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Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver Training in Ocho Rios October 23, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log, Training.
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Feeling the need to treat ourselves, we booked a holiday at Sandals Ocho Rios, a little east of Montego Bay on the North Coast of Jamaica. We found a good deal for a 10 day holiday and travelled there without incident in February 2005.

The resort, as I would expect from Sandals, was lovely, with good accommodation, food and service. Being seasoned travelers, we remembered to book the restaurants early (along with all the other middle aged couples) so we didn’t have to eat in the buffet every night.

This time, I was more enthusiastic about going diving. That might have been because it was included in the price, unlike my visits to Hawaii and Bali, and also that I could walk to dive boat, which is a great convenience. I showed the staff my old NASDS C card, which gave them a chuckle, and they then led me to the pool to check me out. My mission was to don my gear (on dry land this time), do a giant stride entry, and then swim a counter-clockwise circle around the bottom of the pool with neutral buoyancy. I found this no problem and scheduled myself for the afternoon dive – which is generally the shallow dive on resorts, and good for checking out new arrivals.

Deepstop & Instructor "Ghandi" returning from Nav Dive

Deepstop & Instructor

At some point during the first day or two I was asked by staff instructor Richard Badu (a.k.a. “Ghandi”) whether it might not be a good idea for me to take the PADI Advanced Open Water Course. They offered it on the resort and they thought my shiny new card that might get me a little more respect, all for the quite reasonable fee of $200.

Upon my quick acceptance, I was given a book to study (PADI “Adventures in Diving”), and we agreed upon the modules (5 are required) that I would do – these being wreck diving, deep diving, underwater navigation, search & recovery, and night diving. For each of these, one dive was required, which other than the night dive, were on the regularly scheduled boat dives at the resort.

According to my new logbook, acquired just for the course, by my 3rd dive of the trip I was doing my mandatory deep dive to 100 feet. One of the ideas of this dive was (and still is) to check for the presence of narcosis by doing a small problem. Instead of an arithmetic problem I was told just to write my name backwards. It turned out that I wrote it faster at depth than on the surface.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the casual decision to do this course at Sandals was the beginning of a dramatic upturn in training and diving that continues to this day.

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1. Advanced Open Water Diver Training - Part 2 « Chronicle of an older diver - October 25, 2008

[…] Open Water Diver Training – Part 2 After my deep dive on February 10th, 2005, I went straight to underwater navigation dive in a place called “Dickie’s Reef” later that […]

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