Mike an UPS-pilot from the States gave me a short notice call and asked about diving. He is a friend of my partner on Dumagueteinfo and visited Dumaguete to get certified as an Open Water Diver. He explained me his phobia with a near-drowning experience and that he has a phobia. Each time he has water around his nose he freaks out and panics. Being warned I could prepare myself.
Mike arrived on the Cebu-Pacific flight on Wednesday afternoon. After he checked in at Coco-Grande Hotel he gave me a call and we met at Mikes Diveshop, the facility I use when teaching classes. At 5 pm he came with Lyka, his lovely girlfriend. I tried to convince her to try a Discover Scuba Program, but she didn’t wanna do it. He came with filled in knowledge-reviews and well prepared. I gave him the typical forms and paperwork and we made the schedule for the next 3 days.
Thursday morning I packed the gear and picked him and Lyka up at the Hotel. Knowing about his Problem I decided not to go to the ocean for his Open Water dives. Instead of that we went to WellBeach-Resort near to Malatapay where I wanted to finish all confined water dives in one go. After a cup of coffee we started to assemble our gear and I briefed Mike what we gonna do under water. All skills went completely fine and I saved the “partial flooded mask clearing” skill until the end of the confined water dive one. Mike did a great job on that and had no problem on the second try. While he was doing that I watched him very closely, being prepared to pull him to the surface (from 4 feet depth) if any problems occur. His self-discipline was amazing as I could see his eyes very focused and listen to his concentrated breathing. After clearing the mask a couple of times we finished some more skills and confined water dives 1, 2 and 3 were done. I was not less happy than him after surfacing and we both laughed and smiled in our lunch break.
After lunch we finished confined water dive 4 and 5 with some minor hick-ups. This dives included mask clearing and no mask swimming. At the end of the dives I took away his mask and let him swim alone in the pool without any physical control. I threw the mask in the pool and he searched for it at the deep end, replaced it and cleared it. That was the sign that he is ready for the “big pool” the next day where our plan was to have Open Water Dive 1 and 2.
The story continues tomorrow. Than you can read about “teaching Scuba diving in a Typhoon”
Thanks for now and cheers
Back from Angeles City into real life I received a txt from a friend who stays here for a couple of month to write his first novel. He was a student of mine back at Asia Divers in Puerto Galera and I met him on www.Dumagueteinfo.com accidently. He asked me to meet for a “coming-home” drink at Hayahay. Hey, no problem, quick shower, on the bike and off Rhoody goes. At Hayahay we met Mike Feeney who has a small Diveshop at the Boulevard. He told me that he may have an Apo Island Trip coming friday and we decided to join.
We met at 8:00 at Mikes Adventure-Diveshop to sign in the paperwork. and jumped into Mikes Easy-ride with 3 girls who wanna go to Apo for snorkling. Mike asked me If I have a problem to take 2 more divers as they called him with short notice. He ensured me that they are all good so no problem with me. We met in Dauin where his boat is. After the tanks and the were on the boat we started our 40 minute boatridt to Apo. We had a nice mixed group, a swedish, french, philippino, british, german mix ensured thatthere was a lot to talk about.
The first divesite was Chapel-Point, a shallow corall plateau goes into a wall on 8 meters and drops down to 40+ meters. The wall is coverd with softcorals and sponges. Along the wall are some small caves and overhangs. In one of those we found a blue ribbon eel, 2 clown frogfish and some good-sized scorpionfish. When the wall ends it is time to multilevel up to reach the area of Katipanan where you see beautifull softcoral gardens as far the visibility allows. The snorklers were already on the boat, so we left the water after 58 minutes.
We spend our surface interval on the Island, where 20 “lovely” T-shirt ladies welcomed us to show us their souvenirs. There is a lovely little resort on the Island where we went for lunch. As Apo Island is very small and the main-income of the people there is fishing it was a bit sureprising that the resort was out of stock for all fish-dishes on the menu…
While we divers wanted to go for the second dive the snorklers enjoied to hang around and moved very slowly. The swedish guys started already with SanMiguel Light, so we had to force them a bit to go back to the banka.
The second dive started at Rock Point east. The stunning corals at the entry area are only at a depth of 3 meters and goes over into a steep slope to the right. After 10 minutes into the dive a gentle current picks up to bring you around the corner to Rock Piont west. While drifting along the slope you feel like in a aquarium. Millions of colorful reef-fish just surrounding you with their nose in the current. After passing the corner the current stops and you finally make your safety stop in the soft-coral gardens around the mooring bouje of Rock-Point west. After 65 minutes we were back on the boat. A bit cold as we had no sun.
The trip back was a bit rough and nothing and nobody stood dry on the boat. Back at Dauin into the easy-ride and 25 minutes to the dive-shop where we finally got some food and cold drinks. Diving with the smaller dive-shops here is different as you will miss some convinience of the big resorts but it also has more charme. I can highly recommend Mikes Adventure-diveshop for this unforgetable trip.