At the end of 2013, PADI introduced their new, revised, Open Water course, and we implemented the new curriculum very successfully last February (all PADI teaching facilities have until the summer to adapt).
What does this mean to you?
No worries. There are no dramatic changes, and the program just seems to be evolving into a more sophisticated and modern-day course. A few of the more significant changes are briefly outlined below.
Some of the material in the former PADI Open Water manual has just moved from one chapter to another, as PADI organized the material into a more meaningful order of learning. For example, because PADI members have been asking for more emphasis on air management and monitoring practice, this topic, including planning reserves for safety stops and air supply turn points, is introduced in Section two. These skills are further reinforced in the both the confined water and open water dives before certification is completed.
A new skill for confined water will required student divers to plan and execute a dive while practicing skills and responding to situations that the instructor presents, such as leg cramps, out of air - share air, free-flow regulator, mask flooded or off, regulator dropped from mouth, BCD inflator failure and buddy separation (the idea of a buddy team of three is introduced in Section Two).
Open Water dive four requires student buddy teams to plan and execute their own dive (under the guidance of their instructor and divemasters). In this way, student divers transition into certified entry level divers with reasonable self-confidence in their ability to plan and execute a dive themselves!
Another new exciting change to the program is the use of dive computers in class and on our dives. Dive computers are used to manage nitrogen levels. Dive tables are discussed as an option, but how to use a dive computer is the focus. Computers are standard dive equipment for the majority of divers, and the increased accuracy of data makes our dives safer, and possibly extends the joy of gliding over the underwater gardens we call paradise!
Call to sign up for the next
PADI Open Water Course!
That night before the sunset we arrived at the boat for a night dive! I've never done a night dive so I was a little nervous! I imagined being in pitch black the whole time! It was a beautiful night and we all watched the spectacular sunset in the middle of the ocean on the boat before our dive so when we went down it would be dark! We all got glow sticks on our tanks and had flash lights so it wasn't as dark as I thought it would be! It was incredible! We saw lots of different fish, a big sting ray, moray eel, lobsters and more! Also it was really cool if you waved your hands you would see luminous around your hands like little sparkles! Jody took me on a little denture just us two to look for cool stuff as we found the sting ray :) It was an awesome dive! :) and I can't wait for my next night dive!
We all got up super early and went to a different dive company where my dad knows the owner. It was called the Conch Republic and we dove the wreck called The Eagle! The Eagle is a big freighter and was broken in half which was pretty cool to see! The weather was great, and it was a fantastic dive! I really liked this wreck a lot - it has to be one of my favourites!
This afternoon my dive buddy Allistair, Jody, my dad and I headed over to the Jules underwater lodge which is a underwater hotel.. Cool right? You stay In these cute pods underwater for a night! I thought it was very cool! Unfortunately me and Allisair were not there for the underwater hotel part we were there to do our navigation dive in the training lagoon. Turns out we suck at navigation and were the worst of the bunch! But it did give my dad and Jody a good laugh at how far off course we took ourselves... Oops.. Allistair was so focused he bumped his head on a brick wall and I was supposed to go out 100ft and return and surfaced somewhere completely off course and for a second I didn't know where I was hahaha! We all had a good laugh afterward!
After a shower and a little nap for me we all reunited for a barbecue on the beach which was really nice! The food tuned out great and it was nice to hear everyone's dive stories and experiences!
We got up at 5:30am and headed 2 hours away to Key West! We were all exhausted but it was all for the EPIC WRECK called The Vandenberg! And it sure was AWESOME! :) It was a satellight tracking ship! The coolest part were the satellite dishes! They were massive! It was a great sight with lots of marine life! We actually saw a large sting ray laying on the wreck, which is supposably a rare sighting! I love rays so I was very excited! :) The weather and visibility were also fantastic! :) I have to say our group definitely brought the good weather! We were so lucky!
After the dive we walked around key west which is a little tourist town with lots of shopping and lots to do! That day though the weather was so bloody hot it was almost unbearable! But we did some shopping and checked out some old treasure shops where you can buy old treasures found in the sea! Only for the rich of course but cool to see! :) The sun wore us out so much we decided to head back home to Key Largo! I fell asleep the whole ride home... typical me! We were all so tired I believe everyone went to bed early! I know I did!
We got up early with Rainbow Reef to dive The Bibb (cute name I thought)! The Bibb is actually laying on it side which was pretty cool! As we descended we saw a massive Goliath grouper almost as big as a car it was incredible and such a good sighting! They are like a normal looking fish but just out-of-this-world MASSIVE! We also saw a large green moray eel which was cool! ...Man they are a funny looking fish...
After the Bibb we decided to dive the Duane again as the Bibb and the Duanne are right next to each other really and others on the boat not including our group wanted to dive it so we said sure why not! :) The weather was perfect again today and the water was almost glass with hardly any current! Great day of diving!
This after noon my dad and I decided to try paddle boarding. We are selling them at the shop, so I decided I better give them a try; it was perfect weather for it so we thought, "why not"? We got a bit lost trying to find the place, but it turned out to be really fun! I understand why they use it for fitness, and it's harder then it looks, but it's so much fun!!!! Such a great sport and I'm officially hooked!
Tonight most of us went to a cute little Italian restaurant called Cafe Largo which was about a 5 min or less walk from our hotel! We had a great time chatting, the food was absolutely fantastic, and the staff were great too! We all had a great time! :) After the great meal the advanced group and I all sat around the lobby to finish off our knowledge reviews which is part of the course as we all finished our specific dives! It ended up turning into story time, and it was pretty neat hearing Jody's, Rob's and Chris's cool stories! :) I do love dive story time! Maybe I'll set up a little beer, wings and dive story telling night... Hahahaha
Back to the Spiegel Grove today! :) The weather was fantastic again - glass water surface and hot hot hot! :) perfect day for diving! Jody cut the umbilical cord today and we were officially free to roam ourselves! :) the highlight of the trip was on this dive as we did two massive swim throughs all the way in the wreck we saw old sinks and desks and I even found a Canadian flag, what are the odds! Such a great experience! Loved every second of it; if I could smile with my regulator I would have the whole dive! :)
That afternoon we decided to do some reef dives because it was our last day of diving! after a quick meal in between we head out again to dive the infamous molasses reef which was absolutely increadable I was like a little fish myself down there I was just so excited! It was so coulorful and beautiful it was breathtaking! (Don't worry I still breathed down there) :) we saw 3 sharks 2 reef sharks and a nurse shark and a awesome sting ray floating around And doing his thing in the sand! It was fantastic all round and at the end of the dives I had a sad moment knowing it was my last dive of the trip :(
That night we went to the cafe largo again! That's right we liked it that much we had to go again the next night! We had dive story time again and enjoyed an amazing meal! :) we had a great last night as we reminisces about all our great dives we did and how the weather stayed in our favour! :) we hit up divers direct for some last minute shopping before hitting the hay for our long drive tomorrow! :)
I had the time of my life on this trip from the diving to the weather to the great people! :) Everyone on the trip was just fantastic and I have to say I for sure have the dive bug! More diving please!! :)
Thursday and Friday:
We left at about 12am to drive to Florida! Last time I did this I was about 8 years old! We made a lot of bathroom stops and stopped for a little snooze which turned out to be a 6 hour nap - oops! Fell asleep. Listened to some oldies music and murder shows on satellite radio (don't judge we all like those shows)! We stopped at the new river bridge look out in West Virginia and kept our hopes and eyes out for Denny's until we finally found one! Starving at this point, it was worth the wait! I got peanut butter pancakes... Only in America right?
After a mildly uncomfortable sleep we set the road for Florida, and before I knew it was sunny and beautiful! Palm tress lined everywhere and we kept talking about how good a shower was and how our first stop after a shower is divers direct the Walmart size dive shop!
Turns out divers direct was across the road from our hotel! What are the odds! We went to a dive shop my dad was familiar (conch republic) with and the girl remembered him from years ago! We then ventured on to divers direct... It was massive and I ended up spending way too much and went a little dive crazy ...my treat on dad! I was clearly in a good shopping mood! We got to enjoy the sunset(well I did) and the Beach is literally 12 steps from our hotel! After meeting up with everyone we all went to a cute cafe called "hobo's" (funny name right?) there was nothing hobo-ie about it , the food was delicious and the staff were really friendly!
Bright and early wake up for our morning dive! We double dipped the Spiegel Grove! One of the coolest wrecks around as per Jody and my dad! I was a little nervous as I have not dove in the ocean in a year and I really hogged my air the first dive! The wreck was massive and beautiful! I saw goliath groupers, angle fish, parrot fish and much more! The best part was when Jody let us do swim throughs in the wreck it was amazing and something I have always wanted to do! We went to 100ft on a 30 nitrox blend! I'm also lucky to have a cool dive buddy Alilisair! Today was our groups deep dive and our boat dive for our advanced :) it was a fantastic dive! And I have a new found love for nitrox! No nap needed after nitrox you feel amazing!
In the afternoon I went shopping again... No surprise for me and spent more money! We went to shell world which is like a Walmart size shop full of shells... Why not right? We then hit up the beach bar near our hotel for piña colatas, and to log our dives and watch the sunset! It was a wonderful sunset! :) And I may or may not have got tipsy off one drink.... The bartender convinced us to get run floaters he called it...Floating run... He gave us a : "You only live once speech..." We fell for it!
Waking up was a little hard today but my roommate and I (Leighann) managed to get up and still have a half an hour to spare! I got to breakfast and everyone was asking where my dad was... Turns out his alarm didn't work and I woke him up... Silly dad! We were all very excited for the dive this morning and we head over to the boat! We double dipped a wreck called the Duane! It is also an epic ship wreck full of lots of wild life! :) we got some great video footage today so stay tuned for that! :) The weather was perfectly sunny and both dives were fantastic... As I told Jody today.. They just keep getting better!
In the afternoon after our dive we went to the historical diving museum which was super interesting! They had all the ancient antiques all the way back from the 1700's... And did you know that rebreathers came before regulators... Interesting eh? My dads a rebreather and it looks so complex that's why I found that interesting!