In the PADI Rescue Diver dvd they call it ‘Serious Fun’ when it should be more accurately titled “Seriously tiring”. It isn’t just the physical aspects of the rescue diving course that tires you out. The mental aspects of being constantly alert to danger is what takes the toll on you. But it is not all gloom and doom. The course itself is very fun. It has its moments of sheer slapstick comedy you could only find on a television sitcom.
My course was a devious plot from the start. I had been informed that my open water scenarios would be held a day later. So i was pretty much not thinking about it while enjoying my 2 fun dives. Well, that is abit of a stretch. My first fun dive left me scratched from trying to do a walrus beach assault speciality(that is a whole different story) So i was taken by surprise when someone while snorkelling suddenly shouted he had a cramp and was struggling. It didn’t strike me yet that it was a test so i responded as the training instructed. Stop Breathe Act. I didn’t jump into the water straightaway as what i would have done. I looked around the boat and found a life buoy with rope attached and swung it out. Sure after that i had to swim in and rescue a “panicked” snorkeller. The devious part was that the instructor didn’t wait for me to heal up from my scratched incident at the rocks. He cunningly used that as a stress test and threw me into the fire. It was a good thing i was pretty ready.
The fun didn’t end after that, there were 2 more scenarios thrown in before we headed back to the jetty. Heck, while at the jetty there was a YET another incident. This time in full view of spectators waiting for the next ferry. So there was panicked shouting from the stands as an added realism bonus. After a successful save there was even applause. The final scenario was held the next day. I have to say that it wasn’t as easy. The only way you can ever be 100% prepared to handle an emergency is to train for it every single day. But when scuba diving is concerned there is no such thing as 100% sure. There will be some elements to shake things up abit. I remembered what a Divemaster on the boat told me while i was preparing to go out and make a save. ” Don’t worry about doing all the right things. Doing a save half prepared is better than NOT doing a save at all”
I am glad i went through the course. It has taught me a valuable lesson in keeping my head together and not panicking. It also allowed me to see my first shark ever. Now THAT IS SERIOUS FUN!
The next PADI-OWD course starts on 5th June 09. Start booking your place now. Why is this news? well for the simple fact that if you sign up for the next course you will be ready to be certified in Tioman. Cos our next Tioman trip is right around the corner in June as well!! That’s right! exciting days await you. Sign up for your course now don’t let excitement pass you by.
How long does it take to go from a non diver to a PADI-Advanced Open Water Diver? All it takes is 5 Days. WHAT?? NO WAY!! IMPOSSIBLE? It’s true. just 5 days.
It begins with 2 days of classroom lessons and pool sessions. Then take a 3 days relaxing trip to the Andamans and completing 9 dives and getting qualified as an Advanced Open Water Diver. Sure you can take the same time do a even more relaxing holiday and get qualified as an PADI-Open Water Diver. But this is me we are talking about. We got to go the whole way or no way.
But i will tell you this, it was a beautiful experience. The classroom sessions give you a feel of what to expect. I shall be honest and say some parts of it were dry but hey all classroom lessons are generally on the dry side. The pool sessions however were good. You get to learn the basic skills in a safe and conducive environment. It puts you at ease and gets you acquainted with the equipment that you will use in the open waters. Also its the best excuse to cool yourself off in this summer heat.
PADI-Open Water Diver: The first 2 days in the island was spent getting certified as a OWD ( we use short forms from here on cos, for one thing it sounds cooler. 2ndly i can’t be bothered to type out the whole thing) The first time you are on the boat and putting on your gear, there is a fleeting moment in the back of your head which says ” am i doing the right thing?” that fleeting moment soon disappears when you roll backwards from the boat to the water and is replaced with a siren that goes ” HOLY *#*$&# what the hell is happening” But when you surface and are lazily floating, you realise this IS the life.
You begin the first couple of lessons learning to breathe normally and adjust to your surroundings. You start to feel comfortable in the water. It feels as if you are back home. You gain more confidence moving around. You start to enjoy yourself. Then it hits you. You are breathing underwater. It seems like almost 2nd nature to you. You see the corals and the fishes. This seems like the most natural thing to do. The OWD course teaches you to move underwater, performing tasks that you need to learn. Like defogging your mask (we are waiting for them to create mini internal windshield wipers) learning how to be buoyant so that you don’t crash land on top of aquatic life. You learn and enjoy yourself at the same time. It does not get better than this.
AOWD(Advanced Open Water Diver) shall be continued in my next installment. But first i shall leave you with some pictures.
Most sports are played with national pride at stake, and few others are played with a competitive streak. But there are certain sports that border on a particular way of living and are niche to adrenaline junkies. Scuba diving is one of them.
The thrill of adventure and the rush of blood while taking that first dive into the deep blue waters are fantastic catalysts for most people who love adventure. Scuba diving is popular all over the world and in India, it is now picking up pace mainly due to the efforts of Planet Scuba India. The country’s first inland scuba diving school, based out of Bangalore, is aiming at making scuba diving one of the premier leisure activities for Bangaloreans, without the hassle of travelling to the diving hot spots across the country.
Very few adventure sport in the world matches up to scuba diving in terms of fascination, and most people in the world would like to try it out, given a chance. The chance is here. The time is now.
Leisure and adventure are two faces of the same coin, when it comes to sports like scuba diving. Once underwater, the diver can experience the beauty of the marine life in near weightlessness, and that feeling is incomparable. It has become a way of living for many people across the world and Indians are taking to the sport like a fish takes to water, all puns intended.
So, give the adrenaline junkie inside you a chance to take you through an exhilarating experience. Anyone can dive at Planet Scuba India!