Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Finding Nemo

...and all his friends, they don't make it difficult on the Great Barrier Reef, the fish (and turtles, and rays, and nudibranches, and lots of things I can't identify at all) seem totally unconcerned by divers. The variety is astounding, though sadly I didn't encounter any sharks underwater. They usually make an appearance during night dives, but the one time I did this it was on a reef they don't frequent for some reason.
Anyway, after 2 days in the pool, 3 at sea including 9 dives, I now have the PADI Open Water certificate, so can dive anywhere, provided I do it soon enough that I don't forget everything I've learnt the past few days. Hardest thing I found in the sea was 'equalising', i.e. squeezing the air out of my ears (as you do when a plane is ascending/descending) to stop my head exploding. This is necessary to adjust to different depths, but eventually got the hang of it. Equalising is incidentally a problem with skydiving as well, though not one they tell you about before pushing you out of the plane, my ears were popping like crazy all the way down, though I didn't give it much thought till I hit the ground; skydiving gives you other things to think about.
Being Scottish spared me one problem, I didn't feel cold in the water at all, no matter how deep we went (18 metres maximum). The Taiwanese lad in our group was shivering uncontrollably every time he came out of the water. He did better than his mate, who was disqualified from the course for not being able to swim!!! Seems amazing that you'd sign up to a scuba course without this particular skill, but apparently it's quite common with Asians, who seem able to convince themselves that this isn't necessary.

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