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Winter Vacation - Puerto Galera, the Philippines 2007/01/09

The make-or-break day

View Winter Vacation 2006 on agc_cwm's travel map.

Andrew's Day -

I woke up and reminded myself of what I told Court, "I'll keep goiong and everything will click and I'll be ok. Or, it won't." I figured if it didn't click, I gave it a shot and I only wasted a week on the beach in the Philippines (which I don't think you can actually waste). We had breakfast and made our way for the dive shop at 9. I was going to do some more skill work and Court was off to do some dives.

We were either going to do our skills out in the water or if it was still rough we were going to go to a pool to do our skill work. We arrived and looked out and let me tell you, The sea was angry my friend. I think it was mad that it didn't eat me yesterday, but I'm not sure.

We got suited up in our gear and decided to hit the pool next door. Which was what I needed to do, this way insted of worrying about doing the skills, breathing under water, sharks, squids, lionfish, jellyfish, sea snakes, crushing "Nemo", any of the other things I had convinced myself to worry about, or even worse, the things I didn't know I needed to be worried about. Instead of this we just had to concentrate on doing the skills.

We got in the water while a little girl was swimming around the surface of the pool. (side note: most classes start by learning and doing the skills in the pool. This is how Courtney' open water course was 10 years ago. They say that usually here the water is so calm it's like a pool. But, for us it wasn't). We reviewed all the skills from the day before. We both (me and the other guy taking the course) filled our masks all the way up and emptied them with no problems at all. Then we took our mask off and had to put it back on after swimming around. Again, no problems. We did some other buouancy exercises and practiced removing our scuba units while in the water. Compared to yesterday we both did remarkably well.

We got out of the pool, cleaned our gear and relaxed, both feeling a lot more confident. I also thought at this point, "Hey, maybe I can do this." We broke for lunch and we ate lunch at the hotel and discussed how much the pool helped.

We went back after lunch not knowing if we were doing videos or diving. It turned out that we were diving. At this point we were as nervous about going under the water. We went out into the calmer water and did all the skills that we practiced. I was a lot more relaxed and actually looked at things that were under the water. I saw lots of different fish that I swear weren't there the day before. I also saw some eels and something scurry across the sea floor; I think it was a big shrimp.

After the skills we dropped down to 12m, swam around for a while, then went back in. I left the water and actually thought that it was actually fun and maybe there is hope for me. Once we got out of our gear we took some time to clean up, then watched our last two videos and called it a day.

Courtney's Day-

Andrew was doing his dive in the morning, I went into Sabang to hunt down a fish ID book. The hunt yielded a book about dive sites around Puerto Galera, and it was way cheaper than the other ID books, so I picked it up and went back to the hotel to shower and prepare for my first dive.

I arrived at the dive shop at 11:30 and was briefed about the wreck we were going to look at. I geared up and we headed out to it at noon. This time everything went rather smoothly. I finally got over myself and enjoyed the dive a lot.

There were three wrecks: a yacht, a fishing boat and some other thing. They were all covered with sealife. We descended into the middle of a school of batfish and chromis; way cool. We looked around the wrecks and saw frogfish, lionfish, porcupinefish, pipefish, morays, cuttlefish and so many more. It was pretty amazing. I thought I kept pretty good control of my buoyancy. It was a pretty great dive and I was feeling very confident afterward.

I asked my dive instructor if he couldrecommend a fish ID book I could buy, but he said the local ones were too expensive to buy, and that I could borrow the one from the dive shop. I gratefully did, and spent some time looking up the things I had seen. I had about an hour before my next dive, so I went back to the hotel, rinsed my suit, ate lunch and headed back to the shop.

My next dive was the navigation dive. I had to complete 4 tasks:
1) Count swim kicks to estimate distance (26 kicks=30 m)
2) Make a figure 8 around 2 rocks and come back to the start
3) Swim a straight line out 20 kicks and back 20 using a compass
4) Swim a square using the compass and arriving close to the start.

I flew through these in ~25 minutes (including the time it took to enter and exit the surf) After this I borrowed another fish ID book from the dive shop so I could write what I saw. I came home, showered and waited for Andrew to arrive.

We hung out, talked about our experiences, then went to supper. After supper we went to the internet cafe, where Andrew called home and I emailed. We then made our way back down the beach to our hotel, where we studied, journalled and relaxed after another full day.

Posted by agc_cwm 02:50 Archived in Philippines

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