My Advanced Open Water Certification Dive: The Good, The Bad - Well I Passed!

by Denis

This is a good example for planning, backup and always expect the unexpected to happen.

I was taking my Advanced Open Water dive off the Cape Fear River Coast, North Carolina.

There were two dives scheduled, both were deep dive's @90 ft., on sunken Liberty Ship Wrecks.

I need to make clear - the scuba shop, the crew, the instructors, my buddies, the water (60 ft visability), sea life (17ft tiger, fish abound, jellyfish mating), warm water @80 degrees, calm sea and brillant NC Blue Sky.

It was the perfect day to dive - until.

I hadn't dove in a few months, so I'll admit I was a little rusty. My last dive I needed a few extra pounds so I figure that's how I should start the day - not good.

As I stood up to leave the boat, the extra weight I was carrying in my BCD rocked me back and as I put my hand back to catch myself my mask fell behind me and of course my tank crunched my mask.


As fortune would have it my buddy had a spare. I made the quick adjustment to the strap, a single spit, a burst of air into the BCD and off the back of the boat I stepped.

The next two dives the view was through a trickle of Alantic Ocean Water though I could clear it enough to continue.

It did make the Tiger a little larger than the 17ft, as it swam by me!

Once on the bottom in the middle of the deep dive certification my computer lost it's life. Again I was fortunate that the dive was ending, and with the help of my buddy the ascent was done slowly about 30 ft a minute with a 15ft saftey stop.

On the boat we tried to repair the computer, but it was a no go for the 2nd dive. As experince would have it, there was another computer/reg available for use so I could continue.

As I left the boat on the 2nd dive, I made note that the breathing volume was set to low. I was sucking air way too much on the way down and started to lag behind on the decent line.

I made up the time by swiming through a pod a mating JellyFish. I was wearing a full 3mm wetsuit with boots and gloves, so I was fearing no problem. I also have to add, I don't exactly have a full head of hair and the reflection of the back of my head could blind a bull if close enough.

Well who would figure at about 70 ft going down about to reach the wreck, with blue sky, big fish, and a floating pod of mating Jellyfish, (they are pretty), I got stung on the top of my head! You could have heard my scream to Paris, if I hadn't been in 70 ft of water.

Well I completed the dive, red eyed from sea water, 400 PSI left in the tank, sucking in more than normal, and a burning, stinging head.

Back on board I was told to put some vinegar on the sting, (we were 20 miles off shore - no 7-11 in sight.).

I passed the Advanced Open Water certification but I have learned a few valuable lesson.

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