Welcome
An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014

http://www.biginjapan.co/biginjapan/getting-healthy-in-leeds-with-v-physique-body-by-design/

Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]

 

Diving testimonials

This part of the website is reserved for my dive course students to write comments or articles about the courses they have done with me.  Nothing will be edited or left out except the names of other divers mentioned, and hopefully you will be able to get an idea of how other divers feel about diving and learning to dive.  So without further ado, and newest first, I will begin…

This is something I should have written more about a couple of months back, when the dives were still fresh in my mind, but there are a couple of things that have stuck with me.

Checking out some of the diving spots in Okinawa was one of the first things I wanted to do upon arrival, and I was glad to find that I could do so in English with Dave. I wasn’t sure about doing the Advanced course immediately, given that I had only the five Open Water dives prior under my belt at that stage. However, I’m glad he convinced me to do so because these dives introduced me to some of the finer points of diving which can make one’s experience underwater so much more rewarding. Furthermore, Dave’s observation skills and his appreciation of underwater life can turn what some would argue is an average diving site into a fascinating world to explore.

Dave’s also very good at judging what you have the confidence and ability to do underwater. There was one instance during the navigation dive (if I remember correctly – unless it was on the bouyancy dive itself) which had me (metaphorically) shaking my head in dismay and slight annoyance on seeing a familiar narrow passage. However, it was a challenge that I was pleased to have been able to complete, albeit not without a scrape or two.

For the above and many more reasons, if anyone’s looking to further their skills (or to simply begin diving), I highly recommend Diving Dave. His patience, encouragement and positive attitude made me challenge myself not only in diving but in many other aspects of life here in Okinawa, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the water. Cheers Dave, and congrats on reaching your next qualification level!

-Kerri Ng, on completing her Advanced Open Water course

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I just got OW certified with Dave and couldn’t be happier about the experience. You cannot find another course at such a reasonable price, much less of such a high quality. Dave was very dependable, very patient, and an excellent teacher. At first there were questions I didn’t want to ask because I thought “shoot I’m supposed to know this from the book,” but I soon learned that Dave was there to answer any and all questions, and was not presumptuous about how good of a student we were. He was there to make us feel comfortable doing what we were doing, which is exploring a world that humans weren’t exactly made for.

The dives themselves were AWESOME and I can’t wait to rack up more. Even now, after the course, Dave is still reliable for any SCUBA related questions I have. He is dependable, patient, unassuming and thoroughly qualified and knowledgeable. If you’re going to learn to dive, do it with Dave!

-Kind words from Martin Smith, a very competent Open Water diver

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I have wanted to SCUBA for as long as I can remember so you can imagine I had high expectations when I signed up for the open water course with Dave. 35,000 Yen seems like a lot of money at first, but by the time I finished the course I felt badly for second guessing the course on account of the money. Dave is a dependable, encouraging, knowledgeable, easy going, and genuine instructor who is not in the PADI biz to make money. Dave’s open water PADI certification class surpassed my expectations. Good stuff Dave!

-Laura Brown, an excellent student on finishing her OW course

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I completed my open water padi dive thingy with Dave last weekend (9th and 10th of June).  All I can do is highly recommend Diving Dave.  He was infinitely patient with us (group of 4) and guided us smoothly through the padi course.  He also huge value for money, for his extremely reasonable fee he bends over backwards to accommodate you.  Seriously!  He was brilliant in scheduling things to accommodate us all and with extras such as transport to the dive site thrown in.  He puts you as number one on his priority list, damn good practice if I say so myself.  I didn’t ever feel worried or nervous throughout the entire course and in fact had a darn good time doing it.  I thoroughly recommend the man, nothing feels better than his hearty hand shake upon successful completion of a skill!
Do dive with Dave it’s devilishly delightful!

Craig Mauelshagen, having completed his Open Water course (16/6/07)

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Big kudos to Dave for helping me to overcome a morbid fear of diving after a nightmare experience in Turkey where I was literally thrown off the side of a boat with no training or preparation whatsoever.

Dave’s course was the complete opposite – he has the patience of a saint and his calm and relaxed attitude really helped to make me feel safe, and in spite of all my trepidation I had a great time getting my license. After Turkey, I really thought I would never dive again but diving with Dave and my dive buddies has given me the confidence and enthusiasm to want to have more diving adventures.

I would recommend Dave to absolutely everyone; he really goes out of his way to make sure everyone is happy and comfortable in the water. Also, compared to other courses I’ve seen advertised here I can’t believe he’s making a profit! Excellent teaching skills plus incredible value for money – it’s a winning combination.

The underwater world is a lot of fun if you have a good instructor and I’m really looking forward to getting more diving experience and developing my skills.

-Alice Easey, commenting on her Open Water course (14/6/07)

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I had never really been in the ocean before moving to Okinawa.  Snorkeling was a new experience for me.  The new unpredictable environment of the ocean made me very nervous as I didn’t know what would happen or what kind of predators or dangerous I could encounter.  Snorkeling was fun though and as I began to feel more comfortable in the water I thought about diving.  But I was still afraid. Finally I told myself that it was too intriguing not to explore further and I should take the opportunity to get certified from Dave.

Throughout the course I was still a little afraid and felt uncomfortable in the gear and new surroundings.  Dave was extremely patient and helpful to answer all the questions.  He took his time to make sure I felt comfortable at each step and talked me through the difficult skills I had trouble with, especially the mask clearing and removal.  He went out of his way to give me extra time to dive with him so I could become more experienced.  On the fourth dive we did I could not clear my ears.  Dave patiently tried to help me work through this for over 10 minutes, but in the end said they may not clear this day.  He took me out of the water to rest and then proceeded with the rest of the divers.  I left the water feeling very frustrated and defeated. I watched from the shore and gave myself a peptalk and practiced trying to equalize on shore.  When they came back I told him I wanted to try one more time. I wouldn’t give up!  Though he was probably tired from the previous dive he jumped right back in the water with me and I was able to complete all the tasks with his help!  I was elated to accomplish this and I couldn’t have done it with out his help and understanding nature!  He is an awesome instructor and will do anything to get you comfortable in the water.  Because of Dave I am proud to say today that I am a certified diver and I feel confident that I will be able to dive successfully in the future!  If I was staying longer on this island I would be taking more classes from Dave as he makes you want to be in the water as much as possible! I only wish I had overcome this fear sooner so I could explore more of the ocean, but alas there will be other parts to discover later.

Thanks so much for your help Dave!  I couldn’t have done any of this without you!  You are a wonderful teacher and I really appreciate all you did for us!

-Kelly Wiebe, on completion of her Open Water course (11/6/07)

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Here’s a testimonial from a different perspective, from the perspective of the person who taught Dave to become a Dive Instructor.

Dave booked and paid a deposit for his IDC (the Instructor Development Course) almost 10 months in advance. This tells something about how excited and determined he was and rather than me being able to kick backand get some nice interest off that deposit, he made me work during all those 10 months! In a good way, I must admit though.

Dave had various questions, almost on a bi-weekly basis and it gave me the opportunity to get to know Dave well before he came over to KohSamui/Thailand to start his Instructor training. Most of his questions were well thought over and some of them made me think twice as well, which I enjoyed a lot.

By the time he finally made it to Samui, I was very curious to meet him in the flesh and as things turned out, he was a very nice person, a bit serious (in the best possible way) in the beginning but as fate had her hand in things, Dave’s IDC group and the people hanging out around this group proved to be a very inspirational and fun group of people and Dave easily fitted in and had his share of fun and opened up.

It was my pleasure, having Dave as one of my IDC candidates, his enthusiasm for and dedication to diving was inspirational for me and Dave has become a real friend over time.

I can only envy the divers that will be trained by him, I’m convinced they will have a great and fun time during which they will learn more about diving beyond what one can expect from an average Instructor or what is in the books.

Camille Lemmens
PADI Course Director

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“Dave is passionate about his diving and this definitely shines through and rubs off on those around him.  We decided to do the certification because we had talked about it when we first got married 16 years ago, but decided to wait until we could do it with our children. Dave has been generous, patient, helpful and forgiving.  I cannot imagine we could have done what we have done with anyone else.

As far as my present feelings towards diving and the new qualification, I’ll be proud to say I have done it.  However, I know that diving opportunities will not just appear and I will have to take a pro-active approach to making it happen in the future.  I do not relish the thought of diving in the cold water back home where 7mm wetsuits are almost minimal protection.  Spending the next month aboard a dive equipped yacht in Vanuatu with an experienced diver should provide opportunities to put what I have learned into practice and expand my skills and abilities.  Like all learning, the real trick is to make sure you learn enough to realize just how little you know.  Dave made sure that we were kept aware of that next level of training on the horizon as we worked on the basic knowledge and skills.

Physically, it is a bit of a wakeup call. At 39, I’ve seen better (thinner) days and I’m more motivated than ever to work on my fitness level, another bonus from the course.”

-Andrew McGeorge, on completion of his Open Water diving course (16/05/07)

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“After doing my PADI open water diving licence in the Philippines last year, I decided to take advantage of the offers Diving Dave Webb was making to the JET community to certify people during this year’s Golden Week for a very very amazing price!!

Since I first heard about the possibility of doing a night dive I’ve been intrigued – literally up until a year ago when I first started diving I had no idea that there was even such a thing as “Night diving”!  It sounded INSANE to me that anyone would voluntarily throw themselves into deep dark VERY scary waters!!
But I did a little bit of research into it and discovered that the best way to try out a variety of new adventurous dives as well as improving the diving skills I already had would be to do an advanced open water licence – which is exactly what I did!

I did the 2 days course with Dave as my instructor and A as my buddy (at first I was not entirely sure A would be the best person to dive with during my VERY first night dive – sure looking on the positive side of things – there was another diver – security in numbers! – and another menu option for the great white sharks I had been having nightmares about – but on the flip side I wouldn’t put it past A to take the killer shark by the dorsal fin and start trying to wrestle him Kita Daito style – I definitely had my concerns!!!)

I have always had a certain fear of the sea, but since moving to Okinawa I decided it was about time I confronted my fear head on.  I was sure that there was a whole world of wonder that I missing out on.  But as you can imagine on the night of the dive I was rather nervous.  The rational part of my mind knew that there was definitely not any killer sharks waiting to attack me.  The scariest thing I was likely to encounter was sea snakes.  This was going to be a MASSIVE challenge for me.

So we get all our equipment ready, we put everything on and then we took a minute just to psychologically prepare ourselves for the dive (I think this was more for my benefit then anyone else.  I had this strange tingling feeling running up and down my spine the kind of feeling where you don’t quite know whether to scream or cry or laugh – in fact I felt like laughing the most – if any of my friends back home could see me now, about to wade into pitch black sea at 8.30 at night gripping on to my small torch for dear life, they would never have believed it!).  We enter the sea and make our way out to the deep area where we plan to descend.  I take one last look at the world, put my regulator in my mouth and down I went.  We met at the bottom and I must admit it wasn’t quite as dark as I had thought it would be – I could see a faint glimmer of the moon up above.

We did some skills training and then we made our way to the “sightseeing” part of the dive which was a wall covered in the most beautiful soft coral.  I had already been to this spot twice before in the daytime so I was comfortable with my surroundings.  We swam along the side of the wall – as I looked to my right and shone the torch on to the wall I saw the most beautiful coral reef.  It looked very different at night.  As long as I concentrated on the coral to my right I was ok, but the minute I turned to my left there was nothing but a complete abyss beyond the reach of my torch’s beam  – it was hard to force my mind not to wander off into one of its paranoid scenarios involving Jaws!  But I did a pretty good job of keeping focused on what I could see rather then thinking about what I couldn’t see!  I was also keeping a very close eye on Dave’s whereabouts at all times there was NO way I was going to loose my buddies on a night dive! In fact I didn’t realise how close I was swimming to Dave until we rounded a corner and suddenly there was a rock race in front of us that we hadn’t seen before we were literally on top of it – it was quite funny – A had noticed it first and had very nicely stared to veer around it, but because I was literally leeching myself to Dave, when we both suddenly noticed the rock we had to make a sharp detour which resulted in both of colliding head first into A.  I felt sorry for A (and I’m even laughing while I write this because he was literally a victim to a hit and run) in the kafuffle I had a little panic that I might loose Dave and so while A was still in shock over how he’d just been rammed from above and below, I saw my chance of being stuck to Dave’s side slipping away, so I scrambled over A, gave him a gentle “nudge” out of my way and frantically started kicking my fins full speed ahead towards Dave (sorry A!).

Panic over – everyone (or rather me) calm again, we made our way back to the area where we begin our dive.  Oh no – now was the part I had been dreading – oh yes… there’s more.  As part of the skills of the night dive we had to remain at the bottom of the sea bed and turn off our torches for a WHOLE minute (there was no point cheating – I had already discussed the option of breaking the minute prematurely if I freaked out but then we’d just have to start over).  So I took a deep breath, took hold of Dave and A’s arm (I absolutely didn’t want to switch my torch back on to discover that I had drifted away somewhere on my own!!) and we all covered up the lights.  After a few seconds, our eyes adjusted and I realised that it wasn’t pitch black as I had imagined. There was enough light for me to be able to see Dave and A.  While the lights were switched off we saw the most amazing thing – when we wafted our hands in front of us there was tiny tiny particles of phosphorescent particles all around us – it was quite magical!

We uncovered our torches and then we started to make out way back up to the surface.  But while we were making a safety stop at 5 meters another very funny thing happened…  I was (obviously) right next to Dave, and to our left was A who was not looking at us but looking at something in front of him.  As Dave glanced over at A he noticed an enormous sea snake slithering about just behind A’s head (we had previously been warned that it was sea snake mating season and although they can’t really bite you, they do tend to be a little bit aggressive this time of year and they sometimes swim up to divers and start squaring up to them).  So we tried to signal A to get his attention and tell him to slowly move away from the snake. But A didn’t quite understand what we were getting at – he thought that we were saying to him “Grab the chain! Grab the chain!”.  “Oh no!! A what ever you do – do NOT grab what you think is the chain – its alive and likely to get rather pissed off if you grab it!”.  At this point I was almost choking myself by laughing and trying to breath through my regulator (I knew that I was far enough away from the snake to find it funny – it would have been a very different story if I had been in A’s place though!!!).  Finally A figured out what we were trying to tell him, he turns around and is almost close enough to kiss the monster of a sea snake he is face to face with!  He jumps back (pretty difficult to do when you are in an almost weightless environment under water) and moves quickly away from the snake.  Phew  – danger averted!!  It was very funny indeed!

We make our way out of the water – it’s gone 9pm at this point.  I feel an enormous sense of pride for myself.  I DID A NIGHT DIVE!  “Me” who is / was scarred witless of the sea 2 years ago. I also felt exhausted  – my adrenalin had been pumping around my body non-stop for the entire dive and now there was literally no energy left.

I look back on my first night dive with some wonderful memories, some funny stories, many many wonderfully magical imagines in my mind of the sea life and coral at night, and an enormous sense of achievement!  I would even go so far as to say that I would probably do another night dive in the future – it was a very different experience to daytime diving and not at all as terrifying as I had imagined!  I am also very lucky that I was diving with two very patient and understanding friends who made me feel very safe I would absolutely recommend a night dive to anyone – it is an amazing experience and definitely a worth while challenge!!!”

-Maria Moodie, commenting on the Night dive of her Advanced Open Water course (16/5/07)

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