Have your open water in Malapascua

On 17 March 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

imageAfter my stay in Bohol with my friends, I did not know where to go in the Philippines. I had heard of El Nido on Palawan Island but I did not want to 10 days in the same place. Then I remembered an email that a friend had sent me there a few months ago to tell me about a great dive center on a small island … I looked where it was on a map, it seemed “easy” access (relative to transport in the Philippines), in an afternoon I made ​​my decision and my suitcase to go to Malapascua.

From Bohol, so I took a boat to Cebu, then a taxi to the northern bus station and took a bus to Maya, to the north of the island of Cebu. After a night at the Kekoy GH because arrived too late to join Malapascua, so I took a last boat (who brought provisions) to reach the island. Filed Evolution, the famous diving center which I was told, I went with my bag at reception. Short discussion with them, 5min after it’s decided: I do my open water here!
imageSo what is the open water? It is a PADI certificate that teaches you the basics of diving and allows you to dive anywhere in the world until 18m depth without having to redo every time the scuba discovery. It is strongly recommended nonetheless systematically to dive with an instructor or master diver! To obtain this certificate, you will have a first theoretical course in the water to see the fundamental and 4 dives. And you will be studious and read the book provided, watch videos and pass various tests before the final exam! So do not twiddle your thumbs waiting for the dive, you have to work for no mistakes and avoid problems!

IMG_4942The afternoon I met my instructor Albin, Swedish, great feeling. I start my learning theory part while reading the book and watching the videos 1st. Meanwhile, I’m resting in the hammock from the center, I meet diving enthusiasts travelers who tell me their adventures here (including thresher sharks dives we do not see anywhere in the world). I sympathize with Greg, American, and spend time with instructors diving center.

Next morning, I look forward, it is time to practice! It therefore makes a shallow spot to learn the basics on equipment, how to get to the water, take the first breath in the regulator, do various exercises outside and in the water, swimming tests also. After 2:30, the first phase is over and I get tired in the middle. But for a short lunch and it’s already time to go to the first real dive! Everything is going great, Albin is super zen and relax and explains everything (and re-explain when I do not understand the terms in English otherwise), so I’m super relieved. Everything is going great! I can manage my buoyancy, the most important thing when diving, and I then observed the thousands of fish in front of me! The feelings are there! Game’s on…

image2nd day of diving, a first in the morning after a good breakfast where exercises show before seeing hundreds of new fishes and a 2nd in the afternoon with this nice moment when I find myself 18m deep, I look in the air and I see the water surface illuminated by the sun shining and between the two, the big blue…so simple and yet so beautiful! After the dive, you have to work the theory not to miss the exam the next day, it would be a shame! And in the meantime I discovered the Island Children playing on the beach and another…
3rd and last dive day so in the morning when I validate all the practical part and spend most of the time just as a “fun dive” to observe everything. On the way home I pass the final written test and … it’s all good! It takes at least 75% correct answers, I succeded, phew! I am officially certified PADI 1 :)
But it’s time to get back to work … for diving with sharks next morning! Yes, after hearing so much to see, I must go and try diving but it requires to dive at 30m and therefore a new deep diving certification so I put myself on a new book for the theory!

?????????????After a good night so I get up at 4:20 in the morning. I admit that at that moment, I wondered why I did that … But once on the boat at 5am , the 1st daybreak rising the sea and the sun appears, we say that already it ‘s good. It’s time to jump into the water. Albin warns me , one must do exercises before going to see the shark but it may be that we pass on or interested in us at the same time! In the end we did the exercises in a corner fast enough not to interfere with the divers (great exercise to see that the red color disappears with depth such that the yolk of an egg does not disperse in water but becomes as a ball !) . And it is time to join everyone behind the line that defines the protected area cleaning sharks, which allows hundreds of divers each year to observe . And just as we get the first thresher shark arrives, then 2…incredible! They are about 2.5 -3m long, have a very long tail and big eyes and round which makes them rather nice blow (I swear) . They are even afraid of air bubbles is released , it is to say … apparently Normally we see one here and there, but apparently I was very lucky because the sharks were cleaned by small fish during the entire duration of the dive (35min) so we had time to see them. Even my instructor had never seen it in 4 months ! And yet this wonderful feeling to look up and see the surface but this time at 30m depth . Magic! Going up , we will see 3 more . A great moment for me, after only 5 dives to find myself less than a meter of these creatures. Inexplicable feeling …
I go back and VERY happy with a feeling of satisfaction / pride / joy ! It is now time to go back on the island, take a breakfast, finish the bag and leave for new adventures on the island of Palawan, in El Nido .

Albin thank you for these great courses, you really are a great instructor ! Thank you Yoshi to have had the excellent idea to send me details of this dive center ” in case I go to the Philippines !” Without you , I will surely be missed out on all that, and I would maybe even have never dived …

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