I learn’t how to dive at Aquaworld in Cancun in 2008. I wanted to learn to dive with a 5 star rated diving provider and after some research Aquaworld looked the most professional. I did the open water PADI course which was taught intensively from 8am to 5pm over three days.
Aquaworld is a large dive school set right on the beachfront in Cancun. I found a youtube video here that gives a little bit more of an insight of what Aquaworld do as they are a large provider of all different kinds of water based activities such as boat trips to near by islands, fishing trips etc.
I probably under estimated how hard the Padi course would be. It was very tiring being in the pool learning to dive for three days straight – although you can do the Padi course over a longer period, but I only had three days as I was joining a gap trip I had booked after I had completed my diving course. I’ve written a post on my gap trip and you can find it here.
On the first day I spent the morning in the classroom watching safety videos and doing an exam and then by the afternoon I was in one of the specially designed dive pools. I was learning to dive with a maximum of two other people in the pool at the same time. This was good as it allowed one on one time with the instructor. One of the pool exercises was to purposely flood our masks, and then to clear them again. This is important as sometimes if you do not put your mask on properly when you dive it will flood and you will need to know how to clear it. This was one of the most difficult exercises of the whole course because it felt very unnatural to have water surrounding my face and yet still breathe through my mouth.
The second day was spent in the pool doing various exercises. One these was being able to take off your BCD (your dive jacket / tank) underwater and then be able to put it on again. This was a hard exercise as I found the BCD quite heavy and cumbersome and as I am only small (5ft 3′) I found it pretty tiring.
The first half of the third day was spent finishing off exercises in the pool and then doing my final exam in the classroom. At 1pm we took a boat out to do two open water dives in order to qualify. The water was a little choppy so I starting feeling a little sea sick, however the dive instructor let me get in the water first so that it would stop my sea sickness – which it did. When I got underwater I couldn’t believe how clear the water was – we swam along the reef and saw so many fish. It is surreal to see fish so close to you – you feel like a fish yourself!
Whilst on the open water dive you have to also do some of the exercises that you learn in the pool. One of these was to take your mask off underwater and then put it on again and clear it. I admit that I didn’t like this exercise in the pool, but doing it underwater was a whole different story. I’m not normally panicky, but when I had to take my mask off at the bottom of the ocean – I panicked. If you are reading this and you are a diver you will know that holding your breath whilst underwater in the open ocean is one of the worst things you can do. However I panicked and that’s exactly what I did – held my breath. Luckily my dive instructor knew what to do and he pinched my nose which allowed me to breathe through my mouth.I decided not to try that exercise again on that dive, however after speaking to my dive instructor on the boat afterwards he encouraged me to try it again on my second dive – if I couldn’t do it then he couldn’t pass me. Luckily on my second dive I was able to compose myself enough and do it.
Throughout the two open water dives there was a guy filming and we were given the opportunity to purchase the DVD at the end – which I did. I wanted to upload the footage to youtube for you to watch but I can’t get the footage off the DVD.
Although looking back the course was hard and intensive, I’m glad that I did it and would really like to try to dive more, however living in the UK, diving in cold murky waters doesn’t appeal to me as much as diving in warm tropical waters!