My day began with a stroke of horrible luck for Hannah, but great luck for me. The full moon is looming, which means the tides are on our side, and as a result, the visibility has never been clearer.
Ross led a wonderful dive around White Rock, a dive site we visit most days, but it felt like discovering a whole new world this time due to all that we could see. While Kristine and I were ogling a blind white eyed moray eel swimming around the coral, poor Hannah was feeling rather unwell and pushing the limits of her one way regulator system (anything ‘foreign’ expelled into it gets pushed out so that you can breathe, thank goodness). When we returned to deck it was decided that she couldn’t assist her course in the afternoon, so a spot opened up for me.
A day previous, instructor Dennis finished off an Open Water course for a lovely girl called Jess, from Scotland. Before flying off to travel Australia for six months on her gap year, she wanted to complete her Advanced Open Water Diver course, too. This consists of five adventure dives, where you get the chance to explore more exciting and challenging dive sites.
Hopping straight back onto the afternoon boat, we started with Peak Performance Buoyancy at Japanese Gardens. The coral is beautiful there, but it’s rather shallow and there’s not a huge amount of fish to be seen. Dennis very kindly let me demonstrate the buoyancy skills, which included hovering vertically, horizontally and upside down, only using your lungs to keep you neutrally buoyant in the water. We then whipped off our fins, had a race in the sand and practised our somersaults.
Our next stop was Twins, home to two large pinnacles with a sandy patch in the middle. Highly ironically, I, with a complete lack of sense of direction, was trusted to teach Jess how to use her compass for the navigation portion of the course. It didn’t go terribly wrong! Under Dennis’ watchful eye we were filmed for a Simple Life promo and she grasped the skills super quickly, totally mastering each task underwater. We were even trailed by a triggerfish doing our squares and kick cycles, and she still managed to find the boat. I was suitably impressed!
After inhaling a chicken massaman curry with rice back at the dive shop, we were ushered back on the long tail for a night dive. Desa kindly lent me her torch, and much to Dennis’ surprise I confessed that this, too, was my first night dive. He taught us the changes in hand signals underwater – instead of the standard okay sign with thumb and forefinger, you make a circle of light with your torch.
It was an unbelievable experience diving at Three Rocks in the pitch black. You don’t know what’s coming around each corner – sometimes it was a big rock, other times a pufferfish, and we even followed a nocturnal blue spotted ray for a while. Needless to say, after triple boating and six dives in one day, I slept very well that night.
The morning brought the last two dives for Jess. A deep dive at the beautiful pinnacle at Chumphon, and an exploratory wreck dive to follow. It was so great to experience the Advanced course all over again, made even more special by the opportunity to play instructor (in a teeny tiny way). It has, without a doubt, made me even more excited to complete my IDC one day.
Unfortunately for me, on the last dive I went past my NDL (no decompression limit) and didn’t understand that my watch was telling me to do a seven minute safety stop. Should have read the manual. It’s a bit mad at me and has locked me out, so that means no diving for 24 hours.
Anyone for a well deserved passion fruit daiquiri at Fizz? I don’t mind if I do!