I have a PADI open water diver training session booked for my next period of leave in March.
After I came home from my last holiday I felt the need to book the next one. As a ginger haired chap I have never prospered in the sun, but as I age I have noticed that my joints prefer the soothing warmth of the sun to the biting winds.
Two years ago after four seasons of motorcycle marshalling ten plus weekends a year I decided that I am too old to sleep in a tent. I had turned my tent into a bit of a home from home. With free electric hook ups and my car booting wife my tent had the following:
- One cup water boiler
- Fridge (mini)
- Laptop with the iplayer and sky+ I had TV, movies and sports channels.
- Bed (not blow up one)
However despite all of these creature comforts I had had enough. On reflection perhaps with an electric blanket I may have done one more season, but at 48 that was old enough to pretend to enjoy camping. It was the cold and the wet that done it for me. Some people will say there is nothing wrong with the wet and cold that proper clothing can’t sort out. Well let me tell you layers and layers don’t make for comfort. Shorts, tee shirt, hat, sunglasses and sun block are the only layers I need.
Where am I going with this well nearer the equator to be honest after spending Christmas in the sub tropics, I’m taking the wife to the Caribbean at the back end of summer and when we get back I plan to book somewhere for a winter break, somewhere warmer that England.
To protect my fair skin from the power of the sun I intend to spend much of my holiday submersed in the warm currents of the ocean, it’s going to be 28oC when we are there. The average air temp in Leeds in September is 17oC so even if it’s a hot one the water is warmer by 10oC, no contest really.
I thought about just snorkelling but for years after growing up watching Jacques Cousteau and Lotte Hass I have always fancied scuba diving. I have on a couple of occasions completed taster dives in swimming pools but all that maths and the bends put me off. The advent of the silicon chip and dive computers have now taken much of the risk out of diving accident through maths errors.
So I have signed up and started the course. This is the first differnet thing I have done for ages. At work we are always doing bits of training but these are about the role and some are more interesting than others and some I may have chosen to do but this is for me. I do not want another hobby what I want is a holiday activity, that will add focus to out holidays. So no more standing on the side of a track or the mountain on the Isle of Man waiting to pick crashed bikers off the road. More beaches around the world with off shore wrecks, corals and wildlife with nice bars and restaurant to chill in the evening.
So what have I learnt? To qualify as a PADI open water diver you have to complete a knowledge section, confined dives and open water dives.
I have started the knowledge section the best bit of this is watching the Open Water Diver video (this comes on a DVD! I wonder what they will call this when it’s on the cloud?) The “video” is of pretty people learning to dive in pretty locations no fattish fifty year old learning in a swimming pool in West Yorkshire.
I have learnt the theory of the following:
- Ratio of pressure increases and depth dived.
- Why you must never hold your breath underwater.
- That scuba gear comprises the regulator, cylinder, BCD and weight system.
- The difference between positive, neutral and negative buoyancy.
- The Buddy system BWRAF.
- Safety stops are not decompression stops.
Once I start the pool dives I will be able to put this knowledge into practice.