This week has included more different PADI Specialty course dives which have been a good fun and made the week very interesting. The week started with PADI Fish ID course which was to learn about different species that live here in the Canary Islands. Very interesting topic and I learned a great deal more about the aquatic life in Abades. Dives were nice and relaxing. We noted over 25 species during dives. I also did AWARE Coral Reef Conservation which included to spot different corals that one can see in Abades. There were not many but still interesting. I also did my Night Dives on Monday which was brilliant. We didn’t see that many new species during dives but it was amazing to dive at night and see the bio-luminescence underwater. On Tuesday I did my first ever wreck dive which also happened to be my 50th dive! We went to Tabaiba wreck to conduct the first three dives of the wreck diving specialty course. The objectives of the dives were to identify different hazards in the wreck, map the wreck and practice to set the penetration line outside of the wreck. I found that the wreck itself was very interesting dive site and quite convenient as a first wreck to dive since it’s not as intimidating as I would assume some other bigger wrecks would be. On Wednesday we practiced PADI Divemaster skills in water with Dominic in the morning and on the afternoon we went to make our PADI Deep Diver speciality dives in El Poris. We were incredibly lucky and we spotted 4 Canarian lobsters, a species that is very rare and very hard to see. They were amazing, looking like living fossils. On Thursday we ended the week with PADI Surface Marker Buoy specialty dives and practiced with Alice the proper SMB technique.
My second week in PADI Divemaster training has involved different PADI Specialty courses for the PADI Master Scuba Diver program. We started the week with Peak Performance Buoyancy with Sas, Simon and Dominic. From a rusty beginning it was a good fun practice different positions, play with hoops and basically challenge oneself with different approaches. Next day’s agenda included Underwater Navigation course learning first the basics of the compass and then applying the same skills underwater.
Firstly we figured out our fin kick distances per 10 meters and then we did basic mapping with a heading directions underwater. I enjoyed to see the new part of the reef as I haven’t dived in Montana Falda before and it was really interesting to see the big rock formations. The navigation practices gave me more confidence for my own diving and trust to my compass and sense of direction. Mapping was an interesting challenge but I enjoyed the brain teaser. I also did my first Project AWARE dive picking rubbish and killing black longspine seaurchines. Seeing the areas where the black longspine seaurchines have started the invasion really gave me a new perspective of the problem in hand and I think that should be every diver in Tenerife should be aware of. I spend Thursday studying skill courses theory and PADI Divemaster manual and Friday we completed Emergency Oxygen and Nitrox courses. So now I’m certified O2 and Nitrox diver. I also observed Stan’s PADI Rescue course scenarios as a part of PADI Divemaster training. On a personal note I said goodbye to my room mate Charlene this week. The house is definitely more quiet and now I’m just waiting for new room mates.
Lucky to return to diving on Sunday however was thrown right into it and ended up having to do a kit exchange with Charlene. I panicked a bit but managed to get through it. I also was shown the skills by Tania and Sass which seemed to be a lot of skills to have to learn which got me a little worried. We also got to meet a new student who was doing the PADI Divemaster this week – she seems very nice but she had signed herself up for a lot of work.
On Monday I had my first dive as a leader ! I was lucky in that I didn’t mess up the navigation and we ended up getting to trumpet fish cave ok! Killed a lot of urchins and saw a baby cuttlefish and a very big pink dentex fish followed us around the urchin patches. This was followed later by practicing the skills with Charlene and Simon. They were both really good and I felt quite far behind and I also struggled a bit with the mask skills- but practice makes perfect so hopefully I’ll get it eventually ! Tuesday was more practice as well as completing the search and recovery part of the course , I was buddies with Charlene and we found our item quite quickly whereas the boys were taking a while to find their item. Simon’s equipment was malfunctioning all over as well so we didn’t spend too much time in the water. We were also taught how to tie a bow line knot and inflate and use a recovery bag lift.
Wednesday was Charlene’s birthday so we got to head out on a wreck dive to Tabaiba. It was quite deep but really fun to get to do a dive in a new place. Dominic apparently saw a huge stingray and there were really big starfish there too! We took some fun pictures underwater too. Afterwards we came back to Abades for the afternoon and did the 100m tow. We also went and practiced skills for a little while and I got a really good hover while Simon and I were waiting for Charlene to come join us.
Thursday was skills practice with Laura down with us at the bottom to tell us what we were doing wrong – I was just having a really back day of it and so didn’t get a lot of good positive feedback on the skills. I later went on a dive with Dominic and Stanislav to trumpet fish cave and was hoping to do the three 20 minute dives but only ended up doing two dives because I had taken only a 12 tank and we went out quite far. Managed to get back fine though and had 70 bars left so it wasn’t too bad. My briefing is getting better and so are my skills so I think/hope that I’ll be better with next weeks practices!
Sunday started off with a fun dive lead by Charlene with Craig, Abi and Dominic. I did the dive check as we walked down to the beach. We headed out towards trumpet fish cave and got a little lost along the way so tried to get our bearings again, going back on our tracks we passed over the sea grass and saw a baby stingray! After our surface interval we were snorkeling for a bit to swim back towards the cave and saw seven more rays from the surface! They were all relaxing and eating some of the sea grass. We descended again and kept our distance but watched them for a while, after one of them swam off Craig tried to measure the size of them with his arms. Coming back to shore was really difficult as we had a strong current working against us (this didn’t do us any favours in the stamina that morning either…) Later on Tania joined us on another dive and we tried to find the rays for her again but failed in doing so, we hung around the reef saw a Plain fish and killed a few long black spines sea urchins and Tania spotted an octopus which was really cool. Next ( again on a difficult swim back to the shore) we saw three more rays. At this point everyone was really tired and we shared tows going back. Eventually we all got out and everything worked out fine and by the end of the day I had gotten up to 30 dives ! Only 10 more until I can start the PADI Divemaster!!! Monday was my first dive with Simon and was lead by Abi ( I was asked to do the brief but didn’t have all the notes so was unsure what to include … ). We saw some really cool starfish that were so contorted they practically looked like sea cucumbers. We all spotted a baby cuttlefish and Abi thought it was really cute. Then somehow Abi spotted a hermit crab in amongst a tangle of seaweed. Again sticking in around the first reef we saw a lot of the usual things but I didn’t mind because I felt it was a good dive to get to know my sense of direction a bit better. This being said, we ended up in the shallows and were practically crawling out of the water as we were at 1.1m! We collected so much rubbish from the reef and sea floor. Saw another mature cuttlefish and he got very close to me which was close to see up close. We had our surface interval and then descended again to swim back in towards the shore because Simon was getting low on air (which was a first because normally it’s me that is low on air and causes dives to end sooner!) on our second descent we swam through clouds of ink and ended up seeing that it had actually been a dead cuttlefish that caused it. That night I also did my first night dive -I was very excited so took my camera. We saw more rays which was really cool at night time and Tania said she saw an octopus and I only managed to see part of its tentacles as it crawled around under a rock. I also had improved on my air usage and ended up finishing the dive with about 90 bars (possibly a record for me!). Overall, a very good experience and I would love to do another night dive soon.
Unfortunately the next morning the back pain I have been experiencing had gotten to such an extreme that I couldn’t get out of bed without a struggle with pain. I decided to pass on the diving for the day to see if it would improve after a day of relaxing it. Unfortunately this was not the case and I ended up have to go to the doctors and I was told to rest and given anti-inflammatories to take for my back. Hopefully I can start back again soon! Only 6 more dives until I can start the PADI Divemaster course!! WOOHOO!
This has been my first week in Tenerife Dive Academy.
I arrived on Friday which meant I had one and half day to get to know to Abades and other divers before the actual course began. Upon arrival, Tania showed me my housing facilities and I met some of the other interns and house mates.
The course started on Sunday. First day was full of information that was poured onto us with a quick pace with all the gear set ups and other practicalities. Since I had no idea what to expect from a first day, this was lot to process and the day left me overwhelmed. I started my Divemaster training as Open Water Advanced diver which meant that first weeks agenda was to complete the PADI Rescue Diver course. First training day we practiced different rescue techniques and skills in water. We also went through all the daily routines from setting up gear to cleaning it and going through daily jobs.
Second day included training session in water with two different rescue scenarios to practice skills learned the day before. I practiced to use the compass for the first time in missing diver scenario and towing a unresponsive diver to the shore with relatively big surf was definitely a challenge. The rescue course exam was on a third day. I passed the exam which made it officially me a PADI Rescue diver. Excluding two rescue training sessions I hadn’t yet dived in Abades reef and that’s why decision that I was to lead the fun dives in the afternoon was a surprise. But well, I got to see the trumpetfish cave for the first time and killed my first black longspine seaurchine.
On Thursday was more fun dives, which include a lucky sighting of a common stingray.
We end the week with a good scrub of the dive center so that it would be in a top condition for the PADI inspection.
Next week I will be absent due the visit home to Finland and in weeks time I’ll be back to continue my training.
Beginning my diving adventures in Tenerife on Sunday I began my PADI Rescue Diver course and EFR training. First dive was with Tania to be taught underwater rescue navigation, how to rescue an under water unresponsive diver and we also completed a short version of a tow of surface non-responsive diver.
On Monday we also repeated the exercises but were tested in them to make sure we had the correct techniques and procedure order. We completed a longer tow of a surface non-responsive diver as well as removing the victim from the water and beginning rescue breaths and CPR.
Tuesday we had EFR training taught by Alice, Tom and Charlie. We were given scenarios to test us in how to respond to an emergency situation. We then followed up the training with exams in both the PADI Rescue and the EFR theory.
Wednesday – Finally got to go on a Fun dive! Went with Pete and Alice and some of the other interns in a place called Turtle Bay. Unfortunately the memorable part of the dive was that we saw a lot of ray skeletons. Got the chance to have a good chat with everyone on the way back – along with one or two of us getting a quick nap before disassembling the gear. Luckily for me I had another fun dive on Thursday with Charlene and Craig! Went to the famous Trumpet fish cave that everyone has been talking about and got to see a lot of the local marine life! I also was shown the invasive long spine Black Sea Urchin and how some of the divers kill them in order to feed the fish. The wrasse went crazy for it and all the while there was a little black fish who was very curious and followed us around for a while ! When we were coming back in Craig found a 5€ note and myself and Charlene were picking up rubbish for Project AWARE – including a pair of underwear… I guess some people have all the luck!!!