Last week, I did something very exciting and new: I got certified for SCUBA. After finishing an extremely long and boring e-learning course (Fins are very helpful while SCUBA diving. True or false?) in the kitchen of our previous stop with Arturo’s family, spent Monday morning with our instructor Georgia training in the pool. And the company we did it with (Oceans Unlimited) happens to share a pool with the hostel we were staying at in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. We practised skills like removing our regulators and putting them back in, flooding and clearing our mask underwater, which is actually easier than it sounds, and removing the mask altogether and spending a minute underwater before putting them back on and clearing them.
The next morning, we went out in a boat for our first ever dive in open water. However, things didn’t exactly go as planned, as we had to search for about an hour for a dive site that didn’t have huge swells or horrible underwater visibility due to the big storm the night before. Althought Kaia had done very well in the pool session, she was very anxious in the boat, and when we finally found somewhere we could dive, Kaia decided she really didn’t want to continue. On top of that, my dad’s mask fell off and sank to the bottom when we rolled off the boat! Luckily, he could use Kaia’s mask and we went down about 40 ft.and saw a few cool fish. My mom and dad were pretty anxious down there because they couldn’t see more than about 8 ft, and my dad was really struggling with equalising the pressure in his ears. But all’s well that ends well.
Wednesday’s conditions were still bad, so instead, we went to the Manuel Antonio National Park, and spent the day swimming at a beautiful beach, and we even saw a mother and baby sloth! But on Thursday, conditions were much better, and we had to get 3 more dives in to get certified. So Georgia, my mom, my dad and I headed out and rolled in back-first (this time without losing anything) and went down the line to about 35. Most of the first 2 dives were spent practising more skills that we did in the pool (like taking off our masks and regulators and doing an emergency ascent). But my dad was really having problems equalising with the pressure going down and coming up, so didn’t come on the last dive. He was deaf in his left ear for the rest of that day and the next, but seems to be getting better now. But my mom and I went down for the last dive, here are the statistics:
Dive site: Starfish gardens
Depth: 12 metres, or 40 feet
Bottom time: 34 minutes
Sightings: Triggerfish, small colourful fish which I don’t know their name, a small stingray,lots of starfish
Final result: One really cool experience!
Now that my mom and I are both certified as open water divers, and my dad is certified as a SCUBA diver (he must stay close to the divemaster at all times while diving), we will be able to dive in places like the Galapagos, Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia, and other countries that we’ll be visiting on our trip. Kaia is looking forward to snorkelling, And with our GoPro camera, we will be able to show people the current health of the underwater world, which fits in nicely with our sustainability-themed trip. So far, this was one of the highlights of our trip for me!