What to expect on your 1st scuba diving experience
As I said in my previous post, we did a bit of scuba diving, and since this was the first time for me, I thought you might want to know how did I experienced the entire thing. Your experience might be completely different, but at least you will know how mine was. And, I hope this will help you, and you won't be so scared like me.
First, you are made to sign a bunch of papers in case of death and fill a medical history form. Then, you watch a video and off you go to your practical training!
Our training was done in a pool, and both our instructors were extremely patient. For me, the hardest thing to get over was the fact that you have to breathe normally under the water. How can I breathe normally under water? But guys, trust me; it is possible, with good training and a right mindset. Once my heart calmed down and my brain came to terms with the fact that I can breathe under water, it was time to move on to the next stage.
Before they let you go to the sea, they have to teach you a few emergency steps.
1. In case you drop your 2nd stage (thing that you hold in your mouth, air regulator I would say, but this is not the right word) from your mouth
They teach you the way to handle such a situation by taking you under the water and asking you to remove your air regulator (2nd stage). You have to take it out of your mouth and drop it. Then, you have to use your right hand to find it. You do so by following the way they show you in order to find it. Once you find it, you have to put it back inside your mouth, push your tongue into the hole of the air regulator (2nd stage), and press the button in the middle to remove water from it.
How about that? Sounds scary, no? Well, for me, it was. If you just put the air regulator back in your mouth and breathe without removing the water, you end up inhaling water and start coughing. But, when you remove the water, the air is clear, and you can breathe normally.
2. The way to remove water from your mask
That is, in case it gets there. To teach you this, they open your mask slightly under the water and put in a little bit of water. And then, you have to press the mask on top of it, in between your eyebrows, and blow with your nose out.
Sounds simple, right? OMG, I was terrible at it. Whenever my instructor let some water into my mask, I would get so scared and breath in through my nose. Any time water would come in, I would start coughing, freak out, jump out of water, and cough like an idiot. I was so embarrassed. I said to myself – I can't get over my fear. I kept apologising to my instructor but still wanted to try it. It did take me longer than James; he was swimming in the pool like a fish, and there I was – still trying to learn the emergency procedure.
At one point of time, I said in my head – this is the last time I am trying; if I can't do it, James will go on his own. So, I took my last attempt, and I did it! I DID IT!!!!!! My instructor dropped the water in my mask, and I didn't try to breathe in. I left water that was touching my nose but didn't breathe in! Slowly, I pressed my mask, in between my eyebrows, (what basically happens here is that a tiny bit of the mask lifts up from the side of the cheek and from the bottom) and blew my nose, in order to push the water out. Does this make any sense? Well, it will make sense when you try it. So, after I had done that, you can imagine how happy I was. I managed to overcome my fear. YES!
3. Equalising the pressure in your ears
The third essential thing was equalising the pressure in your ears. How do you do this? Whenever you are going deeper into the water, slowly, you feel pressure in your ears (just like the way one feels while on the airplane), and you have to equalise it. This means that you have to hold your nose with your fingers and blow out. But, I could not do that. Weirdo, no? However, my instructor told me that, alternatively, I could just swallow and doing so would equalise my ear pressure. Swallow, you say, how can I do that exactly? You have your air regulator (2nd stage) in your mouth; you are breathing normally with the mask on your face, and you can swallow? Well, yes, you can. And for me personally, this is the better way than holding my nose and blowing out. This technique really worked well for me.
4. Checking the level of oxygen
While underwater, your instructor asks you about the amount of oxygen you have left in sign language. Whenever they do that, you need to take a look at your oxygen meter and let them know. They show you these signs before you go diving. There are rules about the amount of oxygen you need in order to dive.
After this, I was ready to go diving.
I will skip the part about the equipment that are very heavy; plus, you have weights so that you can stay closer to the sea floor. After all my equipment (that were thoroughly checked by my instructor) was put on me, I was ready to jump in. My instructor inflated my jacket, and I jumped. An inflated jacket brings you back to the water surface so that you can dive in slowly.
In order to reach the bottom of the sea, they use technique with the help of a boa and a rope. You fasten your grip on the rope and slowly move your hands forward along the rope, while going down. All the while, for every meter, you have to equalise the pressure in your ears. They advise you to do this before you experience any weird feeling/pain in your ear. In case you do, you have to go back up a little bit and equalise the pressure again. You carry on when you feel alright.
I did that – all was fine. But when I reached the bottom, I thought I would be able to dive, just like everyone, or even swim like a fish like James – be free. But, that did not happen for me. I did not have a sense of space. I did not have an idea about how to swim or where to go. They did show me how to do all this in the pool and it worked; I was ready to swim but couldn't move. It was as if I was half-floating, half-swimming, and half-standing. For some reason, I lost my sense of space. I mean, I was moving/floating but didn't actually swim. My instructor, bless him, noticed this half-floating sea poo, and guess what? He held my hand and helped me swim. So, thank you so very much, David.
He showed me around, and I did not feel that I had missed out on something because I was too busy with my breathing.
I came out of this experience feeling happy, calm, and proud of myself for overcoming my fear. On this holiday, we went on three dives, and my last one was the best. I hope that next time, I will be able to move on my own.
During all these three dives, I used my GoPro.