My next experience – the Advanced

The Open Water certification was absolutely not enough for me! I discovered that diving is addicting. I want to develop myself and become a better diver. The next step for me was the PADI Advanced Open Water Certification.
This course is to gain more experience in diving and to get more confidant underwater. For me it was an opportunity to try a sample of different specialties to see what I think is interesting to do. Each Adventure dive is the first dive of the related PADI speciality course. Deep and Navigation are required and for the remaining 3 dives I chose Night Dive, Wreck Dive and Search & Recovery. I couldn’t wait to start this new dive experience.  For this course my instructor was Martha . She is a very good instructor and really fun to dive with! She taught me so much!

Night dive.
My first advanture dive was a night dive. How cool is that?! It doesn’t mean that we were diving in the middle of the night, but in the early evening. Before we left, we went over the knowledge review I made in the  PADI Adventures in diving manual, followed by a short briefing. We planned the dive and talked about what changes underwater.

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What a Sunset!

At 5 p.m. it was time to go!! It wasn’t dark yet. But then we could see enough to find the anker line and we could enter the water on a safe way. Safety comes first!  It was the perfect chance to watch the beautiful sunset!  The atmosphere was fun and very relaxed!

Once we got to the dive site it was time to make ourselves ready to go diving! Before we entered the water, a quick divesite briefing was done by Martha to discuss the conditions and protocols for that particular divesite. That day the waves were present and there was a strong current! The water was also a bit colder than the other days. The ocean is unpredictable..

After a back roll entry  we grabbed the line to help us during our descent. We had to swim against the current and there was a very strong one!  As I already expected, the water was a bit colder. In The Netherlands the water is much colder, but if you are used to dive in water of 28 degrees Celcius, this felt a bit chilly. (82 Fahrenheit, easy to remember)
Underwater it was dark! I was happy we had a flashlight to see something. First we had to practice how to use our gauges compass and hand signals with a dive light and then do some navigation with the compass.  After that it was Martha’s turn to guide us and show us around! A night dive is so cool to do, yes it is dark but a perfect experience to see what the marine life is like at night! so many different active species compared to the day.

After some breathtaking moments of diving, we put our divelights against our chest and start waving our hands. Why?  To see the Dinoflagellate,  small organisms that light up when you move them around.  That is so amazing to see, I can do it  for hours;-) Sadly enough I don’t have enough air in my tank to stay for hours.
After 45 minutes it was time to ascent and get back on the boat. There was  a new surprise waiting…….The sky was covered with millions of stars!! That was so amazing and beautiful!! That’s is the best way to come back to the surface. Under the starry sky! I will never forget that amazing moment.
The whole nightdive was an amazing experience and I hope I do it again soon!

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the team

Deep dive
The deep dive was my next adventure dive. For the first time I was going to a depth of 30 m / 100 feet. When you are diving, it’s hard to determine how deep it is all the way to the bottom. Imagine that you are standing on the 10th floor of a building and you are going to abseil down, unless you know, it’s also hard to tell the distance to the ground.But in both cases it takes a while right?! I soon realized  we weren’t diving at 18 meters / 60 feet anymore! The dive time was a lot shorter than usual and my air consumption went up. At this depth we didn’t see much more than usual, but I think it is impressive how a human body is able to reach this depth (or deeper). At this depth a lot of things change. The colors change (in order of the rainbow), red will almost appear black. It was awesome to go so deep. Maybe one day, I will do a specialty in deep diving and make my way to 40 mtr/130 ft.

Wreck dive
I think wrecks are interesting places. Every wreck has its own story and own marine life! Not one is the same. At Playa del Coco there are two wrecks to visit. In this part of the Advanced Open Water Course, we learned how to act near a wreck. I wasn’t allowed to go inside the wreck because without the proper training it could be dangerous, not only for me but also for everyone else on that dive.

I am glad that Tortuga (local dive site) has both wrecks. It was a new experience for us. The wrecks laying at a depth of 21 meters. One of the wrecks is for a big part completely open. We weren’t allowed to go down at the deck (then you need a specialty). We had to be careful and watch out for all the sharp points sticking out.

IMG_4794After a few minutes it was time to go to the next wreck. The other wreck is more closed and it isn’t possible to go down on the deck. When we arrived we saw a white-tip reef shark swimming away. That proves that a wreck is not only for divers to explore, but serious, a home for animals. In The Netherlands there are many wrecks in the ocean, maybe one day I will do my wreck speciality over there.

Underwater Navigator
Being able to navigate underwater is always very useful to know. It makes it a lot harder to get lost which is always nice and it makes it easier to find things underwater. I learned how to set and use the compass, about how many kick cycles I need to swim a particular distance and in how many seconds. After we did this, we had to practice some patterns. Now I am able to navigate!

Search & recovery
During this dive we had to do the most skills. Not on your own but as a team. We practiced the search patterns. This was very useful as I would need these skills  in the rescue course  as well. Now when someone drops something in the ocean, we are able to find it back.
I had a really good time during all these dives with my buddy and  Martha! I really feel like a better diver with more experience after this course. I am already scheduled to do the rescue course next week!  Hope you will follow my experience in this amazing underwater adventure!?

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