It was exactly 16 years ago the same day that I first got my PADI licence, and my last dive was in 2002. So I decided to do a refresher course ahead of my planned shark dive later in the year at the bluewater aquarium. I did some research, called a few dive schools and chose oyster diving since they were very professional, flexible and helpful.
The Marshall Street pool is very clean and the room it is in is a beautiful space itself. Wetsuits were provided - and I'd recommend using them since it does get cold after some time in the water (even though the pool is nicely heated... since we weren't actively swimming). All the equipment were laid out orderly by the side of the pool when we arrived.
Mark, our instructor, reviewed the setting up of equipment with us and went over buddy checks, important safety aspects and the exercises we'd be covering later.
The club has booked its own lane in the pool, but by 8pm, most swimmers are gone and it feels like a private pool. There were 3 people in my group doing the refresher drills, and around 6 others doing their first-ever diving class at the shallower end of the pool with Andy.
In the pool, Mark went through around 20 skills and exercises with us systematically. He made sure we got things right and repeated exercises as needed. The deepest part of the pool is 3 meters and we did some buoyancy exercises and reviewed emergency ascent from there. My friend had problems equalising, so Mark helped her descend slowly and did the same drills a bit shallower.
I highly recommend the refresher course - it is so important to feel comfortable under water with the equipment, be familiar with the drills so one can act calmy and generally be a safe and responsible diver! Being in a pool makes you concentrate on these skills. We also each received a copy of the PADI Scuba Tune-up Guidebook for our review/revision.
We were able to complete the course in one evening. (Sometimes they do that in 2 sessions depending on the students). I was very hungry after that and went straight to masala zone for a curry next door after a hot shower.
I think I might consider doing a rescue diver session next with oyster diving.
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