My alarm woke me at 7:30 AM. Got dressed, had breakfast and walked around 2 corners right into the Cairns Dive Centre at 8:30. When I had handed in my voucher and paid the reef tax ($20 per day) I went into the next room where I had to work through some papers. Then I had to give my credit card details as a deposit for my diving book. The diving school is working with SSI and I have booked a 5 day course to become a certified Open Water Diver.
The first 2 days are pool+theory, then I will have 3 days / 2 nights onboard a ship cruising the Great Barrier Reef, doing 9 or 10 logged dives in total 😀
From the CDC we were brought on a shuttle bus to another location where they have the classroom, pool and equipment. We watched videos that covered 2/5 chapters in our book and were explained the equipment and the most important rules:
- keep breathing! never hold your breath! it can lead to serious lung injury.
- never ascent faster than 9 meters per minute. it can lead to serious injuries and even death.
These rules are the same like looking right and left before crossing the street: easy, but essential.
In the lunch break we all had to pass a dive medical. Our medical conditions were asked, our lung volume and our balance tested and our ability for equalizing pressure on the ears tested. When that was done we had some lunch before we got our equipment. We learned how to assemble the different pieces of equipment and how to check them.
And then we had to pass a swim test! 😀 6 rounds on the outer side of the pool, then treading water for 10 minutes. To make the time go by faster, our instructor had us introduce ourselves to the group. When we all had passed, we learned how to snorkel with fins and mask. Easy, nothing new so far. I learned snorkeling as a kid on our yacht in Greece.
Finally we were instructed to put on the wetsuits and the diving gear. We went back into the water, and after some sorrow introduction we just kneeled below the surface and got used to breathing under water.
It was an amazing experience! And I found it much easier than expected. I didn’t know the mouth pieces would behave just like a snorkel. I assumed you’d have to bite on a lever or so to have the air go into your mouth. It was a piece of cake for me. At first we went below water without our masks and we had to keep our eyes shut because the pool was full of chlorine. That way we learned that we don’t need the mask to be able to breath under water. Just don’t use your nose! Keep breathing through your mouth and you’re fine. Easy as that!
The most important thing is to stay calm. Never shoot up to the surface in a rush, the sudden pressure decrease might kill you or at least damage your body persistently. In the pool where we were merely 10 cm below the surface there was no danger. But once you dive down 10 meters or so this rule becomes essential.
We learned a few more skills, like retrieving the mouth piece once we lost it for whatever reason and to clear the mask from water (without going to the surface) if it was filled with water for whatever reason.
Around 5PM I was dropped back home at Gilligan’s. I went to the Woolworths nearby to shop for some groceries, then started blogging. Sometime in between I went down to have dinner with the other German again. The free backpacker meal was the same as 2 nights before and I really didn’t want it again. So we both upgraded to fish’n’chips for $4. That was okay.
Tomorrow I’ll be picked up at 7.15AM, so I’m not doing anything tonight.
I did not have the time to take any photos today. Sorry!