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Stacy reviews the coursework under the shade of a beach unbrella in preparation for the final exam.

day 5

Stacy and I woke up especially early on this day. We decided to go to the beach early and finish our reading and review for the final exam. I can't imagine a more beautiful place to be, even if you are studying hard.

Thankfully it looked like the winds had begun to die down. Though there were still some whitecaps on the sea it certainly wasn't like the days before. The water too had started to warm up (though it was already quite hot) and clear from the silt stirred from the previous days hard winds.
Stacy stands behind the shop counter as we get gear together for the days dives. Later that morning we met with Pilu to review the dive tables and their usage. Using the dive card turns out to be the most difficult part of the course for most people. Though they typically have a steep learning curve, because Stacy uses these types of cards at work, and because I'm mathematically inclined, they were easy to pick up. All the same it was nice to have Pilu talk us through them with her expertise.

After our session with Pilu it was on to take the final exam. Both Stacy and I jammed through it. In the end Stacy missed 1 question and I missed 2 stupid ones. I figured she'd show me up on the final! Pilu reviewed our missed questions and talked about her experiences with diving as a sport. She encouraged us to stay with it when we got home. (Which we totally plan to do, I have even bought a 7mm wetsuit for the cold waters here). Next we reviewed our dive plan for the day and assembled our gear. We planned on making 2 rather deep dives on this day, with an adequate surface interval. Stacy was mentally preparing for the possibility of getting sick on the boat during the surface interval. We promised to stick close to her this time.
Jon, Stacy and Pilu in the hands of caption on the way out to our last 2 dives for certification. The first dive was at "El Bajo" which is one of the deepest dives in the park averaging 60ft. After the boat ride out we were rewarded with excellent 90ft+ visibility. It was almost perfect visibility. Though the seas were still rather heavy on the surface. Once at depth we stopped to do a few more exercises as review including the full mask removal + swim without mask component. For the rest of the dive we concentrated on buoyancy control. The dive was wicked cool, with a lot of marine life. Among the many things, we encountered a large lobster, moray eels, striped eels and huge angel fish.
Stacy replaces her mask after swimming underwater without it. Because our first dive was at 60ft. we had a bit of a surface interval on the boat before the second dive. Though the wind had died off a bit, it was still rather rough. Stacy got queezy again, but didn't get sick. After the interval and a boat drive out to the 2nd dive site we changed tanks and dropped in. Again the water was super clear. No more exercises here, just a terrific escorted dive.

This dive site had tons of super large fish, and Stacy saw her first "bait ball". A large school of fish being pushed into a tight ball by predator groupers. It was unbelievable.
Jon, Stacy and Pilu in the hands of caption on the way out to our last 2 dives for certification. Group shot on class completion. We were both really on returning to the dive center that night. It had been a really long day. But we were finally done! All exercises both in water and on land were completed along with the required coursework and testing.

We were real SCUBA divers now! Pilu, Maribelle and others congratulated us. It was actually emotional.