Discovering Scuba Diving for the first time
It was a calm and sunny Australian day. The sea was flat and invitingly cool. The boat sped along the surface to the dive spot. Despite the calm, I inexplicitly became seasick and sat holding a bag, green-faced, on the deck. Kate looked at me with a mixture of concern and amazement that I could get sick on such a calm ride. She gave me tips to help with the nausea including, helpfully, don’t hang out in the enclosed space of the bathroom.
Throughout the boat ride, particularly the pre-sick portion, Kate told me lots of information about the sea-creatures we might chance upon throughout the day. It was all the juicy information. The coolest animals with the best behaviours, or the weirdest genitals, or the freakiest reproduction rituals. The natural wonders like coral spawning that make you marvel at our planet. She also filled me in on environmental protection and was extremely knowledgeable about what we should be doing to be good custodians of our seas and beaches.
When we reached the dive spot one of the crew pointed off into the distance and we saw a humpback whale. We watched the whale as I prepared for my first ever snorkelling adventure as a prelude to a scuba dive. Kate dived gracefully into the water before me like a mermaid. I followed her in, flopping into the ocean. This was followed by a few minutes of me thrashing my arms about and swallowing sea water. In the seconds before my mask filled with water I looked down into the ocean and saw the grey backs of fish swimming past. It was like the world’s shortest helicopter ride over a tiny patch of ocean. Kate helped me back to the boat and we laughed about my snorkelling abilities. She patiently explained some breathing techniques which I promised to practice. The day after the dive I went and bought a good snorkel and have been practising so when I go to Bucket List Diver next I will amaze Kate with my snorkelling skills.
After the snorkelling I got to do two dives with Kate. I’m sure that she didn’t expect much from me due to the sea sickness and the snorkelling fail. However, she was amazingly enthusiastic and encouraging! As my head went under water and I started to breathe through the regulator I felt a sense of calm. I felt relaxed. Kate has many years and thousands of hours diving experience so I knew I was in safe hands and that everything would be fine. I floated around buoyed by the sea and steered by Kate’s expert manoeuvres. It was incredible. There is a whole other planet down there waiting to be explored that I never really considered before. I met fish. I looked them in the eyes. I saw amazing creatures; furry slugs, pointy sea-cucumbers, wiggly worms. Funnily, if Kate had just passively steered me around for a while all I would have seen is the fish (which were amazing in themselves). But having Kate there to spot for me added so much more. She pointed out things right in front of my face that I hadn’t seen including a green turtle which was about 30 centimetres away from my head! She pointed to one weird looking flopping thing on the sea-floor and gently swept her hand past it. It suddenly sucked itself inwards and revealed itself as a giant clam. I was absolutely awestruck and gobsmacked with wonderment throughout both my dives with Kate. For about a week after the dives I had dreams that I was breathing into the regulator and swimming around in the dappled depths. It was one of the best days of my life and I can’t wait to do it lots more!