If you have been thinking about taking your diving to the next level, then you have most likely done some research about the Advanced Open Water course. Whether you spoke to your local dive centre, enquired about the options on your last diving trip or simply ‘googled’ the course, you will have found out that the Advanced Open Water course is comprised of five adventure dives, two of which namely, the deep dive and the navigation dive, are compulsory and the other three dives are for you to choose. As a new diver the variety of options may seem overwhelming, and when faced with a decision one may find themselves struggling to decide on which three dives to choose to complete their course. Many dive centres simply choose the dives for you by stating that those are the only options they have available. As a customer you are entitled to choose the dives you want to do for your course and once you have made your final decision, finding a dive centre that can accommodate you is really a simple matter of emails, enquiries and of course location, location, location!
The first thing you need to ask yourself as a diver is why do you want to take your diving to the next level. Is it because you want to broaden your possibilities for potential dive sites in general, or are there specific types of dives you would like to do. Are there areas of your diving ability that you would like to improve on or are you like so many others ‘just in it for the deep dive’. Whatever your reasons may be it is important to consider all the different options that are offered and how they are likely to benefit you as a diver.
Peak Performance Buoyancy
What makes a diver a ‘good’ diver? Ask any instructor and their answer will be buoyancy. Buoyancy control is one of the primary skills we learn in the Open Water course, so why do we need to do an entire dive focusing on it in the Advanced Open Water course. Well, the answer is simple, proper buoyancy control should be the ultimate goal of every diver. Whether you have been diving for ten years or two weeks, control over your position in the water will ultimately make or break your dive. The dive itself teaches you to make minor adjustments to your depth using only your lungs which once mastered will save you a lot of air over the course of a normal dive. Most importantly as divers we are becoming increasingly conscious of protecting the environment. Proper buoyancy control allows us to observe the wonders of the marine environment without damaging coral reefs in the process. Every environmentally responsible diver should participate in this adventure dive because without coral reefs there will be no reason to dive in the future. We as divers are the ambassadors of the ocean and its inhabitants, it is our responsibility to encourage and maintain environmentally friendly diving practices.
The reason we, as divers, spend as much time as we possibly can underwater is to see fish. When we first start diving it is usually enough just to see the fish and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding us, each dive seeming slightly like a blur of beautiful colours and wonderful sights. You may have even recognised a few fish from National Geographic programmes on television, but as a new diver our knowledge is usually somewhat limited. As we gain experience we begin notice new an interesting species that we may have not seen or recognised before. At this point one might attempt to flip through all three hundred and something pages of a fish identification book at their local dive centre, a somewhat tedious process if you are not sure what you are looking for. This where the fish identification dive becomes an important part of the Advanced Open Water Course. Your instructor will teach you how to identify different types of fish simply by observing them in their natural habitat. Was the fish swimming below the surface, in mid-water, above the reef or resting on the bottom? How big was the fish and what shape was its body? Was it a solid colour or did it have patterns or markings on it? All these elements will better help you to identify different species of fish and certainly it will make your dives more interesting and fun as you and your buddies begin collecting fish species in your logbooks the way others may collect stamps in their passports.
The Final Choice
When it comes to choosing the last adventure dive that will make up your Advanced Open Water Course, it is important to choose a dive that you believe will benefit you the most in terms of the type of diving you want to do in the future. First, think about where you will most likely be diving, will it be warm water diving in the tropics, or frigid cold water diving in lakes. If it is the latter then you may want to consider learning to use a dry suit in the Dry Suit Diver Adventure dive. The next question you want to ask yourself is what interests you as a diver. If you are fascinated by underwater history such as famous ships that have sunk to the ocean depths in the past then the Wreck diver adventure dive would be the option for you. Maybe you are thinking about purchasing your own underwater camera but you are not sure how to use all those fancy and complicated functions, the Underwater Photography adventure dive will not only teach you how to use those functions but also how to set up the frame and lighting so that you can get the most colour and background out of each picture you take. The Night adventure dive is certainly for the adventurous, and will introduce you to a completely new underwater world as the corals come alive and the nocturnal marine life come out to hunt. Maybe you are planning to visit a region where the currents are strong; the Drift diver adventure dive would certainly prepare you for the type of diving you would most likely be doing in these regions.
In the end, everybody has different interests and the Advanced Open Water course is specifically designed to provide you with the flexibility of choice. So choose the dives that interest you the most and you will certainly enjoy every moment of your course. The best part about the Advanced Open Water course is that, even if you do not get to choose all the dives you wanted to do, you have the Advanced Open Water manual which includes information about all the different adventure dives, so go on get out there and start diving, as an Advanced diver you will have the flexibility to participate in any adventure dive that interests you with confidence and the knowledge that you as a diver are constantly learning new skills and improving your abilities with each and every dive you do.