Dive certification

At the beginning of the year, Karianne and I were in Egypt and I went through the first half of the "PADI Open Water" dive certification. The first half earns you the certification "Scuba Diver", which doesn't actually give you much apart from the ability to build on it and get an "Open Water" certification. When we came here, I decided I wanted to finish what I had started and found the Oxford Dive Centre. I had to do about half a day of theory with an exam, a pool dive in an actual swimming pool and an open water dive. The theory was easy enough, it's mostly fairly sensible stuff and some easy maths (addition and subtraction) to find out maximum length of dives. Diving in a swimming pool was odd, but went well enough, even if it was slightly boring more than anything. We were supposed to do all kinds of stuff like regulator recovery, exchanging snorkel and regulator and such. Quite basic stuff, really.

For the open water dives, we went to Stoney Cove, which used to be a granite quarry up until 1958. When they stopped quarrying, it started filling with water and people started diving there. There's a small dive centre there with showers, a place to get some food and drinks and a parking lot. The water was almost choppy and it had been windy for quite a while, so visibility was almost non-existent. The water was surprisingly warm at +14°C, and with a wetsuit, hood, boots, gloves and oversuit, it wasn't too bad either. We mostly did the same exercises we did in the pool as well as some underwater navigation (using a compass). All in all, not too bad, though I got cold by the end of the second dive. 40 minutes in that cold water does that to you, I guess.

All in all, it was a fun experience. I don't think Stoney Cove will be a favourite of mine, as it is too cold and visibility is generally not that good. The team at the Oxford Dive Centre was great and friendly and I'm already considering taking another course there.