We have a diver with us from Canada – Kale – who is undertaking a life-altering experience. He comes to us as an Open Water Diver, and over the next several months, plans to upgrade his skills, experience and training and really take things to the next level: his Instructor Development Course. He’ll be posting here from time to time, and here’s his first entry!
(Note this is an edited version of a post from Kale’s own blog; you can read the original full text of Kale’s post here.)
I am doing all my dive training with Matthew Atkins at the Blue Angel Scuba School in Cozumel, Mexico. My plan is to go all the way to become a PADI instructor. Prior to this trip, I was certified as an Open Water Diver (the most basic certification level) when I was in Belize almost three years ago. Since then, I have dove Caye Caulker, the Bay Islands, and some cenotes on the Mayan Riviera during my mother’s wedding last year. Before this past Friday however, I had not been diving for a year and half, and hadn’t been diving in the ocean since I was a lil travelin’ nineteen-year-old in Honduras… in 2010.
In order to become an Advanced Open Water Diver, you have to complete five specialty, or ‘adventure’ dives, two of which are mandatory. A specialty dive essentially offers a different experience or training option in regards to the underwater realm, and you have about 14 to choose from for this course. These include altitude diving, night diving, wreck diving, diving with a propulsion vehicle, underwater photography… and more. Deep diving and navigation are the mandatory dives, as they are fairly important, but whatever else piques your interest is up to you. The other options are intended to open a divers eyes to the possibilities. And if a diver intends on going all the way to instructor, it gives them an idea of what they can specialize in with further credentials.
Yesterday I got in the water, and let me tell you, I was head-over-heels in love with everything. I truly got to appreciate what we were doing, even during the ‘Navigation’ and ‘Search & Rescue’ specialty dives which were conducted from shore and consisted playing around with compasses and different search patterns.
It started raining as we finished yesterday, giving birth to this magnificent sunset that I had to capture and interrupt the informative nature of this blog post with.
I woke up early today to get onto an 8 a.m. boat at Blue Angel Resort. Matthew and I were off to do the mandatory ‘deep’ dive, and to follow it with a drift dive. I was particularly excited for these because, although the shore diving is good, I hadn’t been in at depth since Honduras.
Our first dive was at “Palancar Gardens,” and immediately after going through our dive briefing and buddy checks, we descended into the beautiful turquoise body that is the Caribbean Sea. We reached 95 feet below the surface, and had to maintain buoyancy for a minute or two while I gaped in awe at the immense coral structure that surrounded me from above and below. We then kicked off and found ourselves in a light current that took us in, out, and around the reef for the next hour. We stayed around 60 feet, witnessing the vibrant variety of Mexico’s sea-life, including numerous nurse sharks and turtles, one of which was close enough for me to peer into its eyes and directly into its turtle soul. Also, I could’ve touched it.
At one point of the dive I remember being so overwhelmed with the beauty of the sea and my privilege in it, and sweeping my arms out to the big blue void, thinking: “WHAT.”
“Tunich” is where the drift dive took place, and was equally spectacular. There’s something special about being caught in the ebb of the ocean and pushed along by an unseen wind. You’re able to observe the reef and everything around it by simply becoming one with the current. Very, very cool, and there’s so much more to come. The end of that dive marked the end of my advanced diver training…
Matthew is an excellent instructor. He’s a contact through an acquired family member of mine, and I can’t help but admire the passion he has for the education aspect. I know this is just the beginning but I can’t help feel I’m in good hands.
On to the Emergency First Response!
Written by Kale Beaudry. You can read more about Kale’s adventures at his (almost) daily blog.