PADI: East Marine Dive, Langkawi, Malaysia (Day 1)
- Long, long and uncertain travelling: I don’t really mind the long bit… (though if a long bus journey is avoidable, I do much prefer to cut the journey up in favour of shorter travel)… but the ‘uncertain’ bit can be debilitating… Nico and I left Teluk Daram Resort in Pulau Pangkor at about 7am…a 15-minute shuttle to the port; 30 minute ferry boat back to the mainland; 2 ½ hour wait at Lumut; a 4 ½ hour bus ride to Butterworth; an hour’s wait at the bus station; another 1 ½ hour bus journey to Alor Setar; a 20 minute taxi ride to Kuala Kedah; and, finally, a 1 ½ hour ferry boat from Kuala Kedah to Kuah in Langkawi… yes, this was long… but what made it uncertain was the fact we didn’t know whether we’d find any available tickets to buy during each leg of the above mentioned journey… nonetheless – at 20ish… maybe earlier, maybe later… we were lucky…and managed to arrive at our desired destination… the beautiful (and duty-free) Langkawi.
- So much happening so quickly and in such a short space of time: Singapore. Melacca. Kuala Lumpur in transit. Cameron Highlands. Return to Kuala Lumpur proper. Spend final days with Christian before his return to Germany. Buy Nico’s Christmas / birthday present. See the wonderful Jude and Pippa for two days! See Ryan – my friend from when I went to school in Turkey – that I haven’t seen in 13 years… (who now lives in Kuala Lumpur)… meet and greet Nico at the airport. Go to Pulau Pangkor in time for Christmas Eve. Go to Langkawi. Next morning: begin 4 day PADI course. Bam. Bam. Bam. One thing after the next. You acquire retrospective excitement when you finally have the opportunity to think about it… but it certainly does have the effect of killing anticipation…. that can be a bit poo at times… as we all love a little anticipation, don’t we?
- Oh, the wonderful theory: After a month of learning about learning styles and learning preferences during the Cert TESOL, I can confidently say that I’m really not an auditory learner. When arriving in the classroom to learn the theory of scuba diving, I had a mini-silent panic when the instructor said that we would be completing all of the theory in a day – both teaching and exams – without conducting any ‘self-study’ using the book at home. Ahhh!!!! He doesn’t really expect me to listen to videos from 09am until 16:30 and remember enough to pass a final exam, does he?!?!
- Random facts that I’ve absorbed: Positive vs. negative vs. neutral buoyancy. At 0m/0ft there is 1 bar; at 10m/33 ft, there are 2 bar; at 20 m/66 ft, there are 3 bar; at 30m/99 ft, there are 4 bar… etc. Easy to most… but my brain hurts when I try to think scientifically… O-rings… Yoke valves vs. Din valves… Submersible pressure gauges…alternate air sources… neoprene… la la la la la.
- PADI change of plans: Ran out of time doing theory on Day 1, so they said we’d continue and complete the Final Sections and the Final Exam on Day 2…. Eek. I look forward to getting the theory bit over with…
PADI: East Marine Dive, Langkawi, Malaysia (Day 2)
- Completion of theory!!! After 4 sections – videos and quizzes (… and not very much review or teaching, I’m afraid)… and an additional 2 + hours of theory on Day 2 prior to our confined water dive… we were almost ready to take the theory exam! … after our confined water dive in the pool, we returned to the classroom to complete 50 questions for the Final exam…not my strength. I got 8 wrong…. :S… the most important thing, though, is that my mistakes were mostly silly and I understand the theory components to be able to dive safely.
- Science isn’t my strength: I found two types of question particularly challenging and hard-to-get-my-head-round: the ones on pressure/volume/thickness/density of items when ascending or descending varying depths in the sea… and anything requiring use of the ‘recreational dive planner’. I’m not sure whether the questions I answered incorrectly had anything to do with the above challenges… I’ll find out tomorrow… but questions like:
- Imagine you are an Advanced Open Water Diver. You plan to do three dives. The first dive is an 80 foot dive for 20 minutes followed by a 42 minutes surface interval. The second dive is to 50 feet for 37 minutes followed by a surface interval of one hour. Your third dive is to 50 feet. What would be your maximum allowable bottom time for this third dive?
- Imagine you turn a glass upside down, trap the air in it by putting it in water, and then you take the glass down to 10 metres/ 33 feet. What would happen to the air space in the glass?
- Confined water dive in the pool: Absolutely brilliant. Our instructor, Own, was great. We had an hour’s lesson underwater in the pool without going up to the surface to ask questions or for clarification in between. The lesson was entirely in sign and conducted through demonstration. Absolutely brilliant. 18 skills… hmm, can I remember them? :S 1. Removing the regulator and putting back into mouth… 2. Breathing from your buddy’s alternate air source…3. Getting water out of your mask whilst underwater…4. Removing and putting on mask whilst underwater…5. Removing BCD and putting this back on underwater…6. Removing and replacing inflator underwater…7. Dealing with muscle cramps….8. Towing a tired diver…9. Removing and replacing weight belt…10. Conducting an emergency C.E.S.A. assent….11…. right – I can’t remember them off memory… but they were fun