I am proud to share that this year I was able to tick off a major bucket list item. It’s to experience how to breath underwater using SCUBA! Heck, it’s the reason why I have a bucket list to begin with!
I love being in the water and I’ve been curious about SCUBA ever since I can remember. But I’ve never gone around doing it due to time and financial reasons.
One fine day, I was looking at a groupon site offering a SCUBA fun dive. And that’s exactly what I was doing – looking. Just looking. I’m in Abu Dhabi and the offer was in Dubai. I had to think of time, transportation, and if whether or not I can do it. Yeah, I was procrastinating.
On that very same hour, I got a message on Facebook from the bride whose wedding I helped organize a couple months earlier. Apparently, she was looking for a dive buddy to enroll in SCUBA class! Ting ting!!! Jelan and I hit it off.
The class was costly but I thought it’s now or never. I just said yes and thought I’d figure out the rest later.
After we’ve saved enough money for the class, they happen to be offering a discount at the time we were ready to purchase. We grabbed it.
In my understanding, this class will teach and prepare us to enroll for a license to dive,which will be another set of class or payments and with exams and other procedures. But during our first meeting with our instructor, he was briefing us about how our session will go and our schedules. In the end, he said, “then graduate na.” I got confused. Graduate? License? He said yes.
I didn’t know! I remember just looking at groupon and speaking to Jelan and said-yes-for-the-heck-of-it and now I’m gonna be a licensed diver! You can imagine the excitement in my head!
Further into the discussion, I thought this would take months, maybe three. But when we talked about our schedule of classes, to my shock (again), it will be just a collection of 4 sessions (meetings) – 4 days!
Class 1 : Orientation @ Controlled water area
Class 2 : First open water dive
Class 3 : Theory
Class 4 : Graduation
O-M-G! I was screaming inside!!!
We only met 3 times because we squeezed Classes 1 & 2 in one day. Meaning we were in the water for about 6 – 7 hours. I still have the tan line 5 months after.
The orientation was exciting like crazy! Instead of training us in a pool, our instructor Carlos, decided to take us directly to the beach.
For my first breath using the tank underwater, I really took the longest and deepest breath I’ve ever had my entire life. Since the breathing tank was filled with a mix of Oxygen and Nitrogen, the gas felt cold and sent a chill down my throat and I felt it travel down to my lungs and into its little chambers. I was in a cold high.
This is it! I am actually breathing underwater!
I have never paid so much attention in my life either. Other than this is THE ITEM, I am very much aware that we will be swimming 12 meters underwater and being alert, especially on critical situations, is a must. After all, SCUBA is a breathing apparatus, not a safety device. Anything can go wrong at anytime.
On our first dive, Carlos brought us to the depth of 12 meters in hopes that we will see seahorses but we did not find any. The water was cloudy that day so visibility was really very hard. He had to let us hold onto or stay really close to him while diving.
I remember seeing my first live sea urchin, I was literally screaming my lungs out underwater, even while the mouth piece was in my mouth. I just had to. It was too exciting.
There were mishaps too. Like the incident when we were told to descend into the deep water from the surface. For whatever it was I did, I suddenly started to drop towards the bottom like a rock! I tried not to panic but who wouldn’t?! I got scared that descending that fast would make my lungs collapse due to the pressure and make me have cramps which is also another serious problem while underwater. Plus just the fact that I had no control of what was happening did scare me. I tried but I did not know how to stop my uncontrollable descend. Thankfully, our instructors were alert and was able to grab my vest just in time before I’d have completely sunk.
We finished the day with Carlos congratulating us on how easy we pick up.
Graduation day had 3 dives! It was intense!
We drove all the way to Fujairah in the evening to be prepared for the dive the next day.
It was amazing to know that the water is not what it seem when you’re on the surface. Once we were 18 meters below, there was a whole other world going on under there!
There were man-made corals and fishes! ALOT of fishes! Carlos made us swim in the middle of the school of fishes and it was magical. We were surrounded by fishes like we were one of them.
I felt so proud of myself. Not everyone I know has the chance to see this. It felt great!
On August 7, 2015, I received my certificate that I am a licensed open water diver!
Life is great!
As written in my list:
Experience to SCUBA at least 1 puff underwater. Then I ended up with a license! Ain’t that kewl?!