I started scuba diving back in 1996 and I always wanted to continue my diver education. There was a long gap when I didn’t dive due to getting married and starting a family. But last year I took my students on a class trip to Phuket, Thailand and I was thrilled to get back in the water.
After my first dive there, I felt very comfortable in the water and eventually made more dives during the week while my students were getting there Open Water certification. I was hooked again and I wanted to continue with the next level of education.
So now with our trip planned to Mindoro, Philippines, I researched and found the best place to continue my training. Scandi divers offered everything I needed to move on to the next level. The dive spots were close, the water is healthy with many fishes, and the price was reasonable. Scandi Divers is located in Big Lalaguna Beach, just down from Sabang Beach in Puerto Galera, Philippines.
I made my reservations back in March to take the Rescue Diver course. I was a little nervous signing up as I hadn’t done much diving since my trip to Phuket last year. I completed my Advanced Open Water back in Florida at Ginnie Springs, Florida. I also have Cavern Certification from Ginnie Springs.
First, I had to take the Emergency First Response (EFR) course. This was about a day and I learned a great deal from this class. I also felt more confident in handling a first aid situation.
On the second day I again started in the classroom reading and watching videos on the basics of rescue diving. We hit the water in the afternoon in from of the shop. We used the ocean here instead of the pool because it is a beach dive and is more realistic. My instructor was Rey, and I was the only one in the class. I practiced on the other divemasters and they were a big help in fine tuning my skills.
Rey was very skillful and patient in teaching me the basics and also the finer skills to become a Rescue Diver. Thank you Rey.
This was a challenging class as I needed to draw on all my diving skills to get through. My cavern diving training helped as I was able to better control my breathing and buoyancy in the water so I didn’t waste much energy.
One memory that stands out for me was on my first try bringing up and unresponsive diver when things didn’t go as planned. I made it to the surface okay and managed to remove the divers’ BC and belt while giving rescue breaths, but the problem was there was a strong current at the surface. It was difficult to count out loud, one-one thousand, two one thousand, … ,four one thousand then give a rescue breathe and still tow the diver towards the boat. I kept rescue breathing and towing for about five minutes but the boat was getting further away.
We tried again the next day and I made some small adjustments such as getting the diver more to a 90 degree angle on accent and keeping better control of his BC by adding air then dumping some as we rose up. At the surface, I was able to remove the divers’ gear and continue with the rescue breaths while towing him to the boat. Then, using the technique that Rey taught me in class, I was able to maneuver the diver into the proper position on the boat and then administer the o2.
Another important lesson I learned was to check the type of o2 connection on the boat as it may be different than the one you practiced on in the classroom. This was a challenging course and also a course where I had to draw on all my previous training. I am glad I took this course and if you have and Advanced Open Water certification, you should consider taking it too.