So as of Sunday, I am now PADI Open Water Scuba Dive certified! This means that I can scuba dive in waters up to 18 meters deep.
Getting my certification was not easy. Before class on Saturday, I had to do a lot of reading about the science behind diving. I learned about how to descend and ascend properly, air pressure, buoyancy, equalization, and even how to deal with sharks.
On Saturday, I woke up the earliest I have since I got here (6:30 AM!) and took and train and then a bus to the Bondi Dive Centre. From there, we got all of our equipment and headed to Watson’s Bay, which is across from downtown Sydney. You could even see the Sydney Harbour Bridge from where we were. It was absolutely stunning.
After, we set up our gear and headed out to the water. Once we all had our fins and masks on, our instructor told us to head down to the bottom (5 meters). The first descent was scary because all of your weight is on your back with the oxygen tank. It feels like you’re falling backwards and you can’t see where you’re going. For the first few times, I would just go down on my back and then wait until I hit the bottom. After this we practiced a few of our exercises, like taking off your mask underwater and then we went around on our first dive! I had no sense of direction but the view was amazing. It was like swimming around an aquarium. There were a lot of fish swimming around but because we had such a big group, I think we scared them away. After our dive, we stopped for lunch.
After lunch we went for a second dive and I felt a lot more comfortable in the water. We went for a second excursion and this time we saw a sea horse, a scuttle fish, and even an octopus hiding under a rock. We learned you have to make sure you don’t scare an octopus out of hiding; otherwise you’ll kill its babies.
On Sunday we went to a place called Bare Island. There was a bridge out to the site and we had to walk down stairs and on slippery rocks while wearing a really heavy oxygen tank. The best part of getting to the diving site was always getting into the water, because the floating of the BCD kept the weight off your back. The first dive was uneventful except for the fact that we went underwater 11 meters.
On our second dive, half of the group was cold and didn’t go so diving was a little bit easier. The visibility wasn’t very good but we were able to explore a little bit and we even saw a shark! It was a Port Jackson, which is about a meter long and harmless.
This definitely won’t be my last time diving. I’m loving it and can always do more advanced dives. Maybe in the future I can take classes for more specified certifications, like an underwater photography course 🙂