After my Advanced course I dived happily without taking any more courses for about fifty dives and five years.
My brother, dad and I dived once more off Portland, Dorset, doing amazing drift dives as well as the lovely wreck the Countess of Erne.
Sitting at around sixteen meters it’s the wreck of a paddle steamer which sunk in the 1930’s, and is particularly beautiful because it has plenty of life.
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Looking back at my dive logs from that time I have noted that on that dive I almost lost my weight-belt more than once. And that my brother continually picked up crabs and thrust them in front of my face to scare me. Boys!
Diving and caves
Another dive which sticks in my mind for contrasting reasons was ‘The Cathedral’ in Crete.
After a bit of a rocky RIB ride we rolled into the water and I immediately threw up, which wasn’t a good start but would soon be made up for by the beauty of the rest of the dive. We descended next to a cliff, and at around 10 meters a large entrance to a huge cave was in front of us. We finned in and looked up where the sunlight entered the top of the cave and made amazing shimmering patterns all the way though the water.
The dive guide signaled to us if we wanted to go through a smaller entrance to explore more of the cave. The dark hole did not appeal to me as I’m a bit claustrophobic, so I signaled No to the guide and my brother and dad.
We explored more of the larger cavern and had a great dive! As an instructor I know that sometimes people are nervous and need a bit of encouragement and patience to overcome their worries. But if someone is scared or thinks a dive is past their limits it’s a no straight away – there’s always other dive sites!
One of my favorite dives was diving the Bianca C wreck in Greneda on my 15th birthday buddied with my dad.
The dive guide had briefed us that there was a fairly strong current under the boat so we would need to do a negative entry (BCD deflated, back-roll in and dive straight down) so I rolled in and finned down, following the Dive Master closely.
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My dad told me afterwards that he had rolled in, looked around for me and found that I had vanished, only to look down and spot my yellow fins disappearing below him! It was a great dive although we didn’t have long on the wreck, but ascended slowly spending some time on Rainbow Reef.
Rescue course in Malta
My PADI rescue diver course was completely unplanned – I was on a non-diving holiday in Malta with a now ex-boyfriend and his friends, who I discovered were pretty terrible to hang out with.
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So I reverted to type, following my diver instinct to track down a dive center and signed up for my Rescue Course which promised me at least a few days indulgence. It was just me on the course with the instructor, and we went through the EFR course and then the Rescue.
It has stuck with me that the Rescue course should be challenging and difficult for students – when I teach it I always repeat the key skills several times so it becomes automatic and easy to remember.
The course was really rewarding and culminated with me rescuing this guy from being unconscious underwater. Giving him pretend rescue breaths whilst removing his and my equipment all whilst towing him towards shore, and finally having to drag him up several large rocks.
Let’s just remember that I’m 5’3 and he was 6’5! Luckily for me the rescue seemed so real that a Maltese fisherman got involved, running over to help me drag him to safety!
Now when I teach the Rescue course I make sure it’s a challenge for every student and will stick firmly in their minds – if they ever have to repeat the skills again it should come automatically but I hope that they will never need to!
Do you remember your rescue course? Tell us how challenging your rescue course was? Leave a comment below!