Back to where we left off last week, I had just tried scuba diving for the first time and it hadn’t really gone as planned! But Geow, one of the instructors made it his mission to make sure that I succeeded!
Geow first started off with having me hold on the anchor rope of the boat, and taking me underwater little bit by little bit. We would descend slightly, and just stay there, Geow keeping eye contact with me and holding tightly to my hand to reassure me all the way. Each time we descended a little deeper, he would check in that I was feeling ok. This was fantastic, as I soon felt more comfortable under the water, and before I knew it we were down deep enough to be close to the reef.
Checking in that I was ok once more, Geow started swimming off, still clutching my hand tightly. He towed me around like this for the whole dive, pointing out sea life and constantly checking in with me to make sure that I was still feeling comfortable. Going around like this, I soon relaxed and started to enjoy exploring all the beautiful sea life that you don’t normally see so close up when only snorkelling.
When we returned to the boat, the other divers hadn’t seen us as we were diving on a different part of the reef to them. Remy was so pleased when Geow told him that I’d been able to dive and gave me a huge high five!
Feeling elated that I’d been somewhat successful, we set off in the longtail for our second dive site for the day. We had a filling Thai coconut curry and rice for lunch that the dive company had provided, and chatted amongst ourselves about all the things that we’d seen on the dive.
We soon arrived at the second dive site, where Geow hoped that we’d see some seahorses, as this was a popular area for them to be. There was a reasonable current at this site, which made my heart sink a little knowing that I’m not the strongest swimmer. I was determined to get back in and give it another shot though!
As there was quite a current, Remy suggested that I try to enter the water with all the scuba gear on this time, as I’d successfully done the dive entry backwards off the boat at the other dive site. I got all my gear on and was sitting on the edge of the boat, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt frozen to the spot, and even though I knew the buoyancy vest was filled with air, my mind kept telling me that all of this gear was way too heavy and that I would sink. Remy saw that I was struggling and quickly took off the vest. I entered the water without it and he dropped it in to me, directing me to swim over to the rest of the group with it.
Geow helped me to put on my gear, and everyone was soon ready to dive. As Geow started deflating my buoyancy vest, I felt that familiar fear rising in me, and as soon as I’d get underwater, I’d kick to the surface in a panic. I was so disappointed, thinking that I had overcome the sensation on my last dive and anticipating that this second dive would be much easier. Geow was once again so patient with me, and eventually I managed to descend down to where the rest of the group were waiting for us. What I found really helped me, was rather than descending in a upright position, I put my face underwater and started breathing with the regulator before starting to deflate my buoyancy vest – it meant I felt like I had a bit more control over what was happening.
Our second dive was just as great, and Geow stuck with me the whole time, constantly checking in on me and pointing out all the wonderful sites there were to see. As Geow was really familiar with these local islands, he knew all the little nooks and crannies to peek into, and we were lucky enough to see a pregnant seahorse! While on the second dive, I did still have some moments of panic where I would suddenly realise how far under the water I was or if another diver would come too close to me, but Geow always brought me back by looking me in the eye and asking if I was ok. Each time I took a couple of deep breaths to calm myself, and realised that I was alright.
All too soon the second dive was over, and we were heading back to Ao Nang in the longtail. I was so happy with what I’d achieved that day, and resolved to continue diving to become more and more comfortable underwater. We farewelled Remy and Geow, and I thanked them so much for their help.
So I’m going to chalk up scuba diving as a success! I did enjoy the day, and I couldn’t have picked a better company than Scuba Addicts to go with for my first dive – the instructors were so patient and never made me feel like I was being a hassle or holding them up. They really did devote themselves to making my first dive successful, and I really couldn’t thank them enough. I see a couple more discover dives in my future to increase my comfort levels in the water, and then hopefully an Open Water certification at some stage!
Have you tried scuba diving? What was your first dive like?