Not content with just having my PADI Open Water diving certification, I finally completed my Advanced Open Water certification (AOW). I had already completed 3 of my required specialty dives in Oman, but I still needed two more. Thanks to my colleague Kurt’s wife (master dive instructor), I was able to complete them during a relaxing weekend in Fujairah, UAE.
For anyone who is curious, earning your AOW certification is made up of extensive written knowledge reviews and five adventure dives. The dives I did were:
1) Deep – In this dive, I went down to 30 meters (about 90 feet). Because there are unique risks and challenges to going that deep, this dive involved quite a bit of pre-dive instruction and textbook learning.
2) Night – Literally a dive at night time. Quite creepy and nerve racking since you can only see where your flashlight shines, it was a very bizarre experience.
3) Navigation – Learning how to navigate underwater using a compass. Sounds simple, but this one is quite challenging but incredibly useful in the real world.
4) Buoyancy – Controlling your buoyancy underwater is key to a relaxing and enjoyable dive. You learn how to float at the depth of your choice without flailing your arms, using excess oxygen or touching/kicking up sand on the bottom.
5) Photography – Perhaps the most fun of the five, I learned how to take pictures underwater. Sounds easy but there are many, many factors that come into play. For example, the deeper you go, the more color you lose. Red disappears first.
On a side-note, while at the dive center, we noticed a beautiful cruise ship anchored offshore. But, it wasn’t actually a cruise ship; rather, the second biggest personal yacht in the world. Yep, word from some fellow divers is that it belonged to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and ruler of Dubai. Kind of cool.