I had the pleasure of conducting PADI Junior Advanced Open Water with Johnny, Tony’s son. Johnny lives in the UK and whenever he comes to Singapore to visit his father they always go diving for a weekend. A good friend and fellow PADI Instructor, Chris Hutton taught Johnny to dive one week after his tenth birthday, he is now 12 and is a really good diver.
We spent the weekend diving around Pulau Aur, Malaysia on board The Ark. It was a very smooth ride Friday night from Singapore, well that’s what I thought anyway. I was really tired after a busy week and went to bed around 10pm and woke at 7.30am not remembering any waves at all. According to the rest of the people onboard it was a little rough at one part of the evening.
The first dive was at Pulau Lang. Johnny and I geared up, quickly did our buddy check and then Johnny did a perfect giant stride off the back of the live-on-board boat. We swam over the line that we used to descend. The viz was awesome at 20 plus metres with fish everywhere, including a couple of big trigger fish. A cleaner wrasse followed us for most of the dive and a curious rabbit fish and bat fish came in very close.
This dive was “peak performance buoyancy” and I did not have much work to do. Johnny’s buoyancy was pretty good already, I adjusted his trim a bit and we did a fin pivot and hover. We spent the next 30 minutes swimming over rocks, up and down adjusting buoyancy along the way. I had to remind Johnny to let some expanding air out of his BCD as we went shallower. Other than that, he was pretty good. All the other kids I have taught at his age are usually all over the place, but Johnny was very focused and controlled, I could see he really loves diving.
The second dive was at Rayner’s Rock and it was the “deep dive”. Johnny is only 12 so the deepest we could go was 18 metres and we spent most of the dive at this depth. Johnny’s air consumption was very good, even after 30 minutes at 18 metres and another 15 minutes around 14 metres he still ended with 100 bar. This was with a smaller than normal tank too. We did not see anything special at Rayner’s Rock which was unusual.
The third dive was a Pinang and I have never been too impressed with this site lately. Not many fish normally, so I was surprised to see a school of big squid as soon as we jumped in. There were alot of fish and I was happy to stay for an hour.
There was a school of barracuda, lots of damsels, fusiliers, some lonely trevally including a golden trevally, puffer fish, box fish and lots of clown fish. I found myself right on top of a trigger fish that swam out of a rock and scared the poop out of me. Luckily they are not nesting at the moment and didn’t really care about me at all.
Dive four was at Captain’s Point and I had not dived there for a long time. We chose this site due to the rain and wind that we encountered on Saturday. 1 minute after jumping in I saw this huge turtle, the biggest one I have ever seen, bigger than the ones at Sipadan, Malaysia. It must have been two metres long and one metre wide. It took off as soon as it saw me, I guess that’s why it has grown so big. Tony nearly bumped into it 10 minutes later, it was sitting on a rock and when Tony rounded he corner it was right in front of him.
The night dive was at Telok Jawa, it was short and boring.
Sunday we dived Pinnacle Two and Pinang again. Pinnacle Two had incredible viz of up to 30 metres. There was a bit of current and we managed to swim all the way to the front of the Pinnacle where I have been seeing some schooling big fish and eagle rays. But no such luck today, so we watched the school of small barracuda.
Then we noticed a large a scorpion fish sitting on the hard coral. We had to keep the dive short at 40 minutes so we could get two dives in to get home on time. So we drifted back to the line, did our safety stop, got back on onboard for a short surface interval before diving Pinang.
Pinang was not as good as Saturday, good viz, but not many fish. Just a trigger fish and a couple of nudi’s. I decided to take as many photos as I could until my battery went flat. Another 40 minute dive and we were back on the boat first, showered and relaxed.
Congratulations to Johnny for completing his PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver Course. At 12 he is the youngest Advanced Open Water student that I have taught and he is excellent at diving with a good diving future ahead. His buoyancy was really good and he had no problems doing free ascents to 15 metres. He is also very competent at deploying his surface marker buoy (SMB) and can navigate well using his compass. Future instructor!
Glenda’s Tip : Young kids are quite adventurous and if you are a parent, don’t be scared to take them with you diving. Their maturity will often surprise you. The minimum age for Junior Open Water is 10 years old with a maximum depth of 12 metres. Or if you have someone who is very eager, children aged 8 years and above can enjoy themselves in the pool with formal scuba diving certifications.
Cheers – Gary
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