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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Open Water Diving with Gill Divers! (Part 1)

I've been wanting to learn diving for the longest longest time and I finally got down to it!

*Disclaimer - Not a sponsored post* 

SSI vs PADI

There are two different international diving organisations / dive companies that conducts dive courses - SSI and PADI. Apparently each one has their merits but there isn't a huge difference. You can dive no matter which company you choose to get certified with! There are companies in Singapore that offer either SSI or PADI - I picked Gill Divers (SSI) only because I have friends diving with Gill Divers previously haha. I didn't do that much research TBH.

Open Water Diver Course

This globally-recognized certification program is the best way to begin your life-long adventure as a certified scuba diver. Personalized training is combined with in-water practice sessions to ensure you have the skills and experience required to become truly comfortable underwater. You will earn the SSI Open Water Diver certification.



To get certified for Open Water Diving, you simply go through the following:
1. Online learning (six chapters)
2. Theory session with test at the end (3.5h)
3. Pool session (7h)
4. Weekend Trip (Bintan/Tioman - I chose Tioman!)

Price: $ 599

Includes: Theory Session, Pool Session, Weekend Trip - Transport, Accommodation, Meals, Equipment Rental
Does not include: Travel Insurance / Marine Park Fee (If applicable) / VISA on Arrival (If applicable)

Online Learning / Theory Session

Let's start with the Online Learning / Theory session!

You basically log into a website where there are some learning materials to go through - From the history of scuba diving to some physics and theory science behind diving (like water pressure, weight of water etc....)

There are quizzes at the end of every chapter which you have to complete and score at least 8/10. During the theory session, an instructor will run you through the material briefly, and then you do a test at the end.

The class was conducted in the evening at Gill Divers at Hong Kong Street - After work hours so no worries for those working office hours!

The passing mark is actually 45/50 - But even if you score slightly lesser, it's ok! The instructor personally will run through the questions you flunked and you're good to go.



Pool Session



Pool session was on a Sunday, reporting time at 9am! Way too early for a Sunday.

Received this reminder email in my inbox with information for pool sesh and obviously my eyes glazed over all the important parts cos the only things I picked out from from this email was "bring your own lunch and water" LOL.

Smart ass me happily appeared for pool session without my swimwear. What a bimbotic moment! I thought that perhaps we would slip into our wetsuits straight away and not have to wear swimwear maybe.

Thankfully I had a set of sportswear in the car so HAHAHA I ended up wearing my sports bra and exercise tights into the pool!

In order to pass the pool session, you have to be able to swim 200m / snorkel 300m and tread / float for 10 minutes!

It was a SUPER hot day goodness!

Please remember to spam on the sunblock like crazy!!! Waterproof sunblock alright. And take oral sunblock too (Like Heliocare) if you have it! I put on sunblock on my face, sprayed sunblock on my arms and even took my IDS Lyco-white pills.... But...

Those tan lines after an entire day in the pool SIGH. On the bright side, I didn't get sunburnt, just extremely tanned.

Lunch break!! Got my priorities so right. I woke up early in the morning just to prep lunch! Toasted hot dogs, prepared buns and even brought condiments along HAHAHAHAHAHA. What a picnic!

Shiok!!

During the course of the day, we were taught how to put on/take off our gear, how to control our buoyancy and other stuff like clearing our masks while underwater and how to do emergency ascends.

The gear was super heavy man. The oxygen tank weighs about 10kg and putting on the buoyancy control device with the tank was a huge weight on the shoulders and restricted my movement so much. It took a bit of practice to get used to breathing through my mouth, as well as get used to staying in the water for such an extended period.

I hated climbing out of the pool most because the gear was so heavy that my knees were nearly buckling under the weight as I struggled up the pool ladder!

So far so good, I've cleared the theory and pool session and what's remaining is the weekend trip to Tioman for the actual open water diving! I hope I won't panic in the water or accidentally do something wrong with my gear. The pool session also made me realise what a hassle diving is! The gear and all that are really no joke.

About the equipment


Basically, Gill Divers provides all the equipment you'll need on a rental basis, but the wetsuits, buoyancy vests and regulators aren't in new condition so some of the gear like the regulators (breathing apparatus) might have really worn out parts like mouth pieces that are grimy or a bit chewed off and stuff lol. Sounds quite gross but oh well it's rental equipment so be prepared!

I also had issues with water entering my mask and I'm considering if I should get my own personal mask!

I think I may also get a full body rash guard because the company only provides us with the short sleeved ones which I don't prefer cos... TAN LINES hahaha. Plus full body ones give more protection!

Generally though, I feel that $600 is a great price to learn a new life skill - Covering everything from theory to pool to the cost of the entire trip!

Even if I don't fall in love with diving and want to go on dive trips all the time, I'm sure I'll enjoy the fact that I CAN dive and will be able to if I happen to visit places with great diving sites such as Fiji or Philippines or even Maldives!!

Can't wait to get fully certified real soon, stay tuned for my Tioman update!
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© Yina Goes

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