1 Dec 2008 - PADI Open Water Diver

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Tue 2 Dec 2008 18:39
I went to the service centre to take them the invoice to prove the
warranty for the computer. It took 3 taxi drivers and nobody knew where
it was, even though I had the address; eventually one decided he would try
and find it. It cost me $14 and I walked back, I think it was about 2.5
miles. This is cruise liner country and I think the passengers never walk
There is a new ship in each day, sometimes 2. The town is all souvenirs,
fast food outlets and jewellers - odd to see an expensive diamond merchant
with an ice cream parlour over the top.
It is Thanksgiving in the USA and they are on a 4 day holiday, so the new
mother board is not going to be ordered until Monday.
I went through the problems I had been having with the new micro computer
and left them with Randy to follow up. Then it was back to town to meet
up with the gang.
The gang is sadly depleted, Bluewater Cat are leaving in the morning, back
to Curacao and then on to Puerto Rico, that will just leave me and Passat.
There are a few boats that arrive in the anchorage, but they only stay a
day or two.

I walked with Passat to check on the computer. The little one runs on
Linux and it is limited to what will run on it, but Randy did manage to
get Skype on, I can do e-mail, with its own version of outlook and that is
really probably all I can expect, but I have to keep in mind that that is
what I bought it for.

8am the minibus picked me up at the Renaissance Hotel lobby and we set
off, today I start my PADI Open Water Dive course. I had collected the
book and ploughed through the first 2 sections out of the 5; I thought
that would be a good start as we have classroom lectures and videos to do.
The plan changed. There was just me and the instructor, Anim a Spanish
girl, and we went straight to the swimming pool. It is at one of the big
hotels and the hotel guests use it at the same timel. It was a bit of a
shock the first time I got hit on the head with a ball, but I was not
expecting it. The pool is 4' deep and I found it difficult to get any real
sense of anything in water even I could stand up in. Tip toes in
flippers is not very relaxing. I did all 5 confined water dives in one go
and this went way beyond what I had read and although I got it right I did
not have any concrete understanding of what I had actually done. I am
very much a believer in 'it does what it says on the tin' and we were
opening tins before I had time to read the label of what was in it.
After a short lunch break we went to the classroom. I had done the
questions at the end of sections 1 and 2 and had those marked and I then
did the sections at the end of 3 and 4, with a few pointers, but without
reading the book. I did the tests on these sections and passed. I
watched section 1 of the video and then it was off to the first open water
We went down to the Perdenales wreck, about 25' for 40 minutes.
By the time I got back to the boat I had had enough. I don't hate
anything, as that is a waste of emotion, but I got pretty close as I
felt way outside my comfort zone. I was near to tears and for 2 pins I
would not have gone back, but then I would have been disappointed with

We had covered so much yesterday I could have the morning off, but I
wanted to watch the video. Today Jerry took me through the rest of the
video and the tests. I also sat the final exam. I wanted more time, but
if I failed we could just tear it up, so I tried it. I got 100%, which
made me feel better.
I thought I had finished in the pool, but I had to swim 200 metres, so I
opted for 300 metres with fins. The guests were playing volley ball while
I swam up and down. Then I had to tread water or float for 10 minutes.
I finished by noon and had a break until the dive at 3.30 - and I needed
all that time to get myself together.
We dived again to the Pedernales. This dive was the first of my skills
tests and I had Shelley for those and Tom as a Buddy diver, who I had to
push for 25 yards and he was a big guy. I passed, but I have to slow down
and relax - I think I am supposed to be enjoying this. We did see an
octopus, just the beak sticking out of a hole, evidently that is
impressive as it is difficult to spot. Jerry said I could ask for more
time in the pool if I wanted it, perhaps my 'NO' response was a little too
quick and too definite. It was too late to undo yesterday, I just wanted
to do the open water dives and get through it. End of day 2 and I felt
better than yesterday; like that would be difficult.
I got back to the dinghy dock and there was a boy with his father and he
actually laughed at my dingy - well at least I have got a dinghy. My
dinghy has done very well and the motor has played along, it is quite a
long way to the dock from the anchorage, because you have to leave a big
space for the cruise liners to get out. The Renaissance Hotel has a
private island and has motor boats to ferry its customers to and fro.
This is the reason the boats go through the tunnel to the shopping mall,
that is below the hotel. These boats had been going very fast and very
close to the anchored boats and I was going to have a word with the marina
to see if they could have a word to slow them down. Perhaps someone else
did, because at the end of the week they were certainly behaving more
reasonably. I was going in and a boat was going to anihilate me if it had
continued as it was going. The driver throttled back to neutral and took
his hands off the wheel to show me he was being nice. The guests still
laughed at my dinghy, but I am used to that. I have had whole tripper
catamarans full of people laugh and shout at me while I am rowing, so I
can handle it and now most of the time I use the engine. (Wo)man and
machine working together.

Today I had a two tank dive, but actually they meant two dives with one
tank each time. Today I had Steve as an instructor and Tom again as a
buddy. We went to a different wreck, 60', and did more skills. The boat
had problems when one of its engines overheated just as we were about to
pick up the mooring. The dive went well, even the emergency ascent -
which is straight up on one breath of air without the regulator. I did
the 50 yards at the surface with a compass no problem.
Then it was off to the Antillian wreck, 54'. Here I had to do 100 feet
with the compass underwater - I had not practiced this in the pool and we
skipped this bit of the video. It was assumed that I knew how to navigate
with a compass. I can cross the Altantic and find Barbados, but I could
not do 100' and return underwater and ended up at the surface, so I had to
do it again. After we had completed all the skills we went for the
pleasant part of the dive. I saw a large turtle and two of the biggest
parrot fish I had ever seen, I never knew they could grow that big. The
boat hit the dock when we got back. I could swap them dive lessons for
boat lessons.
We did the paperwork and I am now a PADI Open Water Diver. This means I
can have a tank so that I can clean the bottom of the boat and get ropes
out of the prop. I can also dive, but for the moment I have had enough of
the water.
Passat brought their boat up, about 5 miles, to pick me up, which was
nice. We went for a celebratory drink - they drank, I had a choclolate
brownie and ice cream. The two guys behind the bar entertained us with
bar tricks and were surprised when we did so well. Perhaps we are
exceptionally intelligent, or perhaps all their other customers have
alcohol impaired judgement.
So that is why the blog is late, as I wanted to finish the course and also
I could not get to internet as I was a bit busy.
I have got through the information overload and stripped it down to the
basics that I need to use and I am confident that I can do this diving,
but I am very pleased that it is completed.
f I can have a tank to clean the bottom of the boat does this mean I don't
need to antifoul it any more, can I just polish it?