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April 15, 2014

Lanzarote

Having struggled with the cold water at Stoney Cove and the heavy, restrictive kit that goes with it, it was decided that before I gave up completely, I should try my luck in the warmer waters of Lanzarote. I have dived in the Canaries before but my goal was to qualify so I could dive to 20m. There had apparently been very bad weather in the month before, so we timed it just right. I also enjoy the smaller, more intimate, yet still lively atmosphere the dive centres on the islands have to offer.

Hoping to complete three more ‘open water’ dives, I contacted Safari Dive Centre in Lanzarote who have BSAC instructors. Shout out to Adam who was given the task of “taking me on”!

The resort of Playa del Carmen is a meeting point for all dive centres in the area, but Safari has bagged it with its own premises right on the beach. The bay is like a huge swimming pool, ideal for beginners, progressive training and then the boats will take you out and beyond. In the changing/ kit room I felt a little lost for all of 5 seconds before everyone was helping me and each other out; novices and old–timers alike.

My first assessment dive was skills stuff, which went pretty well, (respect to Richard at BSAC 109) Adam said my instructor back home did super work with me (I didn’t mention your near breakdown)! Afterwards we swam around for a while as you do, and saw mmm… fishes, big fishes, pretty fishes, ugly fishes … yep you get the idea; I need to to do a fish recognition course.

Second dive went fine, till some fella warned there were jellyfish along the harbour wall, “oh how many” asked my instructor, six, seven? “No, at least 70” came the reply. Not really what you want to hear when you’re trying to dive lead your instructor home. Never mind, we got home safely.

Next dive was from the boat, bit wobbly but with the help of amazing crew and Skip Yokin, half my my size, made feel safe and capable. Always smiling. The brief was to dive Richie’s Place; some poor fella who died diving when only quite young. Adam showed me his ‘gravestone’. When I looked around I couldn’t see anyone, slight worry kicking in, but within seconds he was there again.

The experience was amazing, the fish, well they were fish (for now). The team at Safari Dive Centre were kind, enthusiastic, accommodating. Is this an advert for Safari Dive Centre in Lanzarote? Yes.

But moreover this is a big appraisal and thank you to BSAC 109 for all your support and kindness. Especially to Simon and Richard for not giving up on me.

Julia Parkes