Another 7:00am wake up call to breakfast (which, as always, consisted of a small amount of cereal), and then myself and Faye hitched a ride with Ed down to Puerto Colon. Ed was still a little miffed about the whole situation, but me and Faye just kept on. This was a welcome break from the epic work load.
The day consisted of two dives – our final contained (‘learn the skills’) dive, and then the first actual scuba dive. The first contained dive was just like the last one – we went down with a teacher called Mica, plus another PADI student who was a bit younger than us. The other student ran into a few hiccups, but me and Faye went through all the skills just fine this time. Even the skill I’d had trouble with last time – breathing through a leaking oxygen pipe – went fine. Mica was evidently impressed. During the lesson, another teacher named Jaime floated down upside down into the lesson. He taunted Mica, and then removed her mask right in front of us. She quickly retaliated by taking hers back and stealing his as well, keeping both to herself. Jamie floated back to the surface defeated, while all of us novice divers tried not to laugh.
I still had problems controlling my buoyancy underwater, so when we left for a little mini ‘practice dive’ after the lesson, I got a bit worried. It was actually a lot easier for me to move through the water than it was to remain motionless on the ocean floor. However, due to a rookie error, I ended up floating up rapidly to the surface due to having too much air in my jacket. I re-pressurized my ears all the way up, stopping them from being damaged. On the boat during the return to Puerto Colon, Mica said she was keen to see me on the next dive – she had a feeling that I’d be much better than I was giving myself credit for.
The second dive took place literally minutes after the first one had finished. This was the first proper scuba dive – me and Faye prepped all our own equipment, and made sure it was all working okay. Out at sea, we then had a new skill to learn (one I wasn’t looking forward to all that much actually) – the backwards roll off the boat into the sea. A teacher called Amy went in and showed us how to do it properly. Then Jaime somersaulted in and showed us how not to do it. Me and Faye rolled out into the sea successfully – the sun was so hot, I was actually really looking forward to getting into the cold sea again. Faye had a little panic, but quickly recovered.
Jaime was then revealed to be our guide for this first dive, whilst the other teachers gave tourists ‘try dives’ all around us. Faye, Jaime and myself dove down steadily all the way to the bottom of the ocean floor. We then started exploring all the rocks that littered the bottom of the bay. We saw a squid, a few eels, lots of tropical fish, and Jaime doing a handstand on the sea floor. Then Jaime pointed to somewhere behind me – I thought he was pointing to Faye. Then the quintessential sea turtles appeared – three in total – free for us to touch and tickle. The turtles left, and I then started to play around with a few somersaults of my own.
Mica noticed me as she took a tourist down, and nodded her head as she saw me corkscrewing through the water. She was right – I’d got the hang of this pretty quick. That said, I had few issues with pressurizing my ears during some of the deeper parts – nothing serious, and nothing that I couldn’t remedy by rising a few meters to take the pressure off momentarily. It was a really amazing feeling to be scuba diving meters above the ocean floor – literally, as the organization’s name suggests, it was effectively zero gravity.
I noticed that my re-pressurizing and somersaults had perhaps used up my oxygen a lot quicker than Faye had, so I soon returned to the surface with Mica and her tourist, leaving Faye down at the bottom to carry on practicing. At the surface, I attached my gear to the boat, then practiced trying to swim like a dolphin on the surface – where you put your arms over your head, and then ‘undulate’ your body to weave in and out of water spaces.
Faye came up not long after, and we returned the dive centre. We completed the last of the questions from the test – we both passed with flying colours. Faye booked her final diving day for Friday – however, due to climbing Teide that day (4,000 meters above sea level), the pressure change would cause me to get decompression sickness, so I booked my final dive for Monday instead.
Sara needed to run some errands at Puerto Colon, so she kindly offered to pick me and Faye up from the port whilst she was in the area. When we got back to El Desierto, I quickly smashed out the turtle video second rough cut, so I had two videos to show for the meeting in the evening.
Everyone – including Ed – really liked my ReacTeam video. It was clearly the most complex video of the lot of them – most other had simply featured interviews of volunteers in the El Desierto house. The turtle video had some problems with volume levels, but nothing that didn’t take a few minutes to correct. I was told to make the ReacTeam video better, meaning it was another 2:00am job tonight as well. I re-edited several shots, and even added some turtle footage to it. Whilst I’d been diving, Lara and Sara had recorded an extra audio part for the video, which I slotted in at a convenient place.
We were actually all finished by 1:00am, meaning I got an ‘early night’. I found out that my course mate Emma had had a few problems with creating her videos, and also another video created for a Romanian Castle restoration project needed completely re-shooting.