry will depend upon the conditions.
- Proper Weighting – Fine tune your weighting to achieve perfect buoyancy on every dive.
- Snorkel to Regulator Exchange – Practice exchanging your regulator for your snorkel on the surface.
- BCD Oral Inflation – Simulate a broken inflator or low air situation by practicing orally inflating your BCD.
- Cramp Removal – Learn how to remove your own cramp and the cramps of your dive buddies.
- Tired Diver Tow – Practice different techniques for helping a tired or injured diver on the surface.
- Weight Removal & Replacement – Practice removing and replacing your weight system both on the surface and underwater.
- Scuba Unit Removal & Replacement – Practice removing and replacing your scuba unit both on the surface and underwater.
- 5 Point Descent – Go through the steps for a proper 5 point descent.
- Fin Pivot – Learn how to find neutral buoyancy by moving up and down using only the air in your lungs.
- Hover – Learn how to finely regulate your buoyancy by remaining perfectly neutral in the water.
- No Mask Swim – Practice swimming without a mask. It’s not an easy skill but it’s important to learn.
- Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA) – Simulate an out of air emergency. You can’t find your buddy and have no choice but to ascend on only one breath of air. Ascend at a safe rate while constantly exhaling.
- 5 Point Ascent – Learn the proper method for ending every dive with these 5 steps.
- Skin Dive – You’ll learn to properly hyperventilate, make a vertical dive, swim underwater, and clear and breath from your snorkel upon ascent.
- Navigation – Learn how to use a compass underwater. You’ll set a heading, follow a straight line, turn around, and come back to where you started from using only your compass for guidance. You’ll practice this skill both on the surface and underwater.
Being in the water, doing all these skills, I didn’t wanna be done with it – I LOVED LOVED LOVED every second of it – Chris was awesome, not just because he was our buddy, but also because he is an EXCELLENT dive instructor!!!!!!
The next day was my BEACH DIVE (Whoooo Hwoooo) – at Kata Beach; where I had to complete the necessary skills underwater and on the surface for the course – here is a short video of my experience!!!
Sooo… then came the day where I was to dive off the boat for the first time!!!! I WAS FREAKING OUT WITH EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At 8am we drove with our scooter to the Chalong Pier where Chris was waiting with all the gear – you get taken to the boat in one of the songtaow’s (picture above), so all you take with you are your fins, masks, regulators, etc. the tanks are already on the boat.
The boat serves you a breakfast of croissants, eggs, fried rice, coffee and tea with some fruit. You get to chill for quite a bit, while we sailed to Racha Yai island, where we were going to be diving for the day.
Once Racha Yai island was in sight – Chris told me to check my gear and get dressed.
Once I was dressed, my buddy and I had to do a quick pre-dive check on each other:
1. Buoyancy Compensator
5. Final Okay
Chris taught me an easy way to remember the checklist before you Descent:
S – Signal: Signal to each other that you are about to go down.
O – Orientation: Check underwater (what’s underneath you) and on the surface (where is the beach, islands, and the boat).
R – Regulator: Take your snorkel out and put the regulator in your mouth.
T – Time: Check the time, so you will know when you should return to the surface.
E – Elevate: Elevate your power inflator to let out all the air in your BCD.
D – Descent: Go down slowly.
And to Ascent:
S – Signal: Signal to each other that you are about to go up to the surface.
T – Time: Check the time.
E – Elevate: Elevate your power inflator to fill up your BCD with air once you’ve reached the surface.
L – Look up: Look up to see that there are no boats or other divers above you.
A – Ascent: Go up slowly.
View some more photos down below of my diving experience!!!!
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