Taking the Plunge
By Angus Bidwell and Hugo Prinsloo of Marco Polo tent
After a constructive week at Salima bay, the Quest group traveled to Monkey Bay to start a week of scuba diving and responsible drinking. We arrived on Monday at the Fat Monkey lodge and immediately started our diving theory, the instructive PADI videos proved to be mind numbingly boring. Whilst testing out the Fat Monkey Bar we met a rather eccentric man called Mad Max. He earned his name when he pulled down his pants to prove to everyone he was ‘going commando’.
The next day the advanced divers did 2 dives and the beginners did more theory… One of the advanced divers struggled to equalize his ears and damaged his ears. The beginner group learned a lot of ‘fun facts’ such as scuba is spelt s-c-u-b-a and that divers are ‘under’ achievers. Amazing!
The beginner group did their first enclosed water dives the next day and used all of the kit so, unfortunately, the advanced divers couldn’t dive… shame. The beginners had a great day and learnt a lot of important skills. The advanced divers looked forward to diving the next day but, yet again, the beginners used all of the kit to complete their last skill dive.
The small group of people who didn’t do diving would spend their day sleeping and exploring the village.
The week improved even more when we discovered that Fat Monkey could give us fresh coffee every morning after PT.
The beginners got to do their first open water dive which was a great success and it turns out that we are all ‘naturals’ underwater. Unfortunately up on land some Questors had some stomach problems and spent their day decompressing themselves on the toilet. In total the beginner divers did 4 open water dives and all passed the exam and are now qualified divers. The advanced divers all passed their course as well.
We were set to leave on Saturday at 02:00 so we had our last meal at the Gecko lounge and decided to ‘socialize’ until we had to leave. My fellow Scot (no naming and shaming here Angus!-ed) could not handle his drink as well as he thought, and had to be assisted back to the bus by the graceful Brandan Durkan and the handsome Angus Bidwell. The bus journey to the Mozambique border felt longer than usual. We finally got back to Zimbabwe, after an 18 hour bus journey and stayed at Bryden Country School. The next day we arrived back at Quest at 14:00 feeling a bit dazed and dehydrated.
It is fair to say that we have had many learning experiences whilst in Malawi, but deciding to party all night before a long bus journey was probably one of the most painful.
The group spent the best part of this week working on their projects and preparing for a ‘Dragon’s Den’ which was held yesterday. They are now all heading home for a short break before they return Quest for their final semester. ed