The crystal clear water in front of me suddenly darkened. Just five minutes into the dive, I knew something was not right. I just didn't know what.
Scuba diving can mean different things to different people. It can be a serene and almost tranquil experience for some of us, for others it is a journey into the the unknown.
I recently visited Lakshadweep and like everyone else wanted to try my hands on most water sports. While I enjoyed every bit of Kayaking and Snorkelling, here are five emotions I felt during my first diving experience.
After a half-an-hour stint of snorkelling on day one at Kavaratti Island in Lakshadweep, I was naive enough to conclude that I'm a water baby, without actually realising that Scuba and Snorkelling are two very different activities.
Because I was such a pro at Snorkelling (exact words of my instructor), I thought Scuba will be a similar ball game. It is NOT. On the second day of our trip and on the second island, Bangaram, we decided to go for a try dive (a quick introduction to the underwater world without any official qualifications).
After a briefing from our head instructor, we ventured into the water for training. In the first ten minutes, my two fellow divers and I learnt how to communicate and breathe underwater. Things were okay until my instructor, without informing me, started to manoeuvre me deeper into the water. As I felt the first hit of decompression, I wanted to lift my head up for some air but that wasn't an option because I wasn't on the surface. I was in the middle of deep waters and to come up, I needed to signal my instructor that I want to go back to the surface.
Bubbles burst forth from my regulator as I signalled my instructor to go up. In five seconds, I could feel the saline taste of water in my mouth and cried for help, and with each cry I felt I was one breath closer to my last. Breathing underwater wasn't my problem but the harsh reality that I was dependent on someone else to come on surface was. I wasn't afraid of water but I couldn't make peace with the fact that my life was relying on someone who I've met barely an hour ago.
After the panic attack, my instructor tried his best to convince me to go back but I just wouldn't give in.
By now, a fellow diver, who also happens to be a close friend, asked me to go along with his instructor and that made all the difference. After a small training again, he asked me if I was ready to go deeper and I complied. How was it different from the first time? I was prepared and cautious.
As I clutched his hand tightly, we started moving towards the diving site. He asked me to look around and I remember seeing vibrant colours of every shade. I started processing the stunning corals, a basslet with its magenta head and yellow-tail zipped across my mask. There was one and suddenly there were many of them. Above me. Below me. To the side of me!
As I floated in the water, motionless, letting the marine life take over me, I panicked again and signalled to go up. My instructor was quick to respond and in no time I was floating on the surface.
After the dive was over and we were back at the resort, I still couldn't stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong underwater. In retrospect, I’m slightly relieved that I didn’t let fear stop me from diving again after the first attempt. Even though I’m a pretty bad scuba diver, I’m just happy that I did it. Let's hope my diving experience helps you remember that you don’t have to be perfect at something to go out and do it anyway.
Do you have a scuba diving experience of your won to share? Tell us all about it here on Tripoto!