“How inappropriate to call this planet earth when it is quite clearly the ocean “
– Arthur C Clarke
I let the air out of my jacket slowly sinking deeper into the unknown. Eyes behind a tight glass veil with my index finger and thumb pinching my nose as my body tries to make sense of things.
Out here I don’t care how I look, out here I only hear my breath, out here I am weightless. I fall deeper into the silent abyss, into the mystery world of the big blue. I glide through the sea and discover a new place free from gravity…the underwater world.
Many of us adore the sea, which could explain why 82% of Australia’s population lives within 50km of the ocean. Nothing quite compares to taking a dip in the ocean on a hot summers day, the sea breeze blowing salt into our faces, or watching the tide kiss the shore. So why is it that many of us never venture far beneath the waves?
There is another world that lives below the surface, it sways with the tides and is home to so many marvellous (and weird) creatures. Yes, David Attenborough does do a great job conveying this in his deep-sea episodes, but let me tell you... diving is really something you need to try for yourself!
My story begins here. I had never really given SCUBA diving much thought. The look of it with all the gear simply did not appeal to me. Or why would I spend loads of money on diving when I can surf.. and FOR FREE!? I also can look at pretty fish and stuff if I just go snorkeling… It’s a no brainer right? Well I was wrong. SCUBA diving is like nothing else. And if you think it is a sport that isn’t extreme enough for you then check yo self and think again!
My first experience was at one of Thailand’s beautiful islands; Koh Tao. Sam (boyfriend) was already into diving and was training for his dive master cert on the island. Stuck at home, I decided I would go pay him a visit. What I thought would be a standard pina colada, sun baking kind of holiday,quite quickly turned into a diving one! And I am pretty chuffed it did!
When you are staying on a diving island and most people you meet dive, it is hard not to question what all the fuss is about. You kinda feel left out…The next minute I found myself sucking in oxygen in the bottom of a chlorine pool, on my first day to becoming an open water diver! (A 3 day, beginner diving course). Fast forward to day 3 and I was throwing myself backwards off a boat into the sea.
As I sink down to the seabed on my first dive, I know I have just begun a great adventure. Leaving all my worries on the land and for a moment it is just the ocean and me. I take in the abundance of strange wildlife, become a master of non-verbal communication and learn to be calm in a foreign place.
Rising to the surface, taking off my flippers and squeezing my mask off my face. I am wearing nothing but an unflattering wetsuit and a giant smile. I have completed my first dive.
The warm smiles and congratulations from instructors and more fellow divers felt as if I had been welcomed to a secret community. I overcame fears and experienced first hand what the riff raff is about. I am a open water and advanced certified SCUBA diver.
If that’s not enough, here is a short video below of my open water dive experience!