Advanced Open Water Certification

Last week I enrolled in an advanced open water dive course. This is a necessary next step in continuing my transition to full time in the scuba tourism industry. This course enables me to dive down to 30 meters, making me able to reach a tremendous number of wrecks and other underwater sites that beginner certification isn’t enough for.

I may have hesitated to take this next step because “advanced” sounds so serious. But it turned out to not be a hard course at all. You don’t even need to dive a lot before you can start the course. The dive shop I chose is called Octopus Adventures, because it was founded by a group of 8 friends.I was welcomed by my instructor Catharina. She explained to me that I would be making 5 different adventure dives in the coming days. That sounded great, I dare to say: adventurous!

She got me the course book and we discussed the dives we would do. All dives have some specific goal and each dive is meant to provide a new experience.  Two of the five dives are fixed. That is a deep dive and a navigation dive. Then I chose three more: a night dive, a buoyancy dive and finally a wreck dive.  That same morning, we started with the buoyancy dive. To be honest, it was not adventurous, but I learned so much from it! We did many exercises and I really think I became a better diver after this training dive. Catharina made me swim through hoops without hitting them. Gosh, that was hard! It took me at least five attempts before I got it right. She also made me pick up heavy objects from the sea floor. At first, that pulled me down to the sand, but she taught me how to stay in place.

Every day I had to read the chapters in the course manual to prepare for the next dives. So on the second day, I did the navigation dive. That was very interesting, as Catharina explained to me again how to properly use the underwater compass. I really had forgotten all of that. I was nervous about it because she made me swim around and I had to find the way back! But I didn’t get lost and we got safely back. In the afternoon, I was free and I prepared for the night dive.

At 8pm we made the night dive. So it is not really at night, but after sunset. Underwater it is dark though. So we both had underwater torches and she showed me how to use them properly. Afterall, the common hand signals are hard to see in the dark. It is amazing to see how different the dive sites are in the dark. And then the creatures!?! During the day I didn’t see a single crab, but during that dive, I saw about five big ones who had left their hiding spot. They looked delicious. If only I could take one and prepare it for the next day. LOL. But Catharina didn’t agree.

The next morning I did the deep dive. Before I could only dive to 18m but this time we went to 30m. That was a real adventure! We went out with the boat to a dive spot with an underwater wall. We went over the edge and quickly went down to 28m. And believe me, the wall dropped deeper down, but we didn’t go deeper than 30m.

Because of this deep dive, in the afternoon, I could join with a group of divers to a shipwreck which was at 25m. I had never seen such a big wreck before. I will certainly try to find more later. I think I will be hooked to deep wrecks now.

So those were three exciting days, full of adventure. Now I can call myself, with pride and satisfaction, Advanced Open Water diver! My certification card has just arrived today in my mailbox!

So I hope that with this post, I could take away the doubts for all of you who still hesitate to take the course. Go for it on your next dive trip!

Ethan and David

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