iPad – no, PADI
I do not have an iPad, but since yesterday I have my PADI Open Water.
I had been snorkeling since I had been 12 years old. It’s always been funny, but the summer season in good old Switzerland is rather short. Snorkeling in water below 18 degrees Celsius isn’t so much fun. Then I started snorkeling in the sea. During vacation in France, Greece, Sicily and the Maldives, I discovered the amazing life under water.
In the Maldives I caught myself eyeing over to the that black suited lucky guys. But the house reef of our island (Vilamendhoo) had been full of colorful fish, so I switched between snorkeling and windsurfing.
Then I moved to Camiguin. At that time there were 2 or 3 diving resorts offering dive courses. But I had no time to even think of diving. Silent Gardens became an important project and we had to build our guesthouse and later our own house.
Then I started to have more time for recreational activities. I continued to snorkel and free dive in Mantigue, on White Island and at the Giant Clams on Kabila White Beach. I also started to take pictures under water. The result had been shaky videos and greenish photos of some small fish. I started to use heavy stones as disposable weights to control my buoyancy. But the bottom time had just been a minute and some more seconds. Even meditative training didn’t give me more than two minutes.
During the last 5 years our neighbors and friends, the Camiguin Action Geckos, developed their diving activity to become Camiguin’s number one resort and diving center. Every day we see their boats leaving for dives. When they come back, we encounter only bright smiles everywhere. Read the reviews on Tripadvisor. Their management chose to live in our guesthouse. This became a real win-win situation. The “Geckos” can get off-duty for a nap or concentrated work, still being reachable for their staff. And we have friends in whom we trust, who mark presence on our lot.
And of course, we often chat, help each other and share funny moments and sometimes dinners or lunches. On May 9, Michèle invited us for a Mantigue “family” trip next day. We always like these trips to Mantigue and the funny “Gecko” spirit. Michèle asked me if I wouldn’t like to have a fun dive with Romeo as buddy and dive-master. Why not?
I first had to check how deep I can dive with my Cochlear Implant (CI). The manufacturer as well as my medical team confirmed a maximum depth of 25 meters. Then I did it – even twice – and became a dive addict. Back on shore, I had to wait a bit, because my dive instructor, Arno, got an ear infection and had to stay off the water during 10 days. During this time I started to study the theory and passed my exam with 6 wrong answers out of 90 questions.
On May 13 we started the practical training in the pool of the Golden Sunset Beach Club. The fresh water in the pool was rather cold – compared with the 30 degrees of the sea. The 5 confined water lessons in one day showed clearly that I have to get rid of my Uncontrollable Buoyancy Device (UBD) – also known as “Beer Belly”. But my buddy and I passed all 5 lessons in 3 dive sessions. Arno had been a fine instructor – demanding on one hand and relaxing and funny on the other hand.
On June 14 we went again to Mantigue and did our Open Water Dives #2 and #3. During the first dive we had a current that made the exercises real and not too easy. Fortunately the water had been warm and Yvonne didn’t shiver again. During the 46 minutes under water we went down to 12.4 meters. After a break of 90 minutes with coffee and snacks we went again into the deep blue. This time we went down to 18.8 meters during 46 minutes and felt already very relaxed. I still needed a lot of additional lead-weight to stay steadily under water. My “Beer Belly” works like a life saving device – haha.
Yesterday we went to the west side of White Island. During this last training session we encountered Banner Fish, Hawksbill Turtle, Sea Snake, Frogfish, Grouper, Fusiliers, and Cuttle Fish. At the end my tank had been empty and I could exercise “alternate air source”. It’s been funny to do it real. Back on shore Yvonne and I got our PADI Open water certification. (Applause please 😆 )
In the afternoon we went out to “Black Forest”, a gentle slope with a wide variety of hard and soft corals. I felt like a fish and enjoyed swimming in a school of ten thousands of small, young fishes. We also encountered a Hawksbill Turtle gently floating aside us. A trigger-fish caught our attention. Arno showed me crabs and nudibranches.
Photo courtesy of National Geographic