Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm a Diver

It was last day to certification of the PADI OW course. With exam taken, we only needed to complete 2 more dives, with intermittent skill practices of course, before we became a diver.

We should have been very assured but psycologically there is still some pressure. It was just like running to the finish line and being afraid to tumble for no reason. M was not feeling well, which was kind of expected, but the situation was much better than the day before.

At breakfast I took only ham and bread, and used only 1/4 of the butter, to avoid stomach problem. We had plenty of time left which allowed me to finish luggage packing well.

It rained cats and dogs the night before, with many lightings. The door front was all wet.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Exam

The pressure of exam became immediate and we did not sleep well. We woke up a bit later than normal, at about 7:10am. M was nervous and needed one piece of toast for breakfast, while I still have my full American one. Somehow M was given 2 pieces of toasts and since I didn't have extremely good appetite, I made a bacon and sandwich with M's extra toast and some of my own food. Ellen gave me a ziploc bag to contain it.

As expected we spent the morning watching videos again, checked the review for chapter 4 and 5 with Eriko. During all these some hotel guests or divers used the balcony to go internet and someone shut the sliding doors opening into the balcony to prevent the noise of our video (and on the other way, those hotel guests' conversation also distracted us). Lacking ventilation from sea breeze, the video room became a bit hot and stuffy. Maybe this and other psycological effect, M developped anxiety syndromes again.

Eriko showed us where we can buy sea-sick pills. There in the store I saw hair conditioner in small foil packs, which my hair desperately wanted. I didn't hesitated a second to buy 2 packs. These and 2 sea-sick pills costed only P50.

We went back to the hotel and had light lunch with ham and cheese sandwich, each taking half of it, and a dressing soaked ceasar salad with hard boiled egg and bacon chip, which hardly resembles the genuine thing. We only finished half the salad, but since I took the bacon and egg sandwich I made on the way to the store I took the bacon and egg sandwich I made, I was feeling a bit stuffed.

M took a sea-sick pill and a dose of panadol after lunch. But soon afterwards M began to throw up and become dizzy. The food should have no problem and I guessed most of the part was caused by M's own anxiety.

We managed to do the swim test and skin diving techniques, but we had to break before M could continue for the scuba part. We asked M to take rest lying on a sun chair of the resort in shade. While I was waiting, I had nothing to do but sitting on the poolside, in my wetsuit, and watching a pair of European taking their review course.

M wanted to quit (again) but finally agreed to continue. We needed to do neutral balancing (hovering in water), releasing and replacing weights, releasing and replacing equipment both under water and at surface. By the time everything finished, it was approaching 4pm and Eriko suggests that we have both the last 2 dives on the day that follows.

After cleaning up, we were allowed to study a bit before taking the exam. I had enough time to go through the technical reviews at the end of each chapter. Both me and M got 3 questions wrong, which is well within the passing rate of 75%.

Dinner was light again, at Coco Vida with Penne al Arrabiata (in a tomato based sauce with chili and paprika, and permesan cheese, or to be exact, something like the Kraft permesan style cheese powder) and Ceasar salad (better but still far from the genuine thing). These plus 2 coke were P410. I paid tips P10. Ice-cream for dessert as usual costed P240 (P120 each).

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Go scuba!

Sleeping from 9pm something till 6:20 am I recover well, although there are still dark circles. It was indeed the best sleep recently.

We had breakfast at 7am as planned, with bacon and scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of toasted wholemeal bread, instant coffee and OJ. M took continental only. We spent more time than expected despite that I've packed already the night before. By the time we leave our room it was more than 8:50am already. But it's only a short walk to our dive centre Sea Explorers and we ended up a couple of minutes late only.

One of the shop manager Eriko, a Japanese girl, immediately spotted us and came to greet us. Then we followed her into the office and signed a lot of paper, most of them being about releases and disclaims. Eriko didn't mentioned about the fee due, but to avoid any hassle I suggested that we settle it first, and so we did.

Then the morning was spent with watching video and reading the manual. The manual was not just a booklet. It's about 2cm thick. Although the book was written in a quite concise way, it is not easy to finish much in a morning. We watched 3 chapters of video and did the quizes of the first 2. Eriko came from time to time to check our pace and did the tests for chapters 1 and 2. There were 10 questions in each test and you must not answer wrongly in more than 2 of them; Otherwise you need to take another set of 10 questions. But if you fail again, there was not a 3rd set. You simply go back to the first set and try again. M made 3 errors in the first test and in each set - so that's how we know so well. The second attempt were 100% though.

We spent a bit too much time and so we needed to take sandwiches and coke for lunch while we was watching the chapter 3 video.

We went for practicing in the pool in the afternoon. Some techniques were easier than we imagined but some were the other way round, like keeping neutrally buoyant. M also had problem clearing the mask, probably due to difficulty in controlling the breath through the nose.

The practice was not extremely tiring. But we'd only finished after 5pm and so it's still certain exercise. After rinsing and storing the gears we went back to take shower, and then head for dinner. We went to Hayahay again and this time for Chili Con Carne Meat Pie and Pizza Favorites. Each drank a bottle of San Miguel and a Coke. The bill was P700.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Visit Alona Beach Again

Cebu Pacific start 1 and a half in the morning. There were not a lot of people there, many of them were Korean.

Cafe de Carol was the last shop with hot food and packed with people. Fortunately we could find a starbucks. There we had hot coffee and a hazelnut chocolate chips muffin, which were not bad at all.

I slept during most of the flight time. The plane was more stable than expected.

On arrival we bought the SIM card from the vending machine. I wrongly chose a P100 prepaid card, which was not a SIM, and need to pay P150 again for the tourists' SIM. Later in Hayahay restaurant, while I was sipping the OJ of our breakfast, I found that the P100 prepaid card can be used to fill the SIM.

Taxi driver Boy Chua catched us and we paid him P250 to go to Port One for Ocean Jet. I bought return tickets for both of us, P1,640 in total. Terminal fee being sold but they told me that we do not need to buy. Baggage must be checked-in and
we were proposed to pay P100. We contested as we just read the notice in front of the counter that said fair porter fee should be P10/bag.

Ocean Jet was not as wonderful as many had said. We were in the front of the vessel and it was quite stuffy and hot there. Before arriving, a cockroach was crawling in front of me, making me a bit nervous.

We paid P400 for a van to Golden Palm. It was not a taxi but it's more comfortable. The room was not free yet and so we went to Hayahay to have american breakfast, which was P200 a set, quite expensive. It's a good thing to do to pass the time though. After that we took a walk but it was a bit hot, and soon we found ourselves back at Golden Palm. Fortunately we can have the room already around noon. I bought an 8L bottled water at Golden Palm for P80.

We slept a bit so lunch was skipped. At 6pm we had dinner at Coco Vida. We ordered Grilled Chicken Breast, 2 Grilled Pork Chop, 2 Plain Rice, Mixed Veg Salad in Balsamic Vinegar, Coke and San Miguel. It costed P580. I left P10 tips.

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