Wednesday 10 September 2008

6th & 7th September 08

Date: 6th and 7th September 08
Location: Nhkata Bay, Malawi
Weather: Hazy sunshine, wind picked up then dropped and a perfectly calm evening. 32°c
Status: Another qualification under my belt and a personal goal achieved.

Both days which I’ll cover here in this diary have been spent studying hard for my PADI Open Water dive with Aqua Africa and Dusty our fantastic South African teacher.

To start the morning off with a bang I’ve been up at first light and down at the restaurant to meet up with Craig, my dive buddy, and Belinda another student on the course. From there Craig and I have swum the 600m across the bay to the dive school in time for the commencing of lessons at 8.30am.

Although the swimming isn’t great training for another marathon it is good for all round fitness and to get the heart rate pumping again. Something I haven’t done for a week or so now so feel good in myself.

The course has been a mixture of classroom teaching and open water dives all aimed at building our confidence and experience in the water, so that things become second nature and automatic when we get to dive in the future.

A total of three dives out in the lake have given us the experience we need and have also been amazing fun as the guys I’m studying with are a pretty good fun lot. We’ve seen all manner of fish in a vast array of colours, had some good times and also a couple of scary moments at 14m below when I struggled to clear my mask and ended up chocking on a nose full of water. It scared the crap out of me and made me think quite how easy it is to end your life there and then… my good friend Guy did many years ago.

I passed the 50 question exam albeit with a coupe of wrong answers and then we headed out on our final dive and it was awesome! The stress of learning and the impending exam had gone and we all enjoyed it that much more, then the offer came of a night dive, something that really couldn’t be refused!!

After the Open Water had finished we read up about Adventure Diving and the night dive ahead, we met other people who were also to be with us, got our kit together and headed out as the sun had just set back onto the lake.

All equipped as before except with powerful torches each, we dropped off the side of the boat into the darkness below and what a different world it was…..totally different to the one we’d experienced in all of our previous dives.

Once on the bottom we sat and turned all of our torches off and sat and watched the moon above for a while before setting off to see the nightime predators on the prowl. We spotted Dolphin Fish who would swim right into our light beams and touch us, they’re about 50cms long and use the light to hunt out smaller fish which they grabbed from right in front of our eyes! The other multitude of fish which are so evident in the day time were hiding from view and sleeping in crevasses so we couls swim right up to them and touch them before they woke up and darted off into the darkness.

After 40 mins we returned to the surface overjoyed by the last 5 days and made our way to the dock, qualified as divers with one extra dive towards the next level under our belts.

Bed early as exhausted

End of day location: Nhkata Bay, Malawi
Distance covered: 0kms

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