Tuesday, 12 April 2016

I woke up at 6.30 read to embark on my scuba diving solo adventure. Even that early it was boiling hot and by the time i'd walked for 20 minutes to the centre i'd started to sweat- cute. I met my instructor and had a cup of coffee while she explained the basics, and after a few other people appeared we set off. We boarded out boat, it was bright yellow and had a sun deck and small area below with seats. I was given my wetsuit, flippers and other equipment whilst the boat took us out to our first five site. There was loads of new information to take in and I was worried I'd forget it but my instructor assured me we'd go over everything and repeat anything I didn't understand.

We arrived and the other divers set off. There were 3 instructors doing some training, my instructor and a really nice Swiss guy with an instructor. I was the only person who hasn't dived before but my instructor told me to put my regulator in (the mouthpiece you breathe through), put my mask on, hold them in place with one hand and the other on my wet belt (a belt with metal weights) and step off into the water. Initially I had a buoyancy thing inflated so I couldn't move below the water, and I stayed like this for the 3 skills part of the lesson. I had to demonstrate basic safety procedures to check it was safe to take me out. These were taking out my regulator and putting it back in whilst emptying it if water, doing the same but dropping it to show I knew how to find it, and putting water into my snorkel mask and demonstrating emptying it underwater.

Within 5 minutes we were off. Diving was a really surreal experience and i felt as though I was simply watching a simulator the whole time. The flippers make you feel completely weightloss and unlike snorkelling or anything else I've tried you breathe completely naturally. After the initial training we spent an hour underwater, floating through the rocks whilst my instructor held onto me. It was honestly like a whole other world which is a massive cliche but it was a strange to see. We only went down 10m or so but within that space were thousands and thousands of fish and sea creatures. Metre squared sized schools of identical fish would swim past us, completely unfazed by our presence. There were strange eels and sea cucumbers which didn't look real.

After an hour my instructor released a parachute to the surface, an indication that divers were coming up. We then stayed under the water for 5 minutes to remove nitrogen our skin had absorbed and then went up. Under the surface the water is obviously completely calm so it was strange to see how choppy it was. We boarded the boat and it drove us to the back of Maya Bay for our lunch break. We all jumped off the top off the boat and swam around and spent the rest of the time chatting. I started to feel sea sick as the water was very choppy but they gave me a travel sickness tablet and said that if I was sick in the water to do it into my regulator. After a while we went to the second five sight.

Here the visibility wasn't so good, which was a shame but despite that a managed to see amazing creatures like the moray eel. The highlight of the whole experience for me was seeing a turtle. The mask gives you quite limited vision and i happened to turn my head and spot a turtle on the sea floor before my instructor. When she spotted it she signalled for me to climb on her back (this sounds bizarre I know) and she went right into the ocean floor so that I could be close to it. We swam alongside it for about 5 minutes, it didn't seem bothered by our presence at all. Okay just a disclaimer- i did not take these!!! But here are a couple of the things i saw

There were little things to remember like equalising every time you want deeper in the water. This involved popping your ears like you would at altitude; pinching your nostrils and exhaling. Because it was my first lesson I had to stay close to the instructor at all times and we would mainly swim alongside each other holding hands looking for particularly obscure fish.

It was so amazing and I was sad to get back on the boat, particularly as I felt really sea sick. My instructor suggested I went up to get some air. I began chatting to the Swiss guy, but within about 30 seconds I projectile vomited and had to run to the side of the boat. A cute ending to the trip! I got my certificate back at the shop and then walked home to have a quiet afternoon napping and then got dinner at a cheap restaurant. It was such an amazing day!

Laura x

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