I got a new student from the yacht Il Sole' earlier this week. Nicolize van der Merwe is an ebulliant and athletic young woman. She overcame her habit of breathing in through her nose and was ready for her first open water dive this morning. The visibility was not great and there was a moderate South current, but she was undaunted. We swam to 8 feet of water and descended, then swam out on the sand to make sure that she could equalize. Unfortunately, that meant that our current set was important and I simply lost track of it. I did not know where we were until half an hour into the dive, when I saw the big rock West of helmut head on the Big Coral Knoll. Once I spotted that, we did fine. We explored the Big Coral Knoll and spotted a small Green Sea Turtle sleeping under some coral. We swam to the Fish Camp Rocks to check for hermit crabs and Parrotfish. We even found the Pillar Coral, which is where I took the picture of Nicky. It was a long first dive, but enjoyable.
The second dive was better, though Nicky experienced some dizziness, headache and nausea immediately upon surfacing after the first dive. We took a long surface interval and tried again. We swam on the surface to the swim buoys and descended to go over the skills. Then we headed for the Ledge on the Eastern edge of the reef, where the bottom drops to about 35 feet on the sand. We came back to the Pillar Coral and turned slightly South to swim to the Lost Knoll and then the beach. This was also a long dive, but quite enjoyable.