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From snorkelers to divers in just 3 days

Written on: Friday November 30th, 2007

A journal entry from: See you next year!

We both remember our first holiday together to Cuba a few years ago. We ended up on the nicest beach ever, Maria la Gorda. And we "discovered" snorkeling; there is just something otherworldly about breathing underwater like (and with) the fishes. The resort we were at arranged diving trips as well, and I remember us fantasizing about being deeper under water, and seeing much, much more fishes. And bigger ones! We looked at the people going on the dive boat. There were all sorts -fat, thin, young, old, not just fearless, cool, young men I had thought you had to be to become a diver- and then it struck me: If THEY can dive, I can dive!

So that's how, about 5 years later, we ended up getting our dive certificate in Ko Tao. Our instructor used to be a school teacher, kept calling us "chickens" and "keenos" and had some dirty jokes ready she used to use on her students. She was great. Being the only two students in the group - and keenos- Roy and I did very well on the theory. Off course. But then the real thing started! According to others and to some books we read, a world should open up for us the first time we would breath underwater. We practised in shallow water, but all I could think was when I could get back into the nice fresh air, take my mask off and breath "normal" air again; and through my nose, not a mouthpiece! No new world for me yet.

We practised some skills, like what to do if you lose your mouthpiece(stay calm and find it again), what to do if you are out of air (grab Roy's!) and practise having your mask full of water, and blow the water out of the mask through your nose...under water! Definitely my favourite skill (NOT!).

So, next day you are ready for your first real dive, upto 12 meters under water. Or so they say..... My wet suit was too big- so I was cold-, Roy had minor problems with his ears- so I just waited holding onto a line-, and I looked into a big nothing (no fishes yet), listening to my own, loud breathing, only 3 meters underwater. While waiting for Roy to sort out his ears, I just went up again. Take a breath or something, look around, I didn't know. Instructor Teresa just brought me back down again, Roy had sorted out his ears, and we continued to descent. After having reached the bottom we went for a swim...and it finally hit me. So this is was diving is about! You seem to be almost weightless, that's pretty amazing in itself. And then of course the fish, the fish! Hundreds and hundreds of them, and the trigger fish and the clown fish (we saw Nemo!) and they all leave you alone! They immediately accept you in their world, some are even curious. Hundreds of Barracudas. And the coral, it all just feels like another world. It is another world. Instead of getting annoyed about my own breathing noises, I started to enjoy that sound very much. It felt like being an astronaut on the moon.

We had a few more dives, which were nice, but unfortunately you have to practise those skills again, e.g. take your mask off and back on again, on a depth of 18 meter this time. I understand why you have to do that (so when it accidentally happens, you stay calm), but we are now both very much ready for our first so called fun dive: just swimming around and watching the fish. No deliberately taking off your mouth piece, nor your mask or practise what to do when you are out-of-air. Let's just hope we have practised all that enough in case something does happen. (No worries, we have. I think).



PS Tipgever (to do this in Ko Tao): Janke & Robin.


From Coen van Vlijmen on Dec 16th, 2007

Dit soort foto's, ja.