Certified Nemo Finder (PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Certified in Perhentian Island)
Holllaaah yo girl can scuba dive now!! This is so exciting because it's something I've never thought I would do. It has just been a cool a idea but I never made an effort to do it myself. Now that I've done it, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I'm hooked (heh heh fish pun)! I kind of had an idea of the route I was doing for SE Asia but now I might alter it based on diving sites. The feeling of being underwater and being so close to the aquatic life can't be compared to anything else. You are there swimming next to them, seeing how they go about their lives up close. You can never do that on land. Most animals underwater don't really care about you or bother that you are there so you can be swimming among a school of fish or looking close at a baby shark and nothing will happen. I absolutely love it! It's an expensive sport but worth every penny.
To start diving you would normally start with a discovery dive, which is just a basic introduction dive to get you used to the gear and get a sense of what diving is before committing to a full course. For me, that first dive was honestly not that great. Breathing underwater was really strange and uncomfortable. I was a bit anxious so I couldn't stay calm and relax to enjoy the dive. To be honest, after that I was a bit hesitant to commit to the full course because I didn't know if I would actually enjoy it even after a few more dives. However, I am sooo glad I committed!
The next step is to get your Open Water certification, which is what I have. You are now a certified diver. You don't need to dive with an instructor or have someone review the equipment with you for each dive like the Discovery Dive, basically no more hand holding. However, the max depth you can go is 18 meters. There are a lot of specialty dives that you are not trained to do so you can only do some dives but they will still be enough for you to see a lot of cool stuff and get you more comfortable with diving. A lot of people go straight from their Open Water to Advanced course right away. However, I don't think this is a good idea because you are learning new skills in the Advanced that requires you to have mastered or at least feel comfortable with the ones you learned in the Open Water course. That's why I want to get in a few more dives before getting my Advanced Scuba Diving certification. I do plan on doing it during the SE Asia trip though, I'm just not sure when. I am thinking Thailand because it is one of the cheapest and the most popular locations.
My Open Water course consisted of 4 dives and 1 technical training. During my first practice with the equipment, I had a really hard time clearing the water out of my mask and blowing out of my nose. I kept on swallowing or inhaling water so I would have to come out of the water to cough and regain my control. It was really frustrating because the others could do it but I couldn’t. Like I said, the first dive was a bit uncomfortable for me and I didn’t really enjoy it. However, the more we practiced our skills, which was what the next phrase was. We spend an entire course underwater just practicing technical skills. I eventually got the hang of everything and now just had to keep practicing to have everything become second nature. Once it becomes second nature, you get more relaxed and that’s when you can really enjoy everything around you. Even the next dive, I wasn’t fully comfortable. I couldn’t control my breathing so I kept floating up and down instead of staying at a steady level. Then next dive, and the one after that I got better and better so things got easier and more fun. We learned how to dive with a compass and use a computer to navigate and coordinate our dives.
Along with the practice underwater, we had to watch 5 different videos covering all of the basics of diving, the equipment, the technique of diving, and everything you have to do in order to have a fun and safe dive. We had homework for each video and a quiz. Then we had to pass a final quiz at the end. It was all very easy but we basically worked together when we weren’t “supposed” to but they are all really lax about it and didn’t really care too much. I honestly don’t think anyone could fail…
FINALLY FINALLY, DIVING AS A CERTIFIED DIVER!!
The first dive post-course was the best one! We went to The Temple of the Sea and it was like an aquarium because of how many fish and wildlife we saw there. From sharks to clown fish, puffer fish, etc, there was an abundance of animals. At this point, I was the most comfortable I’ve been underwater so I was able to really enjoy everything and take in all that is the underwater world. I LOVEEED IT!! I can’t wait to keep diving. I am hoping to do more dives and then get my advanced certification in Thailand in a couple of weeks!