Yes, I did see Nemo and Marlin and Dory and lots of their friends and relatives. And, yes, I successfully completed my Open Water Dive certification. My course was divided into three sections: 1) e-learning, 2) the pool sessions, and 3) 4 open water dives. I would highly recommend this method to people who have good internet or tablet access and like to learn on your own with self-quizzing. I was able to do the initial studying on my tablet and then connected to the internet to take the quizzes and final exam. In fact, I did some of the reading before I left and then more on the plane. After settling in here in Zanzibar, I spent three days finishing the practical side. I practiced skills in the pool for several hours on day one here and then spent the final two days doing my open water dives in the beautiful Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar.
On both days in the ocean, we were a mixed group of divers and snorkelers. I met about 20 new people over the two days from all over the world including Kenya, South Africa, Australia, France, Norway, the US, and other countries I do not remember. As I said yesterday, I had a fantastic experience with my instructor and the dive shop.
On both days, we went to the same two sites, Bawe Island and The Great Northern. Both have reefs and at Great Northern there are remains of a shipwreck from about 150 years ago.
Here are the boat coordinates at The Great Northern when we stopped to dive.
Between dives, we relaxed on the boat.
I was really happy to finish my first dive, because it was the dive of the day where I had to show that I could do my final set of skills. The first skill required me to simulate a controlled ascent from 6 meters (20 feet) or less when I had run out of air. In this case, you do a controlled emergency swimming ascent (CESA). In this situation, you ascend in a slow controlled manner on a single exhale. I was ecstatic that I was relaxed enough to complete the skill successfully on my first try. The other tricky skill for me was using a compass to navigate. Luckily I didn’t have to go very far and it was in a straight line and back straight to my starting point.
Anyone who knows me knows that directions and navigation are not my strengths. The final skill was taking my mask off completely and replacing it and clearing it, which is uncomfortable because the salt water stings my contacts, but a skill I can do well.
I got to see so many cool underwater fish and creatures such as angel fish as big as a plate, sea cucumbers, clams, moray eels, baby clown fish swimming in and out of the anemone, lion fish, trigger fish, pipefish, and many more.
Here is a little video of the boat in motion on the way to Bawe Island.