I started the day with high hopes of getting some swimming skills signed off. Last night I managed the 15 min tread water and scored the max 5 points. This morning I was all set for my 400m swim, 800m snorkel, tired diver tow and equipment exchange.
Instead of doing the swim in the pool, I did it in Banjul bay. The water tasted disgusting and having never practiced that distance in open water, I knew it was going to be a challenge. Despite my strong efforts and the lack of recent training in the last few weeks, I only managed a time of 15 mins and about 50 seconds. Very very disappointed and scored an abysmal 1 point.
Needing a break before the next skill, I relaxed a bit before I practiced some buddy breathing in the bay to prepare myself for the equipment exchange. Again another awful experience. Don't remember the last time I practiced that skill, but I properly panicked, and after three attempts of feeling that I had a complete lack of air, I bolted to the surface. I was only at 2 metres so no issue there but I was so upset. Second attempt was far more successful. I managed to calm myself down enough to take my regulator out and give to my buddy after 3 breaths, practicing first with my regulator and second with my buddy's.
My instructor, clearly recognising my complete inexperience and stress levels, decided that today would not be the day to attempt the equipment exchange. Thank goodness!!!! But at least I know what to expect. A lot more practice is clearly required!
So as I was already kitted out, we decided to go on a fun dive just in the bay, to mark my 100th dive! All went well, looked at a some great coral, got 'The Money Shot' of some nemo's and was starting to ascend when my instructor Hermi came down on a free dive to show us a fantastic nudi. In typical Natasha fashion, whenever anyone makes me stop to show me something interesting, something strange happens to me! Instead of calmly approaching the subject, somehow I panic! Lol! So already overweighted for kneeling on the sand to do my buddy breathing, I felt unable to control my buoyancy. Then I panicked about kicking the poor nudi, that I tensed my legs and subsequently flexed my right foot into a cramp! :-s
I managed to kick up so much sand that it resembled Wraysbury lake! But at least the nudi was safe! Yay!
No more skills or diving for me today! Infact I'm celebrating my 100th dive with a chocolate brownie and ice cream desert and a massage. I'm shattered!
Looks like I'll be taking quite a few skills back to London to complete with DLL. Hope they are prepared! Lol