Nha Trang (II) Open Water Diver Course

No new pictures, sorry, at least nothing exciting. I had kinda promised an article by now, hoping I would have had diving pictures, or at least pictures of me right before a dive, but I haven’t. There was another guest on the boat today by chance taking a picture of me while doing my first “backroll entry”, which means sitting on the edge of the boat and rolling backwards over board into the water (you have seen that in James Bond movies), which must look quite great. But I couldn’t find that lady later after the dive in the Rainbow Bar, grrr….

We did today our first ‘real’ open water dives, finally having my first entries in my dive log book. For those interested in details (hm, have to remember now without my log book at hand):

1. Dive 12m deep for 40 minutes

1:25 surface time

2. Dive 11m deep for 49 minutes

(What was my pressure group at the end of the second dive according to RDP? ;)) I came up with O…)

The first diving site was the same as the first of my Discover Dive: Moray Beach. But the visibility was a lot reduced and the water was colder. Someone said it might have been caused by the rain in the past days. Haven’t seen much rain, but might have come overnight. Except for swarms of Trumpetfishes I don’t remember much of the aquatic life.

We certainly used the dives for a couple of exercises: Mask clearing underwater, regulator recovery, hovering in the water and generally getting more used to proper buoyance control, tired diver towing, BCD on and off at surface…these kind of things. But still there was an incredible amount of time just swimming and looking around following our instructor.

The second dive was on a site new to me, but at the same island, Rainbow Reef. Indeed lots of corals around which again we had lots of time to discover. Exercises there included Alternate Air Source breathing (meaning: you are out of air and use the second regulator of your buddy diver for breathing), both stationary and while ascending to the surface.

Today we had to set up our equipment ourselves, i.e. putting together all these pieces like air tank, regulator, BCD vest…in the right order, with the right things attached to each other, lots of safety checks by yourselves, then another set of safety checks with your buddy…if after all these checks you end up in the water unable to breath with your air vavle closed then you have done a lot of things wrong and deserve no better 😉

As diving was in the morning we had time in the afternoon for our final theoretical exam: A list of 50 multiple choice questions. Not exactly difficult, but I have my pride in these kind of things, especially as I in one of the previous quizzes had one answer wrong while the other lady in the course so far had everything right. So I indeed had put in quite some time for review yesterday evening (lying on the beach, sitting in a beach restaurant, sitting in a cafe…it’s still vacation after all). Well…it worked out as this time I catched up: Finall exam 100% correct while my buddy had some minor bugs, but certainly both of us passed easily, hurray.

I treated myself to a steak…awfully expensive by Vietnamese standards, but then Nha Trang is an expensive place anyway. There’s not much which can go wrong now: Tomorrow is the second and final day of Open Water Dives, where we will go down to the full 18m we will be certified to dive to. Some more exercises, and then we will have our certificate. A temporary one for the moment; the final one is a card in credit card format with picture, number, and certification level, sent to home from PADI Australia; I hope the guys there speed up so I can pick it up during my temporary Germany stay in September, ready for another round of diving in Thailand. Naja…the temporary one is valid for 90 days…that’s enough, too.

As said before I will have another day of diving the day after tomorrow for the National Geographic extensions: Improve buoyancy control, learn about under water navigation, and do some kind of underwater nature project. My instructor said he knows already what I am going to do, but denied detailed information so far…we’ll see 😉

Worst thing that could happen now is that I wouldn’t be able to dive for health reasons. With diving you suddenly become a lot more aware of the little stings and pains your body treats you with over the day: Under water everything is quite a bit more difficult to treat. You absolutely don’t want to have a cold as that blocks your air ways and makes it impossible to ‘equalize’, a technique which pumps air into your ear ways and sinuses for pressure compensation when descending, otherwise there would be a significant underpressure right in your head, and that hurts badly. You might know it from air plane descends that there’s pressure on your ears you can get rid of by holding your nose shut and then pressing air against it, which ends up in your ears and removes the pressure. Happens a whole lot faster in water and you keep on equalizing whenever you descend half a meter or a meter. Some people had to stop their dive (on both days so far I spent on the boat) unable to equalize.

Then I have quite some bruises on all my toes from the fins. That spoiled my day a bit: Every move of the feet hurt. I have to tape them tomorrow or possible even go with socks on them…hm, socks is no good on a moving ship… And there are cramps easily happening in cold water. And cramps happen to me fairly often. I could avoid them today by properly warming up and stretching my legs, which every sportsman would do, but is nowhere mentioned in the comprehensive teaching book for Open Water Diving. I think it should get recommended. Diving is a sport, too, after all.

Today’s Lesson: Stretch your legs before diving.

Categories: Asia, Nha Trang

Originally Created: 08/19/2007 02:24:40 PM
Last Edited: 08/19/2007