On December 2, 2017, I logged my first official dive. My instructor and I tagged along with a small group that was heading to Baring, off Olango Island.
Olango Island is near Mactan Island, and is sort-of part of Cebu Province. I won’t get into geopolitics here. However, the area is a major tourism destination in the Philippines. That said, Baring was not at all crowded while we were there.
My second-favorite feature was the fish. Compared to other places I have dived or snorkeled, the fish at Baring seemed bigger. I also saw species that I have never seen before, so that was also interesting.
There were many interesting corals, but the sandy paths between them seemed larger than other places. In other words, the corals seemed to be spaced apart a bit more.
So, I have seen a more interesting coral garden before, but Baring has the best fish.
My apologies for not having photos, but bringing a waterproof camera is discouraged during training. I need to focus on such things as my buoyancy, my air supply, and so forth.
For that matter, we repeated exercises that we previously did in the swimming pool. Basically, you practice everything in the relative safety of a swimming pool first, and then you perform these exercises for real in the ocean.
If you missed my blog post about SSI Open Water Diver swimming pool exercises, I listed most of them here: https://scubadivingzero.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/day-one/
My favorite feature, was the end of the world. We did not explore Baring’s wall, but we looked at the top. What made it really interesting, is that visibility ended right there. So, it looked like the seafloor abruptly dropped off and led to absolutely nowhere. It was surreal.
At the end of our dive, we logged 48 minutes underwater and a maximum depth of 14.1 meters. Because the plateau is relatively shallow, we did not have to perform a stop during our ascent.
After our dive, we returned to our dive center for a debriefing and to eat lunch. In the afternoon, we completed a few more swimming pool exercises.
When we called it a day, we scheduled my next training for one week later.