Sunday, 16 October 2011

French Diving Part 2

My giant Meringue :) Took me the whole
day to eat!
 Tuesday was the first of 4 open water dives- this is what I had come to France to do!! I had to leave earlier this morning, but it still wasn't an overly early morning. I think I got up at about 7.30/8. Walking down to the port at 8.30 in the morning, it was weird seeing how low the sun was still in the sky, though it didn't get dark until about 8.30 at night. I suppose that will change when daylight savings finishes - then it will just be dark most of the time :P My first dive was pretty awesome (well they all were actually). Over the 4 open water dives I practised more skills such as mask removal and putting on underwater, buoyancy control and the controlled emergency swimming ascent (CESA). I didn't do it very well, and had to do it twice, but at least I know the basic procedure should I ever run out of air, or need to get to the surface quickly in an emergency :)

The Cagnes Sur Mer police station. The bike was left
on the signpost to the left of the tree...
During lunch on the Tuesday I asked how many dives I had left to do. I had 3, so figured since I was finishing the next day that I would have one that afternoon, and 2 the next day. But then once we had finished lunch, Alex said he would see me tomorrow, so I thought 'Oh, I must have the afternoon off then'. So I walked back to the hotel and had a bit of a rest, then I got a text... turns out I WAS supposed to be doing a second dive that day - oops. It was lucky that there was the option of doing 3 dives on Wednesday, otherwise I would have been a bit stuck!

 As I had the afternoon off I decided to catch the train to Cagnes Sur Mer, as my uncle had requested that I check on his pushbike he had chained outside the police station when he went to France last. Note that the last time he went to France was in October 2010 (I think?!) Anyway, close to a year ago! After I found the police station and the location of where the bike HAD been, I was not surprised to find that it was no longer there. I then took the free shuttle bus up to the top of Haute de Cagnes, where there is a castle and good views. I then headed back to my hotel and bed.
I walked up this hill.. then decided to take the bus

On Wednesday I had 3 dives - 2 in the morning, and 1 in the afternoon after lunch. Again I practised some skills, but the majority of the the time underwater was just swimming around, getting use to buoyancy control, and seeing what animals we could spot. Some of the animals we saw were heaps of starfish, a variety of fish, eels, tube-worms, and even an octopus :) At one stage I swam to a depth of 20m! It's amazing looking up at the sky from that depth :D That night I got invited to dinner with the Diamond Diving crew to help celebrate Benoit's belated birthday. We went to a places in Antibe called Beer n' Curry. It was a pretty good meal, with decent prices :) Following that we went to an Irish Pub. I always seem to end up in Irish pubs - Egypt, Turkey, France, and even in Munich, but more on that in my next post :P

While we were out to dinner Alex asked if I would like to come and listen to a presentation on the history of rebreathers, and then do a rebreather try dive the next day. As I was leaving on Friday, and Thursday was my last full day in France, I was planning on going to Monaco for the day. But I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for another dive. And how many people get to say that their first dive as a certified open water diver is a rebreather dive?! :D For those of you 'not in the know' (lol) rebreathers recycle the oxygen that you exhale, so you can dive deeper and longer, and with less time for decompression stops.
 It certainly was a weird sensation not blowing out bubbles with every breath - it's also very quiet! As the air you breathe is recycled you can not use your breath for buoyancy control, something I had only just learnt how to do! I was also a little bit overweighted, which did not help. To be honest I didn't really like the rebreather, and think I'll stick to normal scuba for the time being. I found breathing to be a bit difficult, and my chest was a bit tight for the whole 20 mins I was down there. But who know, maybe in the future when I have done a bit more 'normal' scuba diving I will look into a bit more :)
 That evening I decided I would have something familiar for dinner - McDonald's :P Now, I'm not sure if it was the Macca's, or something else I had eaten, but that night I was sick :( GRR why does this always happen on the last night I am in a place, right before I need to catch a plane?! Ok, not always, but it did happen in Egypt too... Now, if you read part 1 of this post, you will know that my first impression of my hotel room was how small the bathroom was - let's just say that by the end of my time in Juan les Pins I was VERY glad that bathroom was tiny. It meant I could reach both the sink and the toilet at once... But enough on that subject!

Pretty Flower

My diving injury :(

Gotta get a bus down there!

Mangy, Phoebe looking cat!

This is fun!

Moon rising. This is the beach I did my confined dives in

Learning about rebreathers

I  think the Diamond Diving guys keep this place in business!

Jerome, with his 'sunken treasure' and Benoit

Out to dinner :)
And finally... I thought I should actually
include a photo of me in
scuba gear :P