It had been over a week since I had last dived and I was a little bit nervous.

The session began like usual: we gathered our equipment, set it up, checked it all worked properly, and then had a quick debrief about the skills I would learn.

I was going to finish my confined water dives in one sitting, and then (after a little break), embark on my second open water dive.

After the routine buddy checks, we both took a large stride into the water and got to work honing my skills. Since we did both confined water dives in one go, it is difficult for me to distinguish between the two.

However, my dive manual gave some insight into which skills were for which dive. Confined water dive 4 involved performing the following skills:

  • Scuba removal and replacement at the surface
  • No mask swim
  • Free flowing regulator for 30 seconds
  • 5 point descent and ascent

Of these skills, I was most nervous about completing the scuba removal. I had seen this done the week before with someone who was further along the course than me. After trying it myself however, it was completely fine.

With the BCD inflated, putting it back on proved easier in the water than out. It was similar to sitting on an inflatable noodle in a swimming pool.

Once again, the mask removal proved the most difficult task for me. I had performed this task several times already. It follows that this must be a very important skill to master.

The free flowing regulator skill involved holding the purge button and ‘sipping’ the air. Under water this looked like an explosion of bubbles, constantly streaming from the regulator. It was uncomfortable, but ultimately successful.

Breathing from a free-flowing regulator is another essential skill. However, unlike the picture above, the head should be tilted to avoid blocking your view. Picture sourced from DIVE Magazine

The descents and ascents were standard practice. It mainly involved being aware of your surroundings and buddy, and going at a slow pace.

The final confined dive built upon on all of the previous skills, along with a few additions of its own. Now, I had to take the scuba gear and weight belt off underwater, and replace it whilst staying at the bottom.

It was difficult staying at the bottom once the bulky equipment was off. By keeping the equipment close, and the weights over my leg, I was able to stay at the bottom and put the gear back on.

We then swam around the bottom for a while, at approximately 8m depth.

We left the water and took a quick break. I was eager to get back in, and so was my instructor. After a quick glass of water and a change of cylinder, we got back in the water and began my second open water dive.

We traversed along a rocky bottom; I was constantly on the look out for another octopus, but the best I could find were several sea stars. I struggled with controlling my buoyancy on this dive. By the time I got the hang of it, it was time to head back.

Once we were out of the water, I took my final exam. I got a few questions wrong, but the correct answers were carefully explained to me. The exam is nothing to worry about; if you do the set work and listen to what you’re told, passing it is no problem.

Finally, I signed up for my last open waters dives. I would soon be a qualified diver.

Written by Lucas King