Here are a few facts about me that may add a little more context to this post:
1) I swim like a swan. Not in an elegant sort of way. In a ‘must keep head and entire neck out of the water at all times’ sort of way.
2) I’ve not put my head under water since the early 1980’s when a swimming teacher threw me in the deep end of a pool and I got water up my nose.
3) I hate swimming in the sea. Especially if there is a chance i will get water up my nose or in my eyes.
4) I have been known to take bottles of tap water to the beach to wash sea water off me because it feels so icky.
5) I have learned through yoga that when I am having a panic I can control it by breathing entirely though my nose.
6) I am on holiday where there is a dive school, but I knew if I was brave enough to try scuba diving it would definately be a one off and in all likelihood I wouldn’t get past the bit in the pool.
I didn’t tell the dive instructor any of these things when I found myself signing up for my SSI (Scuba Schools International) qualification. It was still a bit of a surprise though, that today, even after a panic attack in the pool, he agreed to let me do a sea dive when I pleaded with him (I knew if I didn’t do it today I would have no chance of talking myself into it), despite the not insignificant waves.
I was terrified. When you have a panic attack in the sea, breathing through your nose is not a good option as your mask fills up (see 3) ), which increases the panic, which makes your breakfast start to make a re-appearance, which makes you panic even more as how on earth can you be sick with the breathy thing in your mouth? And that is kind of how it continued.
I’m not sure it is standard practice to make the instructor hold your hand the whole time, but frankly, he didn’t have a choice. It also turns it that 1) is an issue. I am used to swimming at that angle, but underwater when you do that you start rising…
What I saw under the water though, was amazing. A completely different world. I saw fish that swim vertically, a huge eel, a teeny jellyfish blue starfish, feather star fish and fish….more fish than I have ever soon in one place. And so many different types of coral.
The moment the sun shone. My dive was just past where the water changes colour. I swam all the way in choppy waves!
However, if I am completely honest, if the weather here had gone more to plan (although the sun came out for a short while today…hooray! I was in the classroom most of the time doing my theory though. Humph), I probably wouldn’t go again. It was amazing, but I was terrified and I am not terribly keen on putting myself in terrifying situations.
But as I said, I have signed up for the couse. And tomorrow i am off on a boat to do TWO dives and a lot more exercises. The other thing I haven’t told my instructor is that I get very sea sick. And today I found out you can’t take sea sickness tablets before diving. I think he must have sensed it though (or just had enough of me today) as tomorrow I have a different instructor… :o)
P1: my equipment