Thursday, 4 June 2015

Diving: Confined water

Last weekend I finally made it out into the water to start my diving course. I've barely recovered from how tiring it was; but, weather withstanding, I'll finish tomorrow. Yay!

I'm training with Sea Legends, formerly known as Omanta, who are based at The Wave. Luckily, I have a female instructor and the learning is one-on-one. The course is broken down into stages, I've already mentioned the theory, and the first time you get into the water it is to do what are known as the "confined dives." This is where you get to learn all the basic skills you are going to need in water that isn't too deep and with air not too far up. Usually, this is done in a pool but it can be done in shallow water too. I would recommend if you have the option choosing shallow water, being in the ocean is obviously the real deal and you start to get used to the sensation of salt water in your eyes and up your nose.

The skills, although obviously very necessary, are also very scary. Underwater you have to do things like remove and replace your air source, flood and clear your mask, and also remove your mask completely and replace it. I expected having to voluntarily remove my air source would be the worst part, but, in fact, it was the mask removing that was the most difficult, not only can you not see but to clear the mask you need to blow through your nose. I don't have enough blow and I need to keep repeating the process and it's quite easy to end up snorting sea water and then wanting to cough and just spit everything out, which obviously isn't a good idea.

We had an umbrella for a bit of shade!
Once you have passed all the skills, you then move onto two shallow dives (6-12 metres) where you practice some of your new skills and also explore the surroundings. This part should have been massively exciting, finally seeing all the sea life! But all I could think about was breathing, I barely paid any attention to the fish. Actually, learning to dive reminds me of the first days of driving, before everything becomes automatic. There is a lot to think about, how much air do I have? Am I breathing too deeply? How do I stay on one level? Is that fish laughing at me?

Swimming with flippers is also more difficult than I expected. I managed to kick and kick and not move anywhere for the first dive. I actually moved backwards, which my instructor said she has never seen anyone do before.

Tomorrow I will do my final two dives, putting more skills into practice and, hopefully, ending the day as a certified open-water diver. I'll let you know how it goes.