East Coast Trip: SSI Scuba Course Magnetic Island

SSI Magnetic Island

SSI Scuba Course Magnetic Island

Earlier in my trip I’d taken an introductory Scuba Dive experience whilst out on the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns and bar the horrifying first few seconds, I actually really loved it, which was a good thing as I’d already planned on doing my Open Water Dive Course in Magnetic Island.

The course was a very reasonable $399, split over 4 days at Base Magnetic Island, making it one of the cheapest entry points into the world of Scuba Diving.

Here’s what you get up to over the course of those 4 days;

SSI Magnetic Island

This does not mean “okay”!

Day 1 – Day 1 begins bright and early at 9am. I say bright and early because as a backpacker, you rarely see this time of morning or if you do it’s usually through the veil of goon eyes! After meeting the instructor who would be teaching us how to dive, my dive partner and I (there was only two of us on the course) were made to watch a few ‘educational’ DVD’s explaining the risks and precautions for Scuba Diving. This took a few hours and after we’d watched the DVD’s we had to answer a series of questions before moving onto the next section. This part was pretty tedious, as I find theory in general but it has to be done. In the afternoon we had a swim test that we had to pass in order to progress onto the next stage of the course. The test consisted of 20 unbroken lengths of the hostel pool, followed by 10 minutes of treading water without touching the floor. I must mention that I am in no way shape or form a good swimmer but managed to pass the test pretty comfortably. After this we were free to go and relax for the rest of the afternoon, though we were given some homework to do!

Day 2 – Day 2 starts with yet more DVD’s (the last of them thankfully) followed by reviewing the previous nights homework, which was to read the last sections of the dive manual and answer the questions. It’s pretty basic stuff and not to difficult, which is good because before you can move onto the skills elements of diving you have to pass a 50 question multiple choice test, which we took just before lunch. We both passed (good aren’t we..) and for the rest of the day, we were introduced to our Scuba equipment and spent the afternoon in the pool learning the skills we needed to perform competently both in the pool and in the open water the next day!

SSI Magnetic Island

Some fish are hard to spot!

Day 3 – On day 3, we started off by performing the emergency ascent on a single breath test in the pool, which was pretty scary to be honest. To simulate running out of air, you have to take a big intake of air, then exhaling the whole time, swim the entire length of the pool without taking a breath and I only just made it to the end! Once that was out of the way, we had to then perform all of the skills we were taught the day before on the bottom of the pool, both of us taking turns to follow the instructors prompts. we were both picking it up fairly quickly so the instructor decided that after lunch we’d go out into the ocean and perform all of the skills there on the ocean floor, which we did with no problems. That was day 3 done and with 2 of the 6 mandatory dives completed, it meant day 4 would be spent doing four recreational dives in the ocean.

Day 4 – Day 4 was a chilled day to be fair. We’d met all the requirements of the Open Water Course bar the mandatory number of dives, which meant all we had to do was complete four fun dives in order to be certified. And that’s what we did. We had a different instructor on day 4 who was allowed to lead recreational dives and he took us on the four dives we needed to do. The only other thing we had to do was fill out our dive logs and get a photo taken for our certified diver identification.

SSI Magnetic Island

Others aren’t…

Becoming a certified diver was definitely an amazing experience and one that I’m keen to progress with given the amount of advanced dive courses there are out there! I’m thinking of getting my advanced in Thailand sometime in the future and then to move onto underwater photography, but we shall see!

I highly recommend getting your Open Water if you’re remotely interested in Scuba Diving and would definitely recommend checking out the course on Magnetic Island!

-Craig

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