It was until last year that the idea of diving adventures sank in. Reunited with my long lost hiking friends, I was invited to follow them for their open water course at Perhentian Island in April, 2012. Excited as they were, I was with them throughout the course except that I remained in the boat whenever they dived down under. Come to think of it, diving came close to my life when I stayed for a week at Perhentian Island with a team of divers who were contracted to build synthetic coral near Perhentian shore. That’s when my diving for beginners story begun.
I prided myself in many other adventures, but never in water activities. I was and still am a hydrophobic. I still remember I was ‘thrown out’ into Bali open sea for snorkelling and ended up clinging to the edge of the boat. It was not a sad ending though as a Kiwi swimming instructor happened to share the boat with me for dolphin hunting and snorkelling. Hands gripped, we snorkelled together. As the time flies, I have seen myself braving the Philippines sea hunting for sea urchins and snorkelling like there is no tomorrow.
And then I fell in love with this man who is as crazy to diving as how I am crazy to travelling. With inner desire to discover the underwater paradise and moral support from friends and loved one, I enrolled myself into open water diving course.
The phases I went through were not all smooth. During my first diving for beginners class, I had the ear drum problem. For the first time in my life, I was scared of being deaf. I nearly dropped the whole idea of diving adventures. Then, my father and brother brought me to see the specialist. I was diagnosed fit for diving. So the idea relived. It was only later I knew my ear drum problem was due to my failure to equalize my ears.
Striking the ear drum problem, my only problem now is my fear for water. Yes, I belong to the class of people who takes to diving without knowing how to swim.
At the dive pool, I was the late bloomer. It took sometimes to learn how to clean my mask, gain confident to pull out second stage from my mouth, wear the mask inside the water and many others. There was one time when I was asked to wear BCD inside the pool, I accidently pulled my breathing apparatus (second stage) making me gulp some water. Instantaneously, I left everything and tried to resurface. I nearly drown.
With me wearing contact lenses, it is not helping the processes at all. Poor me, I felt down every time I came back from diving class. When you want to really do something, but you can’t.
When I was asked rather irritatingly why I can’t do what others can simply do, I had the urge to answer that IT IS THE FEAR THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WITHIN ME FOR THE PAST 26 YEARS, THAT I AM TRYING TO OVERCOME HERE. SO DO NOT EXPECT I CAN DO IT OVERNIGHT. I know whoever that asked me the question meant no harm but things like this really de-motivate me in trying to overcome this fear with water.
I am half-way there already. So quit I should not. But I am hopeful that people will appreciate that we are born different.
In anticipation of the completion of diving licence and first open sea descend,I am calling divers out there to share some tips on Diving 101.