My First Scuba Dive - exploring a new world under water!!!
Zindagi na milegi dobara - the famous Hrithik Roshan scuba diving scene kept playing in my mind as i stood in front of Dive Club Andamans, wondering what the hell am i doing here, Oh God i dont even know how to swim!!!
Taking a deep breath, i enter the place and absorb my surroundings. Loads of underwater pics of successful dives, plenty of rubber suits and oxygen cylinders lying around. As i sit and wait for my instructor, i am given a 2 page form to fill. A long questionnaire inquiring about various types of health problems and risk factors and finally a disclaimer at the end saying that i am totally responsible if anything happens blah blah. Oops, i thought to myself, should i really be doing this? I cant SWIM!! I sign up for the beginner course DSD (Discover Scuba Diving) which would take me max 35-39 feet under.
I now enter a room next door for a basic 10min theory session. Basically to learn a few signs to communicate underwater. OK, Not ok, go up, stop etc. The scuba gear demo is shown and how to use the mouth regulator, eye mask and how to breathe underwater through the oxygen cylinder. So far so good :)
Now comes the rude shock for me, i CANT WEAR GLASSES UNDERWATER. OhO i cant see without my spectacles how the hell am i supposed to see underwater without them. They are my lifeline. But the instructor assures me that underwater its very clear, water magnifies your vision by 30% so no spectacles are needed at all. Ok, i guess i have no option but to trust him.
I now gear up in the scuba suit and (sob sob) leave my glasses in the locker and start walking towards the beach. Ohh the water looks heavenly green blue and crystal clear and warm, with the sun shining brightly. A perfect scenic view helps relieve my nervousness. I can see a few people training in the shallow water. I need to wait for sometime for my turn. A lady comes out walking towards me. I ask her how was her experience and she says she couldn't do it coz its very difficult to breathe and she got a headache. Great i thought, just what i didn't need to hear right now. Its all in the mind, i kept telling myself. I can do it. Afterall i did snorkeling and underseawalk the previous day and it was fun and easy. Hrithik could do it and even he couldnt swim.
Just as i was prepping myself up, my instructor came out to call me. It was my turn now for the training. I wade upto waist high water and then wear the belt and oxygen cylinder. Some last min instructions are given to me about how to relieve ear pressure as we descent otherwise i might experience ear pain. Breathe in through your mouth, pinch your nose and blow air out from your ears!!! How the hell are you supposed to do that underwater? Anyways there was no backing out now and all i could do was say my prayers and put my head underwater.
The training session lasted about 15mins and it was easy. I could see clearly and i could breathe properly through my mouth. No water leaked in through my eye mask or mouthpiece. My instructor was very pleased and said i have got the hang of it so we should start with our dive. I said ok and he slowly started swimming with his hand firmly locked in mine. We slowly started going deeper and deeper and he would stop every 30secs to ask if i am OK.
All my fears just vanished when i saw the beautiful things underwater. There were huge mountains of corals and beautiful colourful fishes all around. I actually felt like one of them!! There was no effort that i had to put in, my instructor was swimming and i was just floating next to him and looking left and right at the marvels around me. As we proceeded deeper to about 20 feet, i felt a slight ear pressure so i did what i was taught in training. Dunno if i did it correctly but i felt the ear pop open and no pain at all. We continued to explore the sea bed, the instructor made me touch a few live corals and kept pointing out to various breeds of fishes. It was just amazing. Never thought there would be so many different things underwater!!!
We then reached a huge big rock filled with corals and he told me to hold it and grip tight. He then left my hand and took out the camera. Yippeeeeee i get a photoshoot underwater i was totally excited. Gave him a few good poses with my right hand and waved and showed a victory sign with my fingers. I had to remember not to smile coz i had the oxygen pipe firmly held in my mouth lol. He then shot a 2 min video of me with tiny fishes swimming all around me and over my head.
Breathing through the mouth now felt totally normal and in rhythm. Apart from a bit of dryness in the throat there was no discomfort at all. Once the photoshoot was done, we started swimming upwards again. He kept pointing out to various types of corals, rocks, fishes and shells. Before i knew it, my 30mins of scuba were over and i was back on the water surface again. I removed my mask and pipe and took a deep breath of fresh air.
Yippeeeee i was super happy that i conquered my fear of going underwater. Sea life is truly amazing to observe and its a whole new world to discover. Its so peaceful and such pin drop silence underwater that you can actually hear your lungs taking in every breath. So guys and gals, even if you cant swim, even if you wear glasses, even if your afraid of going underwater, pls take the plunge if you get the chance. Bcoz Zindagi na milegi dobara!!!
This post was originally published on My First Blog.