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Advancing My Diving

By Andrew Henri

I completed my Advanced Dive Course with Abyss in May.  I can’t recommend the course highly enough to anyone looking to dive regularly or just to enjoy their time under the water even more.  For me the Open Water course was a bit of a blur, it was so different to anything I’ve ever done before and so much fun that I didn’t take a great deal of the techniques in.  On the Advanced course, we went through real skills that are helping me to dive longer, more comfortably and safer.

On day one of the course we did three dives at Oak Park in Sydney.

The first dive was fairly relaxing with a focus on Underwater Naturalism.  This was a great way to start the day, we just swam around looking for different kinds of marine life so we could learn more about them later that afternoon including where to look for them when we dive.

Practicing buoyancy control

The second dive was all about Peak Performance Buoyancy. Jackie (our instructor) first tested that we were correctly weighted then got us to hover in various positions to get used to how we were balanced under water and how our breathing could be used to move us around without adjusting our BCD.  My favorite hover position was completely vertical with my head down near the ground but seeing Jackie in the Budda pose was great. Last step for this dive was swimming through two hoops without touching the edges.  This was an extremely valuable lesson to me since initially I was holding my breath as I approached the ring (which caused me to rise and hit it). Under water you’re in a different world and the Peak Performance Buoyancy dive helped to teach me how to move around in it at will.

The third and last dive of the day was focused on Underwater Navigation.  This was certainly the area I had most to learn in since usually underwater I have no Idea where I am.  I’m too busy floating around thinking “Wow look at that fish.” Learning how to navigate lines and squares using my compass was handy but learning techniques for judging distance and navigating by observing your surroundings was invaluable.

Day two of the course was all about fun.  Both Dives were on the Ex HMAS Adelaide wreck at Terrigal.  This was my first taste of Boat Diving, Wreck Diving, Deep Diving and Enriched Air (I opted for the add on course) so a totally new experience all around.  At first I was a bit nervous riding the boat out to the dive site off the coast but pretty soon, dolphins appeared and I got into the spirit of things.  When we reached the wreck it just looked like any other ocean, you certainly couldn’t see it from the surface.  We entered the water and started the descent along the mooring line when suddenly out of nowhere there was a massive tower right in front of me and a 120m long wreck right underneath me.  Both dives of the day were dedicated to exploring the wreck and experiencing the difference of diving at 25-30m depths.

Jackie on the bow of the Adelaide

I’ve learned a great deal from the Advanced course, the most important thing to me is confidence underwater.  Confidence that I can take care of myself in different situations and confidence that I could take my certified friends out diving and make sure we have a good time.  The course also gave me a taste of some of the diving specialty courses available so I have a better idea about where I want to go with my dive education.

The next step for me will be to complete the Rescue Diver course to learn about what to do when something goes wrong, especially emergency management.  After that i’ll be looking to complete some specialty skills, particularly around wreck diving, deep diving and if possible cavern diving.  When I finished my open water diver course back in April I didn’t think i’d hit Master Scuba Diver for a long time but at this rate I’ll easily be an MSD by the end of the year and I’m so addicted to diving I doubt i’ll stop there.

The group at Oak Park on day 1 after perfecting their buoyancy



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