Trip Start Jan 24, 2007
76Trip End Jan 11, 2009
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The dive centre is a complex with a pool, bar, restaurant etc in the middle of a kind of nature reserve - all the instructors and customers stay on site which is cool.
I moved my stuff into my tent then I met our instructor, Nicky, and Andrew, my fellow 'advanced diving' student.
We planned 2 dives for tomorrow - the drift dive and the navigation dive so I spent the rest of the evening reading the manual and answering the knowledge reviews in preparation.
Tuesday 6th: I was woken at 6am by the inside of the tent suddenly getting really light....the bottom zipper on the tent is broken and when I opened my eyes I was confronted by a vervet monkey peering in at me!! The monkeys apparently often raid the tents for food so after this little encounter I made sure that my bags were always locked up, even though there was no food in them.
I got up at 6.30am for the first dive at 8am. The beach is a 20minute drive from the complex so everyone gets onto a trailer which is pulled by a tractor to the beach 45minutes before the dive.
The sea was pretty rough, but once we were under water it wasn't so bad, and it was amazingly warm (around 24degrees). This was my first sea dive and it was amazing - the coral reef is beautiful and sooo many fish!!
The second dive was cancelled due to the bad weather and rough sea so we spent the afternoon studying.
In the evening there was a huge thunderstorm which was amazing and went on most of the night - it was just like the one in Durban, but of course it sounded much louder in my tent!! My tent was unfortunately positioned really close to the generator which came on automatically when the power went off....it sounded like there was a jet engine about to take off...so I didn't get much sleep!!
Wednesday 7th: Our first dive was scheduled for 7.30am so I was up just after 6am to get the shuttle at 6.45am. We were joined today on the advanced course by a really nice Dutch couple, Margo and Fred.
We went out to 9mile reef for the Deep dive and on the way we came across some dolphins so we all jumped off the boat and snorkelled with them for a while. There was a mother with her baby and it was amazing to watch how they swam really close together so the mother could protect it.
We dived to 30meters - sometimes you can go a bit do-lally at that depth with nitrogen narcosis so we did a few simple maths exercises to check....and we were all fine. We also took an empty plastic bottle down with us to see what the pressure did to it - it was totally crushed at that depth. We also took a raw egg down and broke it under water - the pressure kept the egg together!!
We stayed on the beach and went back in for the navigation dive at 11am - again we did some exercises with the compass on the beach and under that water and afterwards we swam around looking at the fish ....we were really lucky and saw a massive potato bass which I'd say was just over a meter long and we also saw a huge turtle.
We finished off the studying in the afternoon - in the evening I watched a movie and had an early night.
The weather is really quite pants here at the moment - rain, rain and more rain...and another thunderstorm!!
Thursday 8th: First dive was at 7.30am again - we did the multilevel dive first and then the fish identification dive at 11am. I never thought I'd be able to get the hang of which fish is which, but I've actually mastered some of them - not the exact fish type, just by their fishy 'family'!!! I can tell my butterfly fish from my surgeon fish and a wrasse from a snapper!!
At the end of this dive I was officially declared an 'advanced diver' - hoorah!! This means I am now qualified to dive to 30meters :o)
I spent the afternoon watching movies - I watched the Pink Panther and then an English guy called Rob brought along Face off, so we watched that too.
In the evening, Margo, Rob, Fred and I sat in the bar chatting.
Friday 9th: I got up at 6.30am to go and do a 'fun dive' but the weather was too bad and the sea was too rough to go out :o( It was OK by 11am, but it was too late for me as a taxi was picking me up at 12.30. I went to the beach with the others and took some photos, then wandered back to camp to await my pick-up.
The taxi took me back to Bushlands where I caught the Baz Bus to Swaziland.