We slowly descend in the warm water. We use all the skills we have practiced in confined water and also in previous dives. It is the last dive in our Junior Open Water Diver course and we are just going to enjoy and practice what we have learned.
It is quiet. We only hear the sounds from our breathing. Bubbles are forming and race towards the surface. Our students equalize as they should, find a good position in the water and establish neutral buoyancy. It feels good to see that they already are comfortable and follow our instructions. One diver obviously has some trouble equalizing but does exactly as the manual says and ascends a bit and tries again. Our instructor, Julienne, is close and available to assist if there would be any discomfort. Everybody is ready and I take the lead slowly swimming above the most amazing coral formations and surrounding fish.
Summer school at Stairway and EACY Dive School is held in a fantastic classroom. We have spent some time with theory classes, practiced some exercises in confined water before we got to the open water dives. There is a lot to learn. Physics of course but also math, biology and environmental awareness. Plus all the practical skills we need to master. We laugh, get serious, and ask for attention, but most of all have a lot of fun. Our students are so willing to learn in order to get the final reward–the dive sites outside of Sabang. So here we are, slowly gliding through the magnificent underwater landscape.
Our students are a bit occupied playing around but they are very interested, when we say hello to a clown fish family in one big anemone. Suddenly we pass above a well-hidden green sea turtle and we all get very excited. We hover a bit (good practice) and stay a while to enjoy its presence. The turtle finally glides effortless through the water and disappears and we continue and eventually end the dive. At the surface the chatter about the turtle starts immediately. The students are so happy and this dive concluded their journey. They are now certified PADI Junior Open Water Divers with a good knowledge about diving, but also about taking care of the environment and dive responsibly.
Our instructor, Julienne and I made a “high five” after we finished. It was of course challenging but also very rewarding to see the kids learn and enjoy. Before our kids went on their trip back home I asked what their favorite moment was. I think we all agreed; we saw a turtle! Click here to see the incredible underwater photos.
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Contributed by Magnus Peterson, SFI volunteer, who is studying to become a dive master! Photo: Julienne Evangelista