Finally! SCUBA Diving Certification at Harold’s Mansion, Part 1

Eventually! SCUBA Diving Certification at Harold’s Mansion, Component 1

Alright, so just after staying in the Republic for about a year and promising myself time and time once again that I would get my SCUBA (Open Drinking water) certification, I ultimately took the time out of my “busy” schedule to in fact get it done.  Shopping all over a bit about city, I finally settled on Mares Dive Store in Harold’s Mansion, a sprawling Dumaguete institution that offers the city’s largest backpacker hostel and – in my viewpoint –the ideal pizza in town.

Mares Dive Shop
Mares Dive Store



Mares Turtle
Turtles, baby….



Harolds Roofdeck
Rooftop Restobar at Harold’s – Wonderful pizza!


Complete cost of the SSI certification was 12,000 pesos with an possibility to pay an added 2,000 pesos do your closing a few dives out at Apo Island, one particular of the world’s premiere diving destinations.  This was very considerably a no brainer, and right after a temporary kuripot-fueled cogitation (kuripot – cheap), I made a decision to go with the Apo vacation.  Woohoo, turtles right here I appear!!   Harold’s Mansion also involves transportation to Dauin, snacks, espresso and tea and lunch in the charge of their open water certification. 


Wetsuits in shop
I was incorrect when I believed I would not want a wetsuit…..


[Quick Note:  SSI and PADI are recognized the world over.  Both have online verification of certification, but SSI offers less expensive certification as they don’t require you to buy all their manuals.]

My teacher was Ching Ching Lai, a younger Malaysian diver who has taught SCUBA all about Asia.  The very first day consisted of classroom instruction – six chapters out of the SSI instruction manual complemented by 6 video clips and summary queries at the finish of each and every a single.  Ching Ching was individual through the process, getting the time to solution all my inquiries and review all the function that I was accomplishing.  At the finish of the day, we hopped about to the gear place and I got equipped for all the things that I would have to have, with particular attention remaining paid to flipper and wetsuit fitting (I have a surprisingly shaped body…) and also the regulator and BCD (buoyancy compensation gadget) operating.


SCUBA Harolds Dive Shop


The upcoming day was our two familiarization dives at the Maritime Sanctuary in Dauin.  I arrived early the next morning and the Harold’s trucks ended up loaded up in brief get with containers of products and a flatbed of people from France, China, Scotland, Australia, the US and the Philippines – a accurate international outing: Tom was from Australia and was obtaining a pension from his operate there, Ian was from Scotland and worked as a dive teacher all above the Philippines. and Malcolm from the States was experiencing retirement and was checking out the Republic as a doable location.  Arriving at Harold’s location suitable on the seashore there (soooooo nice!), the knowledgeable divers jumped suitable into examining their machines although Ching Ching briefed me on the day’s timetable and began reviewing how to test in excess of all your machines.



First Dive Location
Our initial two dives had been below at Dauin Maritime Sanctuary.



Ride down to Dauin
Component of our multinational dive team….


Right after heading over a bunch of basic safety subject areas, we finally donned our gear and waddled (hey, the gear is heavy!) down to the drinking water.  Ching Ching 1st experienced me simply set my deal with in the drinking water when donning the mask and regulator, and I bought to acknowledge, it’s damn odd the to start with time you recognize that you are breathing underwater.  I then inflated my BCD and swam out a little bit.  Deflating our vests, we then sank to the sandy bottom and invested the initially 30 minutes acquiring applied to the ecosystem and heading more than emergency strategies (buddy respiratory, unexpected emergency ascents, getting rid of and placing gear again on, clearing masks, and so on.).  When that was completed, we took a shorter spin all-around and were being before long rewarded with a few of Hawksbill turtles, two gorgeous juvenile lionfish, jackfish and a couple of scorpion fish.


SCUBA Gear CHeck Dauin
Checking machines.


Immediately after lunch and a overview of the early morning expertise, Ching Ching reviewed nonetheless a lot more capabilities and we headed out the moment yet again.  The next dive was performed additional down the seaside wherever there is significantly less sand and considerably additional coral.  All over again, we reviewed a selection of expertise and emergency treatments before heading out to see the sights.  In this space of the maritime sanctary (additional south) there was a whole lot a lot more coral formations.  When Sendong rolled by means of in 2011, it demolished a good deal of the coral beds in this region (and also on Apo Island), but it is steadily commencing to occur again.  Heck, in just the past calendar year, I have viewed a good total of improvement in the beds in and all around Marine Sanctuary!


Ching Ching Metric Reveiw
Ching Ching providing me an 8 out of 10….


Apo Two Lionfish
Lionfish – really toxic, but pretty….


This previous dive was an easy one particular, with us just in essence cruising all around and examining out the fish.  We finished up, stowed our equipment and Ching Ching told me that I was a rather superior university student.  Properly, when I pressed her, she gave me an 8 out of 10.  That is a metric rating – if we transform it to our American imperial system, that is about a 98.5%.    


First Dive Following CHing Ching
Next Ching Ching by the coral beds.


She also noted that I utilized a more compact volume of air than most first time divers did.  Normally just after an hour they are at about 50 bar – I still had 100 bar.  I chock it up to cigarette smoking – my very poor, beleaguered lungs are used to remaining oxygen deprived, so it was not a huge stretch.  Actually – and inspite of smoking cigarettes – I do have very superior cardio from years of hitting the gymnasium and workout.  However, it would be a full ton better if I could totally free myself from all those terrible smokes.

At the conclusion of the working day, the van took us back to Harold’s.  All of us that went diving that working day made a decision to go to Apo the following, so as I jumped on my Yamaha, I told them I would see them adieu….

And what a fateful misadventure that working day would change out to be…..



++Heard that the Philippines is a good area to retire?  Possessed of a tiny pension and a tropical Everyday living?  Learn the pro’s and con’s of generating these types of a go by subscribing to Philippine Goals!++


Me waving scuba
Swimming with the fishes.