In March 1999 I got my PADI Open Water ticket, at AB Ocean Divers in East Bentleigh. Thanks to Whatto for putting up with an unruly mob, and to Peta for keeping us in line underwater, and bad jokes on the surface!
In mid April '99 I did the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (something of a misnomer ..) course, inluding a 28.6m dive in Portsea Hole, right on top of the wreck. We were lucky, normally the wreck's covered in sand.
In June '99 I did the PADI Medic 1st aid course. This is a course that I don't have a lot of respect for. It's far too brief and doesn't cover what I consider to be fundamental 1st aid issues. I'm not critical of AB Ocean Divers, Jane Bowman is a good instructor, but the material is, in my opinion, substandard. I have a surf lifesaving bronze medallion, and the first aid covered in that is much more thorough.
In November '99 I did the PADI Enriched Air (Nitrox) course with Rubens Monaco from International Dive Centre in Rye. I was going to do the PADI EAN and TDI Nitrox at Ocean Divers but there wasn't enough people to do it there, and in the end Reubens proved to be a good instructor and a good, friendly divemaster too. As part of the course we did two dives, and one on the 27m submarine was magical. We ran into a pod of dolphins at 26m, and watched them swim around for a good minute while we knelt on the hull of the submarine. One of those magical moments. I'd definatly lend my seal of approval to International Dive Centres as a dive school.In fact, I now work as a divemaster for them
In Dec/Jan 1999-2000 I went for a dive trip to Perth with Lorro, here's the story. We dived on HMAS Swan, and did a lot of other dives too!
In February 2000 I did my PADI Rescue Diver course with Brad Johnston from International Dive Centres. Not a bad course, expecially when we augmented the PADI stuff with some suft lifesaving techniques. Brad is a very good instructor and he presented the material very well, as well as the usual friendly and professional approach I've found with both AB OCean Divers' instructors and International Dive Centre's people too. There's more room here to bag the PADI Medic First Aid course. Forget it. Do the St Johns, or the Red Cross, or a Surf bronze etc, but forget the PADI medic 1st aid course, it is bollocks.
I completed PADI divemaster in July 2000, and IANTD Advanced Nitrox in December 2000.
On the topic of all my qualifacitons being PADI, and I'm currently a PADI divemaster, en route to getting an instructors, you may well ask, why PADI? Rodale's is a very good source of information re all matters in standard recreational diving, and here's what they say about the different agencies. The conclusion, basically, the agency doesn't matter, as they're all much more similar than they are different, and what does matter is the individual instructor you have. I use PADI because I have found a few good instructors that I trust (Whatto from Ocean Divers, Rubens, Bourkey and Brad from International Dive Centres). They happen to be PADI instructors, but importantly, they're competant and good teachers.
My dive master mapping project is for Point Franklin
I'm a gear freak with everything, including SCUBA stuff ... destined to be permanently broke!
Before I got all the toys, I used to hire bits.
Now, where I can, I build my own.
I'm hoping to (once I get my instructors ticket etc) get into some serious tech diving. here's some deep dive planning software.
Dive the long hose ... Hogarthian is the way to dive. I have a transpac II, but I rig my hoses DIR :)
Dive Victoria have recently (late 1999) opened a shop/depot in Queenscliff, which is excellent for city people like myself. Portsea's a disaster in summer, but most of the dive operators run from Portsea or Sorrento (almost as bad). Until the Dive Victoria shop opened on the west side of the bay, you couldn't get safe air or Nitrox fills without crossing the bay. Now you can! As it's roughly the same distance, and parking is a heap easier (and the food and people in Queenscliff are much better), I'll be doing a lot of diving from that side of the bay. It's also a shorter trip to the submarines etc. All up, a win!
The Diving Industry of Victoria (DIVA) has a bunch of classifications for divers, which tour and boat charter comapnies use, it's listed here. I can't say that I think it's brilliant, divers with hundreds of dives logged from interstate and overseas (ie: not trained in Victoria) may have difficulties with some charters. The idea's good, the implementation? ...
Some links :