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Published: June 25th 2017
We are PADI Divers! Happy Valentine's Day!
Meet Phari, our diving instructor extraordinaire! Calmness, wisdom, and abundant positive energy. Gonna miss him.
Although we had both taken the PADI Open Water Diving Course almost two decades ago at home in landlocked central Canada, back then we did not have the travel opportunities necessary to apply those skills, and they were subsequently abandoned. The idea to retake the course came to us last year, as we now seem to be often travelling to areas that feature world class dive sites. So we did our research just before leaving the Gilli Islands, and returned to take the course from Diversia - the same scuba dive company that had interested us in 2014.
The course is offered over a three or four day period, and we chose to take it over four days, given that we were not time pressed, and we are both former teachers with a need to go through a pre-test, study, and post-test process for each of the five sections of the course. Simply put, we wanted to get the stuff down so we could feel as comfortable as possible taking on this potentially risky endeavour. It was a very good decision, as the extended time we gave ourselves to go over the theory, plus the two long, very comprehensive pool sessions we received, in addition to the four dives, meant that each of those days was a full eight hour commitment. It was intensive learning, at times physically exhausting, and it would have been crazy for us to try and do it in less time.
We had the added bonus of an extremely good instructor, Phari, part of a team of diving instructors at Diversia Diving who, although very laid back and accommodating, were also very skilled and passionate about their chosen professions. We believe our instructor was exceptionally good, as the level of care and personal attention he gave to us, teaching us as his class of two, left us feeling completely at ease when under eighteen meters of water for over a half hour, on four different dives.
I, in particular, was sold on the idea of taking the course last year when scuba was described to me as very meditative and yoga-like, where you loose yourself in the moment, concentrating on your breathing, and moving as little as possible as you respectfully observe the underwater world. That was entirely my experience, and when I do my yoga practice now I am further reminded of the depth of concentration on my breathing, so I think it is safe to say my scuba experiences are deepening my yoga practice, and vice versa.
I had not expected to feel so at ease and comfortable underwater, but diving feels somehow safer and less intrusive than snorkelling, where you are by comparison splashing around and being invasive, as opposed to simply floating by like just another big fish.
I loved it, and hope that subsequent dives will be as stress free, without the guidance of our wonderful Phari - whom we came to adopt as our "other son", since he is exactly the same age as our own son Tanner, and the fact that he kept calling us Mom and Dad pretty much reinforced that concept.
So our Valentines Present to each other this year was to receive our PADI Open Water Certification on Valentine's Day. Gotta say this is definitely a big one-up on chocolates, and it might be a challenge to match it next year, but we look forward to continuing our water adventures, always in pursuit of the manta rays and everything new and exciting - but no touching . . .
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