Teaching yourself to breathe underwater
We started our training on the 22nd July 2015 but we got settled in the Sunday before. I was not sure what to expect but it was not like I imagined it to be. I honestly thought it would be easier and just heaps of joy from day one. When one solely lives on land you won’t know anything but air (and breathing through the nose) but when one first experiences being completely submerged in water it is something entirely different (one has to think to breathe). In the manual they say you will never forget your first dive and I hold true to that; my first experience of diving was scary and impressive. Truth be told its the scariest thing I have ever done, my whole body was freaking out thinking I was doing a suicidal attempt but this was my body reacting to the new environment. I didn’t know it yet but I also had anxiety attacks for the first 4 days (noticed it after the 2nd dive though) when your mask continuously gets flooded, it felt like when you try to hold in a sneeze.
When your body starts to familiarize itself with the water world you feel light and calm, there is practically no sound under water it is like yoga classes (except when instructors bang their tanks). Flowers maybe the most beautiful and colourful thing on land but underwater it’s the reef fishes (and other inhabitants of the reef), things that can just blow your mind (and make you forget to breathe). One really has to be down there (not freaking out) to understand.
The most challenging things for me have been to maintain buoyancy (I am literally mimicking a baby bird that is falling out of its nest) and remembering to equalize (and not getting pressure in your ears which may postpone your dives). The staff are very supportive and patient (seriously thank you for waiting for me while I go up and down before I can hover correctly) to help you get it right underwater. It’s alright to occasionally miss home but the cultural exchange and new acquaintances makes up for that.
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