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Mexico 1998/99

¤ In Cancun - Aquaworld ¤ Theory - Pool Sessions - Open Water ¤ Fun Dives - Pre-Dive - Under Water - Problems ¤ Conclusion ¤


The theoretical instruction was so-so. I had three instructors and lessons in two

Arturo, sorting out our tanks
Arturo, sorting out our tanks
languages. I started (alone) in German and was then asked if I minded sharing the tuition with Eero, a Finnish guy, in English. This wouldn't have been a problem at all if both the instructor teaching and the one correcting and then discussing our tests with us had had a good grasp of the language, which, however, wasn't the case. In retrospect I have to say that the theoretical instruction lacked both substance and quality. I couldn't believe that it was possible for someone who had answered every single question on the dive tables wrong to pass the test. Luckily our open water instructor noticed that and helped Eero to understand PADI's Recreational Dive Planer.

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Pool Sessions

The quality improved with the pool sessions. The Pool itself was dead cold - I was quite glad I had invested in a shorty. The pool consisted of two parts, one (5m x 5m) had a depth of about 1,5m, the other part (also 5m x 5m) had a depth of about 4m. For a small group I think this is more or less a perfect pool to start the diving instruction in. At first I was in a group with five other students; at the end of the pool

All of us together: Graham (UK) A.N. (D) Eero (Fin) & Mike (USA)
session, however, the group size had shrunk to three students (two guys from Japan couldn't swim and then couldn't understand why they weren't allowed to proceed, one had problems equalizing his ears). The pool training was quite good and the instructor quite thorough. I felt never under pressure, as all of the exercises were repeated until everyone felt really comfortable doing them.

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Finally: Open Water

A new group again, but together again with Eero. Nationality-wise we were well mixed: Mike from the US, Graham from England, Eero from Finland, me from Germany and of course Arturo, our open water instructor from Mexico. Arturo collected us at the quay and gave us a pre-boat briefing, rightly suspecting that none of us had ever been on a big dive boat before. Afterwards we got on board and got another briefing from Arturo during our 1/2 hour trip to the Manchones reef. We discussed the exercises we would be doing during our first open water session and he explained what we could expect to see during the dive. During the briefing I got the impression that Arturo had a sense of humour, knew what he was talking about and that he would be an easy-going, competent instructor.

One of the exercises: emergency ascent

I wasn't wrong. Arturo proved to be a very careful, competent diving instructor. All of the training units were explained to us in detail, then demonstrated and patiently practised. An exercise didn't finish when each of us had managed to do it once, but was repeated again and again until we became really proficient. One of the exercises was a free emergency ascent from 10m, an exercise many organisations don't practice anymore for fear of accidents, but one I think should be part of any dive instruction. You take the regulator out of your mouth, exhale slowly (extremely important - without that there is a high risk of a lung rupture due to the expanding air) and then ascend slowly (<10 m/min). Arturo grabbed our BCD, held his second regulator just inches in front of our mouths, checked that we did in fact exhale and taht we didn't exceed the ascension speed. He always gave us a feeling of comlete safety! Although this exercise is quite controversial, I must say that this is probably the best exercise of them all - it is mentally quite liberating to know how far you get with just one breath of air!

During the so-called under water tour following the exercises, Arturo proved an attentive guide, pointing out the beauty of the reef to us. The course was really good fun and our group was excellent: we got on really well. After we had been certified, we had a great time at the bar drinking cocktails while we waited for the Graham's under water pictures to be developed.

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