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We are a group of four ladies. One started diving many years ago. While I started diving two years ago. The other twos started early this year with one speeding up to her advanced level a few months later. I try to dive at least once every three months because if longer than that, I will need to “restart” the process of understanding everything all over again – the ease of getting myself into the water and enjoying it while hoping I can do it better after each dive, until it becomes something more natural for me to do like when I go snorkeling.
About the experiences, one is a seasoned diver. She loves diving, just that not as avid as she used to be. “For now, I think two dives a day is good enough for me. Sometimes, three dives are too much.” She prefers slower dives with ample time to enjoy the excursion. While I, if there is a chance to dive more, I would love to do it. Else, it is okay. Probably, for me, diving is not only about enjoying the underwater but also a chance to gather and spending time with friends. For the other two, one is not getting many chances to dive while the other one who already got her advance level certification, she dives frequently.
[ Read: Dive & Conserve with Livingseas ]
Then, one day, we decided to set a day to practice in the swimming pool to review and improve whatever we need to together. As we know, once we are in the ocean with other divers, we don’t really have that time luxury to practice. We get into the real thing right away most of the time. It is our own responsibility to get ourselves prepared for our next diving, I think. And the more we practice, the more we can do it better and correctly which as a result, the more we will be able to enjoy the dives.
PADI ReActivate Scuba Refresher Program
My friends tried to contact two dive centers we know of and in the end, we chose Bubble Dive Centre over the other because they have BCD jackets for practice which most of us preferred. The dive centre is located in Central Jakarta. Fortunately, we went there on the weekend and the road traffic was not as bad as the usual working days.
After everyone arrived, we did not head to the swimming pool right away but we were brought to the long meeting table in their office where we had to do some paper theory test prior to the practice. While looking at the theory paper with multiple choice questions distributed to us, I must tell you, I didn’t see this coming. One of my friends even asked jokingly whether she could cancel to join the session and asked for a refund because of this test.
All of us didn’t expect this.
So, we were actually going through the ReActivate Scuba program by PADI (it was called Refresher Scuba Program then) which is targetted for those who have not dived for six months and longer or for those who need to refresh their skills. Among the four of us, only one of us who has not been diving the last six months. Even one of us just went diving last week. Knowing so, our Instructor for that day, Mr. Oktaf, was puzzled.
“So, why you all signed up for this session?”
We looked at each other and laughed. It is different from what we expected. Well, in some ways, it was good to be reminded with some theory that seems to be too basic but we might have forgotten. We went through the questions one by one and there were about 25 questions in total. For the wrong answers, Mr. Oktaf did some explanation. At least, all of us got around 75% correct for the theory test. Well, the rest of 25%, the questions are just too tricky. Really, seriously tricky.
Practice in Pool Session
After the theory session, we headed to the swimming pool located just behind their shop, still within the dive center area. There is only one swimming pool and it is divided into two areas – one half is the shallow pool that probably less than 1.5 m deep. And another half is the 7 m deep pool. Before we got into the pool, we were told to set up our own gears and what the dos and don’ts when setting up.
After that, then we started the session with mask clearing, take off and wear our mask back followed by how to do air sharing if our dive buddy runs out of air, and so on – all those skills that we have learned before during our Open Water Course that we hope we never need to do it in real. We were supervised one by one when doing it so that our Instructor could correct us if we did it wrong.
We also practice our buoyancy control so that we can move more smoothly and hover easily. I think buoyancy control is a skill that can only be learned over time through plenty of practice. And yes, having achieved a level of proper buoyancy control, it will allow us to approach a reef without the risk of damaging the reef by contact. So, we practice not only for ourselves but for the sake of the reefs, too!
We ended our session about 1.5 hours later after my friend finished her practice on how to deploy the SMB (Surface Marker Buoy). Our tummy couldn’t compromise, we were starving after the pool session. We showered quickly and headed for our late lunch at Padang Restaurant and ended it with The Addams Family movie.
Although at first, we seemed to have signed up for a wrong class, I still think that day was a fruitful day. As I mentioned earlier, once we are already in the ocean with other divers, we don’t have that time luxury to practice anymore. It is our responsibility to prepare ourselves now, not later.
Do you think this is something new that you would like to learn? Let me know your thoughts about it in the comment box below.