Well, I did it!
I am now a Rescue Diver.
I did not think I had passed the course and was somewhat subdued for a while. Rob and I had had words as I talk too much and Rob did not like it. I must learn to curb my tongue and listen before passing comment (or not passing comment, as the case may be).
I had four scenarios to pass which aimed to be as realistic as possible. We went out to open water near Sandy Island. I had to bring in a diver who had cut his hand, become anxious and then out of air on the way up to the surface on the first scenario. Then I had to get him on board and administer first aid. This went ok I am pleased to say and Oscar hopeful, Dougy, was well and truly bandaged up in true first aider style!
Next came the pair of divers in distress. One panicked and one was tired. I got the panicked diver to the boat and was returning to the second diver when he became a very alarming panicked diver. I had no scuba on and he weighes considerably more than me. I knew (because he had already done it on my practice sessions) that he was far stronger than me and if he ducked me I had no chance. Luckily, I had a flotation ring, which I attempted to keep between him and me. I kept out of his way and waited until he had had enough. I was shaking when I got back on the boat. It was tough.
Next, and by this time I was getting tired, came the lost diver underwater. I had to organise a search and this time I got flustered and had to start the scenario twice to get it right. Then Rob and I went down and I navigated an expanding square search pattern to find Dougy. Then I had to bring him up and administer mouth to mouth. I found getting the face mask out of my bcd (bouyancy control device - the jacket that holds the air tank) pocket impossible and so had to do mouth to mouth, rather than mouth to face mask.
The last scenario was by far the hardest and I had to do it three times to get it right. I was not sure I had passed it even when we finished for the day. I had to bring an unconscious diver who was not breathing to the boat, get him aboard and administer oxygen and cpr. Again I could not get my face mask out of my pocket and I had to do mouth to mouth. I will have to look at my bcd and find a better place for the face mask so I can reach it easily. I had what seemed like very long swims with the victim and then it was hard work to get him out of the water. Sadly for my oscar deserving victim he got a bit bumped about when I accidently swam him into the propeller of one of the engines. I know it hurt and I bet the bruises are huge this morning. Sorry Dougy. On my last attempt I did not drown my victim and he may actually have survived if the scenario had been for real.
Rob kept me in suspense all the way back to land, just saying that he would meet me at Sammie's Bar, along from the jetty. I was subdued. I was totally exhausted by now and Rob had told me off several times. No one likes this and I did not really think it was justified but he was as stressed as I was, wanting me to pass but to pass properly and to get it all over before it got too dark.
Rob, Dougy, Punky and I all gathered at the bar and I was told my fate. By now I was convinced I had blown it. I had decided that enough was enough and if I did not pass, then so be it. I wanted to go home and sleep! I also ached and longed for a bath. As our house does not have a bath, I was doomed. To be honest I was a bit miserable and just wanted the suspense to be over!
I was dead chuffed when Rob said I had passed and presented me with a Rescue Diver Certificate and all my paperwork filled out to get my certification from PADI. My grin was huge! Of course there were hugs all round and I got a bit choked up. I am a girl, after all! Rob and I agreed to be friends again (we were never really not, I have to say. Friends can have disagreements). He took the attached photo of me with my certificate.
So I have done it. I have to say a big, huge, mega thank you to Rob for getting me through and for not giving up on me, to Dougy for being a great victim and allowing me to batter him in the name of a PADI certification, to Punky for his calmness and advice and to all of the team for their generosity in the face of adversity. They really wanted me to pass but were not prepared to compromise standards, which is just as it should be. Thank you guys and Punky, I want to see the video!
If there is anyone out there in reader land who would like to learn to dive, take a speciality or more advanced course, I have no hesitation in recommending Special D Divers. Dougy Carty can be reached on: http://www.dougcarty.com/
So what is next for me? I have a Navigation Speciality Course starting this coming week and then I will do the Boat Diving Course and either the Deep Dive or Night Dive Speciality Courses. After I have these I can apply to PADI for my Master Scuba Diver accreditation. Phew! I will be a busy girl but at least the worst is over!