I finished all of my OW Dives at Easy Divers, Habitat, Curacao the first week of September and received my OWD Certification!!
Everything went really well. I did all of my class room studies and tests here in Ohio and confined dives in the pool. Brought my records and recommendation down with me, and signed up for the class. There was only one other guy in the class, so it was like having personal lessons. It was such a difference being in the tumultuous (or at least rough) Caribbean Sea verses the calm still pool. I had never worn a wetsuit and the salt water really gave me a lot of buoyancy. Only weighing 100 pounds (wet), I actually needed 8 lbs of weight. The temp at the surface was 90 and below only got down to 85, so staying warm was never an issue. Wore a 3mm shortie and used the smaller tank. Got stung by a jelly fish - ouch that hurt, but I wore that red blotch with pride. Using the computer made things a lot easier. Loved navigation. By the time I was finished with my certification, my legs were so tired, I could hardly even climb up all the steps from the dive center.
A few days later, after covering my strength, I signed up for my first OW boat dive. That day, the boat was full, about 14 people. The Sea was very rough and current strong. I was buddied up with 2 different people for the 2-tank dives, but it seemed like the whole boat was watching out for me. They were all very surprised that this was my first dive and that I came alone!
The first dive had the strongest current. So even though it was not considered a ’drift’ dive, I now understand what it feels like drifting back to the boat. We went to a place called Harry’s Hole. Visibility had to have been over 75’ and there were so many fish to swim with. It was so neat to just be swimming in the middle of a school of Blue Chromis surrounding me. The 75 gallon salt-water fish tank I use to keep now seemed to have exploded in tropical paradise. A new sensation came over me of being so small in such a vast area. People have dove many times trying to find a Sea Horse, and we all saw it within the first 15 minutes of the first dive at ~40’. Not what I was expecting ... it was dark, looked dirty, just hanging around in simple elegance. Seeing the moral eel was cool. We found a mother Octopus with 2 infant size near by. Many more fish and coral spotted.
The most difficult task was getting back onto the swaying, dipping boat. Wow! And getting 14 people back into the boat, timing your advance to the ladder, swimming back into the current and the boat wanting to smash you was much more than I had anticipated. That was tough ... just hanging onto the ladder was hard with the boat tossing around, I had to let go at one point cause it got too rough and re-approach.
We next went to a calmer area called, Mike’s Place. Absolutely beautiful and not as much current! Loved all the purple branching, red basket and orange & yellow tube sponges, and sea fans felt like I was in an colorful oil painting. Found a huge lobster hiding under large coral, larger groupers, rainbow parrotfish, wrasse, graysby, trumpetfish, spotted drum, tangs, squirrelfish, angelfish, sergeant major, a funny looking cowfish, and many more. They were so abundant, I couldn’t keep count. It was a much easier dive and my buddy went nice and slow this time. I defintely want to go back to this site.
So I just got my OWD card in the mail with Curacao on it - I love it! What a great experience and left me wanting more. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to react with my trepidation with the water. But I conquered my fears with knowledge and skill sets. But still, that large stride step off the boat continues to be very scary for me. I need more practice, so I am back off to Curacao for the first 2 weeks of November. Anybody wanna come?