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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Advanced Diving

This week we're taking our Advanced Open Water Certification course. There are different levels of scuba diving. First comes Basic Open Water, which is what you get to become a scuba diver in the first place. This is just a minimum of 5 open water dives, and a class (which can vary in length but for me was 3 weeks) that includes classroom and pool sessions, and a test. After you have your basic certification, you can scuba dive all you want and go on your merry way and never take another course if you don't want to. You just should take a refresher course before you dive if you haven't been on a dive in more than 12 months (something that I'm fully aware Todd has ignored in the past).

Of course, there are more courses to take if you so choose. Todd and I are both certified in Nitrox, which I've discussed before. Todd also took an Underwater Photography course while we were in Turks & Caicos. We have plans to take Stress & Rescue at some point. Each of these is a specialty course. To become an advanced diver, you have to have 4 specialty courses completed and a total of 24 open water dives.

We both have the 24 dive requirement filled, so that is not an issue (I'm at 92 right now). We just need the specialties. So, our dive shop offers 3 specialites and 6 open water dives packaged together as an Advanced Course. We are taking it this week and completed our classroom time and written tests last night. This weekend, we'll do 6 dives in the quarry to complete our certification (and take me to 98 dives completed... in Bonaire I'll have 100!).

Our specialties that we're completing are Advanced Bouyancy (we both have good bouyancy already, so that's a breeze), Night Diving (we've done a bunch of night dives already, but good to get the certification and some pointers), and Navigation. Navigation is the big one for us to learn, as I'm horrible at using a compass. It will be very helpful to know, especially for the night dives. There were times in T&C where I was definitely lost.

So, the class went well. We are definitely the most experienced divers in the group and the only ones who will get our cards at the end of the course. I'm both excited and not very excited about diving in the quarry. The water will be cold and I will hate that. I had to buy boots and gloves, which I did not previously own. Still, it will be nice to have gotten the experience and now we won't need a pool checkout dive before we go to Bonaire!

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