Last weekend, I was in Anilao with several friends for one reason, and one reason only.
To (finally!) get my Advanced Open Water Diver certification!
It was a beautiful weekend for diving, the sea was calm. The current mild. The weather cooperative.
First day, first dive: This was a navigation dive. Using a compass, we should be able to navigate back to our starting point using a left turn square, a right turn square and an equilateral triangle. I enjoyed it actually! It was pretty cool to navigate, but of course, I knew where I was the whole time (in relation to the shore). It would be another matter entirely if you have no bearings at all.
Second dive was the deep dive, the purpose of which is for us to experience “narcosis” in a controlled situation. According to wikipedia, “narcosis while diving is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while diving at depth. It is caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure.” In layman’s terms, it’s a weird, lightheaded feeling one might get while diving in very deep levels. Some people might get a little kooky, some will be too mellow to react. The key to negating narcosis is knowing that you’re experiencing it, and ascending a few feet/meters.
In our case, I might have experienced a slight case of narcosis since I got the last one of my problems incorrect. But seriously, what sicko would make you solve 3×2 multiplication problems at 100ft??
The third and last dive of the day was the night dive. I have to admit I was a teensy bit nervous when they said that we will turn off the lights underwater. But it was truly awesome! Turning off the lights let us the see the bioluminescence of the planktons in the area. Imagine fireflies in a dark, dark night except you were underwater. It was surreal.
The following day, we still had two more dives to complete: the wreck dive and the nitrox dives. And off we went.
I had a problem descending during the wreck dive because my left ear wouldn’t equalize. It was really, really painful. I kept ascending a few feet then trying to descend again but still no “pop” in my ear. Thankfully, after a few more instances of trying, I was finally able to equalize and descend.
Daryl Laut is the wreckage of what was once a floating hotel/casino back in the 1980′s that sank when it was struck by lightning. Now only its framework remains. My ears wouldn’t let me penetrate the wreck but some of our companions were able to.
The last dive for our certification was the nitrox dive. Using nitrox allows the diver to descend deeper and for some, it’s a better experience overall. It also utilizes a different dive table though modern dive computers have a setting for nitrox already. PADI also offers an enriched air diver certification for those who want to dive using nitrox on a regular basis.
Kirby’s rock was the site for our last dive and really it’s a fantastic one. A plethora of corals, critters and marine creatures can be found within its depths.
This certification was several years in the making for me. I was certified as an open water diver on Jan 2008. I was supposed to do my advanced certification last year but I found out I was pregnant, so this year it was! Just in time for our trip to Malapascua this weekend (to be featured in a future post).