Many years ago I took my PADI Open Water diving course whilst on holiday. I was lucky then in that a few months later I was back in Lanzarote and took my diver training a step further to the PADI Advanced Open Water course. Why go to the advanced course so quickly?
My thinking was that my progressing my diver training rather than undertaking 5 random dives was simple. For 5 divers I would be working with an instructor on a variety of dive conditions. Yes, some of these dives were undertaken with a group of divers on recreational dives, but my instructor allocated to me for that dive would talk me through the diver before we got kitted up and review the dive after we left the water.
Hand holding some may call it, but for a diver with limited experience, it took me to the next level and qualified me to a greater depth. I had experienced the deep dive and the navigation dive, as well as a boat and night dive. I had completed with a fish ID dive, which was a bit of fun to refresh with.
I was not happy with stopping there though. Back home I started diving with a local dive shop and got more experience in the not so warm waters at home. Actually, the dry suit diver specialty was a necessity!
But after quite a few dives in a few different UK locations, I decided that it was time to progress to the next step and I took part in a Rescue Diver course. This one was a good learning experience as the crowd I dived with really believed in making the course realistic. Nothing felt fake about the course and some of the people watching us diving in the local docks at various points started to call the emergency services for us. I felt that we needed a warning sign up – Warning, Emergency Procedures Being Rehearsed!
This course I felt really did boost my confidence and skills. The first aid element of the course has, unfortunately, been used a few times since the course on different people, although not in padi idc gili trawangan diving scenarios! And when in one dive my mask and regulator were knocked away from my face by a diver who cut across me, not seeing me there because of the low visibility, the training cut in and I calmly assessed the situation, realised that my first instinct to replace the mask was not a good one, and I calmly found my regulator, replaced it and then sorted my mask out, all before my buddy realised there was an issue.
I look back on the Rescue Diver Course fondly. It was great fun and gave me a lot of confidence. Telling dive centres when I go on holiday gets me a lot of respect, although I wonder if there is too much sometimes, so keep the advanced card at the ready instead!