After a round of mini-partner yoga at the beach, we checked in to our Venice Beach place. Studying and taking quizzes for a few hours, we took our final exam around 11 at night to finish the classroom portion of the PADI open diver qualification. Getting an 85% on the exam (Erica got 92%), we fell asleep around midnight.
Morning arrived quickly and after breakfast we headed to the dive shop – filled out forms, took ANOTHER quiz, were fit for equipment, bought some gear, packed a bag of gear each and loaded them in the car. Our instructor Jason gathered us and briefed us on all the dive signals and the agenda for about the first half of the contained water skills before running out of time.
Grabbing a burrito and driving to the pool, we all gathered and after some gear replacement and repair started with the first skill- getting our equipment ready. We put together and broke down the gear five times in a row. In all, there were more than two dozen diving skills plus the tasks like getting our gear ready.
The last one, after five hours in the pool, was to swim 16 laps. We did this without the wet suit and with our goggles, snorkel and fins. It was getting dark, the lights were on and it was pretty cold outside. There were no breaks during the day. No stopping to drink water. We peed in our wet suits.
The next day we returned all the gear and Jason admitted that it was the first time EVER that he was able to complete all the skills in one day. We all admitted to passing out early. Usually the contained water portion is divided over two weekends. Jason was able to compress the schedule by consulting with the shop owner Beth about how to sequence everything. We couldn’t do that as next Saturday, we depart for Bangkok. We talked about trying to knock the open water test out before leaving. It looks like we could only do that as a private course and so wait after 12 December, when we fly in to Phuket.