Just after I had finished my second blog, a telephone call from Bunaken brought good news:
There had been a last minute request for an open water course. So I got over there the next day and that was the beginning of a great week.
The week started off with me doing the Underwater naturalist specialty with Tina. This specialty really showed me the difference between hard and soft coral. I learned that there are many different species of algae and that algae can be very pretty. I saw my first candycrab and also recognized many different species within families with very complicated names. I also tried to find species that were living in symbioses. Unfortunately I didn’t find as many as I would have liked to (although we probably passed a lot). After this specialty I really need to buy a new reefbook and get into this stuff more!
The day after my specialty, the open water course started and I was able to stay with the students during their entire course. It was nice to see how fast they progressed (after the first open water dive on which I had difficulties letting them dive without holding them: it felt a bit like mother goose having to let go of her young). Yesterday they passed the course with flying colours. It was great fun to also be able to join them on their first dive outside of the course. One of the students took her camera out and went ballistic. She kept taking pictures of everything around her including herself and her newly certified dive buddy.
One evening while being in Bunaken, I also assisted on a night dive specialty dive and yesterday afternoon Dion found the time in his tremendously busy schedule to do the skills assessment with Bas (other DMT in Bunaken) and me. After the skills yesterday Bas and I did the equipment exchange. For those of you who do not know what that’s about:
It’s descending while buddy breathing (yes both from just one regulator). Than on the bottom exchanging fins, BCD and mask while still buddy breathing and than surface while buddy breathing. I was a bit worried about this test before I did it, but it turned out to be great fun! We came up laughing out loud and I just couldn’t get a smile of my face a complete hour after that.
Thank you Dion for being my mentor last week (eventhough you kept calling me “Karoline” in the beginning).
Today I had a very smooth trip back to Lembeh, where I finished the skin diving skills and the last two swimtests (100m. inert diver tow (nearly drowned myself on that one) and 800 m. swim face down with just mask, snorkel and fins.
It was a very busy but very rewarding week. Only one week to go!