PADI Advanced open water Course – A fun filled weekend




On the weekend of the 10th July, I completed my Advanced Open Water course. Before starting on the Saturday, I read through my PADI manual and filled out all the knowledge review questions. Reading through all this was getting me really excited for the weekend to come. As part of your AOW you have to do five different adventure dives. The two compulsory dives are navigation and deep, and for the three other dives we did were wreck, search and recovery, and peak buoyancy.

When we arrived at Andark Saturday morning, we collected all our kit and equipment that we needed for the course and headed down to Andark Lake. Once we got there, we unloaded the van and put together our gear. Then we sat down and went over our knowledge reviews. Bryn, our instructor, was really helpful when explaining some of the points that we weren’t quite sure about and made sure we understood everything properly before going on the dives. After we finished going over the knowledge reviews, Bryn gave us briefs on the first two dives, explaining everything we need to do during the dives. Then we put on all our gear, did our buddy checks, and got into the lake.


Our first dive was peak buoyancy, so we descended to the 3-metre platform and practiced hovering off the end of it, making sure we were neutrally buoyant and perfectly trim. We then went for a 20-minute dive around the lake. Once the dive was over, we ascended and exited to water, had our briefing for our second dive and got back in the lake.


Our second dive was navigation. For this dive, we descended to the 3-metre platform again and, with the help of my buddy to make sure I was staying at the same depth, I used to compass to swim off the platform and then turned around to end up back where we started. Once we all completed that navigation skill, we had to navigate a square pattern in the lake. This was actually quite difficult as after 10 kick cycles in each direction, I had to turn 90 degrees to the right and hope that I finished at the same corner I started at. This was the end of our navigation dive, so we exited the water.


After lunch, we changed over our cylinders and began with the briefing for our last dive of the day, search and recovery. For this dive, Bryn went and hid certain objects around the lake, and after discussing where and what he had dropped, we went to search for them. First, he dropped a weight belt at the bottom of one of the ascent lines, so Cam (the other scholar/student) and I attempted a circular search pattern to find it, however the visibility was so low that Bryn called it off and re-hid the belt on the 3-metre platform where the visibility was a lot better. Once we completed this, we then had to do a u-shape pattern to find a bunch of clips and then used a lift bag to ascend with the lost items to the surface. After existing the water, we took apart all our gear, put it in the van, and went home for the day. I really enjoyed the first day of our course as it gave me an insight into some of the specialities that PADI offer.


On the Sunday we arrived at Andark nice and early at 6:30am. As we had kept all our equipment in the van from the previous day, all we needed to do was wait for everyone to arrive and head off on our journey to Vobster Quay. Including the stop at McDonalds for breakfast, it took us roughly an hour and a half to get there. When we arrived,Graeme (our other instructor) was waiting for us.


Once we arrived, we set up all our equipment at our station, looked at the quarry map, and discussed what we will be doing in our deep dive. We did a giant stride into the water and surface swam over to the buoy we were descending down. For this dive, I borrowed Bryn’s Suunto D5 dive computer to keep an eye on as we descended to 23 metres. This is the deepest I have ever been and even though it was a little intimidating, it was also very rewarding. We explored a shipwrecked boat and looked at a red Lego brick to see the difference in colour at depth. We then ascended slowly and did a safety stop on the way up.


We then got out the water and prepared for our wreck dive. Once we were all briefed, we then did another giant stride into another part of the quay and descended to 12 metres onto part of a shipwrecked place. The aim of this dive is to swim around the outside of a wreck and point out any potential hazards if anyone were to penetrate the wreck. The plane was separated into three sections, the cockpit being the most interesting. The plane was really cool and has made me want to dive more shipwrecks in the future. Before we ascended, we did another safety stop and then exited the water.

As this was the last dive of the day, we packed up our equipment, spoke about our dives and filled in our logbooks. We then took a group picture with our certificates in front of Vobster. I loved my time there and really want to go back to explore some of the other attractions at the bottom of the water. I also really loved doing this course, especially with my instructors, Bryn and Graeme as they made it a really fun weekend. Lastly, we headed back to Andark, unpacked the van, and headed home. 

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