My first time scuba diving was a brilliant and exciting success. I saw many creatures and amazing coral. If you want to know more about this interesting experience, read my story!
Before the diving day, I was really excited. I was so excited I couldn’t get to sleep for a long time. The day before seemed to drag on forever. However, surprisingly the day eventually came.
We had to wake up at about 7 o’clock, for the boat was going to fetch us early. We packed the things we needed – wetsuits, towels, hats, cream, booties, a water-bottle and some more. We also brought our flippers and masks and snorkels, just in case their masks or flippers didn’t fit us.
They fetched us at 8 o’clock, more or less. There were five people on board, but I only knew the names of two of them: Condo (the owner of the boat) and Grandy (the dive master). Their boat was approximately 30 feet long with three 175 horse-power engines, which is why we cruised along at such a ridiculously fast speed of 36 knots. We went so fast that we got to our first diving spot in 20 minutes!
Before the first dive, Condo and Grandy explained to us how to use the scuba gear. The BC is the ‘jacket’ that goes around you. There is a button to inflate your BC, allowing to you float. Another button you use to deflate your BC, causing you to sink. It functions just like a fish’s swim bladder, except a fish doesn’t need to push buttons to activate it. I put the tank on next. Actually some of the crew helped me put it on. Then I tested the regulator, which is a pipe that travels from the tank to one’s mouth, allowing one to breathe. It worked perfectly, once I was able to fit my mouth around it. Breathing through the regulator felt very strange and awkward, for I was breathing compressed air and it felt like I wasn’t pumping enough air into my lungs.
It turned out to be a wise decision to bring spare masks, flippers and snorkels. I tried on various masks and they constantly kept filling up with water, so I used my own one, which fitted perfectly. The flippers felt very heavy, for they were bigger than mine. However, they were much lighter in the water. I also had to use a weight-belt with two weights to help me sink. There were also more things that we could use such as the depth-gauge and the pressure-gauge. With all the gear on I could hardly stand it was so heavy. In the water it’s much less heavy.
First we did a practice dive. We swam with Condo, Grandy and another instructor on the surface to get used to the gear. The tank constantly kept rolling me onto my side if I leaned too much that way. However, I got used to it. Then we sank down to two metres, and I tried equalising, but I found I wasn’t able to. Eventually I “used the correct methodology” (as my dad would say).
The first and second dive were in the same area. When I was down amidst all the fish and coral I felt like I was basically part of the environment. The instructors stayed near us at all times, and one of them in particular paid a lot of attention to me. With the others’ help, we went down to eight metres.
There were so many fish around us in the first and second dive. I could identify a parrot fish and clown fish. We also spotted a lion fish. It was under a cave so we had to go deeper to see it. Before the dive Grandy had shown us signs of certain creatures, so now everyone was doing the lion fish sign. There weren’t just fish and animals, there was coral, too. Nearly all the coral was unharmed. It was pristine. One of the things that made the coral so good was the variety. I didn’t know any names for the coral, for I’m no reef expert. There were hard ones, soft ones, tree-like ones, pink ones, red ones, wavy ones and sometimes even blue or green ones. All the fishes’ homes were in coral juts or holes or caves. There were many fish among coral heads, too. If I stayed still, they wouldn’t be frightened of me.
After the first dive, I had a bit of a headache, but it soon got better. I think that helpful lunch with lots of chilli did the trick nicely. After the second dive I had a horrible headache, again. The instructors thought it could’ve been because I wasn’t breathing deeply enough, meaning I wasn’t getting enough oxygen.
Just before the third dive I still had a headache, and I nearly didn’t go. I was also cold, so when I got in the water I was even colder. I had to go on agreement that if I got a headache I had to leave and go back to the boat. The coral wasn’t great there, but currents converge where we were diving, and that’s where lots of manta rays are found. So on the third dive, our objective was to find manta rays.
I was glad that I went diving, because we saw a shark. As soon as we saw it, my dad and Condo rushed to my side like bodyguards, which was just as well, for I probably would’ve been scared without them. Condo called the shark to us. He took his regulator out of his mouth and made these strange noises. The shark came within 5 metres from us, and as it came closer I realized it was a 1.5 metre long black-tip shark. It stayed near us for a while and then disappeared.
I started getting a headache again, so I swam back to the boat. Soon afterwards the others came back, too. When we had all gotten our gear off, we spotted a manta ray. So we quickly put our flippers and snorkels on and went out to the manta ray. Actually there were two of them! We saw them gliding gracefully under us. Their wing-span was about 1.5 metres. After a while they swam away. That was the first time I’ve seen a manta ray!
Overall I had a fantastic time seeing all the animals and I really enjoyed being part of the sea life. It was also interesting diving with all the gear, for it felt very different to snorkelling on the surface. I hope my next scuba dive will be as much fun!