By guest blogger Lowri James
Becoming PADI Master Scuba divers with Cyprus Diving Adventures was something Oli and I were keen to achieve; not only do fewer than two percent of divers achieve this rating, but it would also coincide perfectly with becoming PADI Divemasters and enable us to gain more experience in a range of different diving as we worked towards becoming PADI professionals. Having already completed our Deep Diver specialty course in 2014 and becoming Rescue Divers, we decided to choose 4 other specialties that would be perfect for furthering our diving education journey.
This is a one day course where we learnt about the many benefits of breathing enriched air on a dive, which involves using a mix of air with a higher concentration of Oxygen (known as Nitrox). Qualifying as an enriched air diver enables you to benefit from longer ‘no decompression’ times, meaning you can stay at depths for longer periods. This is great for exploring certain dive sites which are deeper or are doing multiple dives over the course of a few days or more. Doing two dives using Nitrox / Enriched Air is optional as part of the course but highly recommended. We have dived using Nitrox on a few occasions and enjoy the benefits when diving some beautiful sites here in Cyprus such as St George’s Island in Latchi and the Zenobia in Larnaca.
This course dramatically improves confidence in the water, being taught how to use a combination of compass and natural navigation to find your way around different dive sites. The course is 1 to 2 days and over 3 dives we learnt how to master using a compass, estimate distances we were covering underwater as well as how to mark and relocate a specific position or submerged object from the surface. One thing Oli and I love doing now is exploring new or unfamiliar dive sites, putting skills into practice and coming across certain landmarks which reassure us that we’re navigating correctly and confidently!
This 2 day, 4 dive course taught us how to locate and retrieve a range of objects using different search patterns, which vary depending on the size of the objects. We learnt how to tie different knots underwater and how to use a lifting device / lift bag to bring heavier objects to the surface. It was certainly very rewarding conducting a search pattern, to then successfully find the object hidden by Steve, our instructor. Using a lift bag as well as many elements of this and other courses, improved our general dive skills such as buoyancy control and positioning in the water.
Having visited Cynthiana, a beautiful dive site in Paphos several times, we found it was a completely different and exciting experience in the dark. This 3-dive course enabled us to enter an even newer underwater world by teaching us how to use our light devices / torches effectively. Communication and navigation also differs in the dark so this element is also explained and put into practice. All this whilst observing how marine life changes at night.
Achieving this highest rating in recreational diving was incredibly rewarding and the 5 specialties combined enabled us to be more knowledgeable and experienced divers. Whether you chose to continue your journey into the world of professional diving or not, we found becoming a PADI Master Scuba Diver is certainly worthwhile.