Sunday, November 23, 2014

Travel: Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives (Day 3)

Cocoa Island Dive Shop Review

In preparation for our trip to the Maldives, we began our PADI Open Water Diver certification at home in NJ. We did our theory online, and our closed water (pool) sessions at the Hoboken Dive Shop. We planned to do 4 open water dives on our trip to complete our certification.

At the Dive Shop, we signed up for 4 dives over the next two days with Michy. We were so thrilled with having her as our instructor - she was incredible. Patient, understanding, extremely knowledgeable, calming, funny, laid-back -- just amazing!!! She was extremely thorough in our pre-dive briefings, answering all the questions we had. She made sure to check what we knew and remembered from our closed water dives, and helped us get comfortable with all the safety checks and precautions needed to go diving. Absolutely an A+ instructor!

On our first full day of our stay, we did a dive in the morning and then again in the afternoon. The morning dive was at the Cocoa House Reef. You enter from the shore, and swim along a little channel to a clearing in the reef. Our first dive was to get used to the equipment again, so we didn't have to deal with any skills (yay). Our second dive was at Cocoa Giri, a very short boat ride away. We did some skills here (regulator recovery, half mask and full mask clear, and alternate air exercise).

On our second full day, we decided to do our dives back-to-back, because on our first day we felt really sleepy after having lunch between the dives. We did our third dive at the Cocoa House Reef again, and did a TON of skills. It was skill after skill after skill because of how we decided to re-arrange our dives. Our last dive was at Woggiri, a little farther away by boat than Cocoa Giri. Our last dive had fewer skills, and after we finished, we spent quite a while longer looking at things.

It was such an incredible experience. I really want to go diving again! Everyone at the dive shop said we'd be spoiled for life now, having gone diving in the Maldives as our first open water experience. I think they may be right -- guess that means we just have to go back, right?

The cost of completing our open water certification here was very similar to what it would have cost us in NJ. There's no special training dive spots at Cocoa Island, so I think this was a really great value. Plus, we got the super knowledgeable Michy as our guide! :)

The dive sites

Wetsuits drying at the dive center

Other pictures from our 3rd day:

Tiny hermit crab

Another hermit crab!


Cory in the pool

A rare picture of us together

Fish feeding off the private jetty - one of the special scheduled events on the weekly calendar


Bird at the pool outside dinner

Bird hanging out after dinner at his usual spot.

Long exposure shot

Another long exposure shot

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