When I passed my Open Water Diver certification back in 2020, I was immediately offered to take up Advanced Open Water Diver license. My classmates were all excited for it and they immediately signed up and proceed with the course, just right after they were certified as an Open Water Diver. But I wasn’t so keen. Unlike them, I was concerned for many things. First of all, I did my Open Water course when I was on an island trip. Time was a constraint. Second was the budget for the fees and last but not least, I wasn’t sure if I was really ready to dive deeper and go for Advanced Open Water.
Just a few confined water dives in the pool and a mere few skill performing dives in the open water and you wanna go further and deeper in the sea? You got to be kidding me! Although I’m quite a confident woman, my confidence wasn’t that great when it comes to diving. When I just passed my Open Water Diver course, I wasn’t really confident in the water yet. I was still scared and my diving skills was just so-so and worst of all, my buoyancy and whatnot was still crappy. Instead of jumping the bandwagon like everyone else, I decided to wait. I wanted to get more experience in diving and log more dives before I take up the Advanced Open Water course.
It’s tough being a scuba diver, actually. This fact is especially true during the pandemic era. When I obtained my Open Water Diver licence it was already during Covid19 pandemic era, and going for more dives is really difficult. My country executed nationwide lockdown and traveling to other states is made impossible. We were banned for certain period of time and tourism attractions were forced to close their doors to tourists. I couldn’t travel to my preferred dive sites; eg: beautiful tropical islands to dive and increase my diving skills experience. Living in Kuala Lumpur makes it worst as there are no pretty dive sites nearby.
But I like diving. I wanted to dive despite of the lockdown restrictions, and so, I decided to go for freshwater diving in lakes nearby Klang Valley so that I can gain more experience.
Read up my lake diving experience here:
Yups, I’m a huge advocate of being more confident in the water and mastering your skills first before signing up for ‘license upgrade’. Apart from that, I’m all for diving with instructors that I can trust my life with. So after logging more dives my guide, (now instructor) asked me if I would like to sign up for Advanced Open Water and upgrade my skills. This time around I said yes. By the time I decided to sign up for this I’ve logged more than 20 dives. I’ve grown more confident and comfortable in the eater and I was itching to challenge myself. I was ready to do deeper dives, and even night dives.
This is my instructor from I-Divers. Muhamad Arif, whom I fondly called Abang Arif (Habang Ostat).
All geared up and ready for my Advanced Open Water Course
There are a few things that you need to know about Advanced Open Water Course. First, you are expected to know all the basics. And unlike the Open Water course, Advance Open Water course is designed to help you upgrade your skills as well as your max depth. As an Open Water Diver, you are only allowed to go to a maximum of 18 meters. But as an Advanced Open Water Diver, you are allowed to dive up to 30 meters max. Apart from that, you’ll also be allowed to dive at night with your buddy.
There are no written exams for this course, but manuals will be given and you’re expected to do some knowledge reviews with your instructors.
The PADI Advanced Open Diver’s syllabus that my instructor designed for me includes:
-Night and limited visibility
-Peak performance buoyancy
-Search and recovery
You’re required to do 2 pool sessions (at instructor’s discretion. This can also be done in the open water) and 2 open water dives. Generally this takes about 1-2 days to complete.
Here’s sharing with you my experience during my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.
Our instructor teaching us how to use the compass
Learning to navigate on land first before we jump into the pool and do it again underwater. I was taught how to set my bearings and navigate in repricopal line. Apart from that we were also taught how to use the compass to mark patterns under the water to ease our directions. It was confusing at first but now I can navigate better with my compass.
Happy faces. These are my classmates for the day.
Time for pool session. Our pool session took place at Pusat Akuatik Darul Ehsan (PADE) at Shah Alam, Selangor. The pool’s max depth was 5m deep, perfect for training dives.
Class in session with my fellow dive buddies
Peak performance buoyancy. We’re taught everything about weighting, trimming, and extensively on how to control our buoyancy in this session.
Yours truly performing hovering skills.
Peak performance buoyancy. Hovering with my classmates with Jalur Gemilang by the end of the session.
Search and recovery session requires you to search for objects that has been dropped in the water. We were taught multiple search patterns during this session.
Open water session in the lake- Deep dive. We dive up to 22m deep during this session.
Getting ready for night dive&limited visibility
Although I’m quite familiar with this particular dive spot, this is the first time I dive at night over here.
It’s totally a different environment. It’s abit intimidating, but at the same time, I can feel the thrill.
But all is well, and I managed to performed all skills to my instructor’s satisfaction and I was finally certified as an Advanced Open Water Diver. Yay to that. I can now legally dive deeper and go for night diving with my buddies.
Special thanks to my instructor Abang Arif aka Habang Ostat. Thank you for being part of my diving journey and thank you for making the educational experience a happy one.