Our pool is fantastic for cooling down in the summer months and even for swimming a few lengths. We also designed it to accommodate diver training. This came in handy last November when, thanks to some extra-windy conditions, Red C Villas had the opportunity to host the confined water portion of the recent PADI Instructor Examination (IE) in Dahab.
The PADI IE is a two-day set of written and practical assessments, which SCUBA instructor candidates take after completing an 11-day IDC (Instructor Development Course). Dahab typically hosts about four IEs per year, usually in the Masbat Bay area.
The first day began at 07.30 with an orientation from PADI examiner, Nicole Detry. The instructor candidates then sat two written exams on dive theory and teaching standards. This takes several hours, and it was during these written exams that the wind kicked up from the Southeast.
A bit of background: The Lighthouse dive site in Masbat Bay, has a sandy slope that is perfect for teaching beginner divers. This makes it an excellent choice of location for the in-water assessments of instructor candidates during the IE. This area is generally calm as the Lighthouse reef protects it from waves kicked up by the prevailing North to Northeast winds. Sometimes the wind changes to a South to Southeast direction and wreaks a bit of havoc in the Bay. This only happens a couple of times a year and can cause damage to the seafront restaurants. It also makes dive guides and instructors re-think their site selection and logistics.
As the wind strength increased and The Lighthouse became a decidedly unfriendly location for confined water assessment, an alternate plan was needed before too much daylight was lost. The Course Directors (CDs) started coming up with ideas. Lagoona, a large area sheltered by a sand-spit to the south of Dahab, was one plan. The pool at Red C Villas was another. The pool is large enough to accommodate reasonably-sized groups and has the correct depths for teaching dive skills.
At first, I was worried this event might disrupt our guests, but a quick call to Steve found they were out for the day. Nicole seemed rather keen on the idea, so it was decided. We communicated the change of venue, sorted a pickup truck, and headed to Red C.
Once the instructor candidates had assembled their gear, they briefed their confined water skills to Nicole and got in the pool. They then reduced their weights to compensate for fresh water. Our pool is lightly salinated, but is still only about a tenth the salinity of the Red Sea.
First they did a demonstration-quality skills circuit, then each taught an assigned skill. Nicole marked them while snorkelling above. Once finished, they exited the water for debriefing.
We had two groups of instructor candidates complete the confined water assessment with Nicole that day. Everything flowed very smoothly and the close proximity of Red C Villas to the Masbat Bay area made it possible for all candidates to finish in the daylight.
By the next day, the wind shifted to its normal northerly direction so the open water assessments were done in Masbat Bay.
Red C fun fact: We have a saltwater chlorinator in our pool, which converts sodium chloride into chlorine by electrolysis. This is more environmentally friendly, and often does not smell strongly of chlorine. Red C Villas pool is 1.3m in the shallow end and gradually sloping to 2.2m. We regularly provide try-dives in our pool between April and November.
During these months, you can Learn to Dive in our pool. Do the confined water sessions for your Open Water Course at Red C by taking advantage of our premium diving service. Dive the premium way means your instructor comes to you at Red C Villas. This is ideal for families as there is less travelling involved– you are based at Red C for the majority of the course.
You will find the water is a little bit salty, but is only a tenth the salinity of the sea so you don’t have to wear as much weight.
Until the next blog,