Monday, September 22, 2008

PADI Open Water Day 4: Exam, and an eventful day

Last evening, Mohamed Sammy told me to be at the diving center at 7:30 in the morning, so I had an early breakfast (fortunately, the restaurant opens at 7:00). We then headed for the Sharks Bay –after collecting Bianca and a British diver, Charlotte - where we boarded the Sodfa, a diving boat, after passing security. The corals in the Sharks Bay – a few meters from the shore – were full of life.

We stopped by the wreck of Lullia – a Soviet ship who fell victim to the drunkedness of its crew in 1981, then we snorkeled – a good opportunity for me to practice my frog kick.

We had the first boat dive at 9:30 am – 37 minutes at the depth of 6 meters, where we practiced several skills (mask flooding and clearing, CESA, buddy breathing, etc), then we went back to the boat where I continued my study of the tables. Lacking a mathematical brain, I found the diving tables quite difficult – but not impossible, so eventually I mastered them. At 2 PM we had our final dive for the PADI Open Water course – and what a dive it was! We went down to 18 meters (the maximum depth for an Open Water diver) and we had fun … the sea was teeming with “life aquatic”, as Steve Zissou would say. I managed to snap some photos – my first underwater pics – but as I only have an underwater film camera, they have to be processed and then scanned. Hopefully, I will buy a digital camera with underwater casing. When surfacing, I checked my mobile phone and, alas, I had 9 missed calls and an SMS from a colleague of my dad, urging me to call my dad immediately! Fearing the worst, I called dad on his mobile – with no result – and then I called home – where nobody answered. I was scared, believing something horrible had happened, so I called Tecu, my dad’s colleague, to learn that a Romanian has been kidnapped in Egypt and dad was afraid that I may be him! If I had my sense of humor with me at that time, I would have told Tecu that it is true, and that the kidnappers want Shushu in exchange…

We then headed back to Sharks Bay, then to the diving center, stopping in the desert for a short photo-op. The Sinai desert is amazing as it looks strikingly similar to planet Mars.

When we arrived at the diving center, we went to the classroom for the final section, we did some table calculations, then we had the final exam. In the middle of the exam, we heard a strong noise – and we run in front of the hotel, where two cars knocked into eachothers. Fortunately, the guys were allright. Returning to the classroom for the exam, we continued with the questionnaire and, after submitting it, I got my final mark – 90%. I am a Padi Open Water diver now – or, as I like to call a diver – an aquanaut. I then got my dive logbook for a rather inflated price, and had it stamped. All in all, these four very intensive days were my favorite school ever. We had a lot of fun, but the PADI Open Water course is no joke, the instructor was very serious, and I can recommend him to everybody.