Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bubbles Is Now A Certified Diver

Redang was great. The beaches are beautiful and the waters are clear. But it wasn’t so much a holiday as it was a grueling course in diving.

Paul did well but for someone like me with hydrophobia, I would say that it was the toughest and scariest thing I’ve made myself do to date. I may be scared of some things but I can run away from those. This is different, can I willingly made myself go through it.

The course started off easy by watching a 3 hour video on the theories on diving. Then we suited up and went into the water. I like the water but I panic the moment I’m totally submerged in water. I HATE water in my nose. So it was all good and well when I was all suited up in the water cos I could breathe thru the regulator and my eyes and nose were protected with the mask.

Then we had to do mask clearing. This is when the mask is removed completely, placed back on the face and have the water cleared out. This is in case your mask gets knocked off or if the mask gets fogged up. I was panicing and hyperventilating! I was so scared!! I thought I was about to pass out there n then. I kept signaling to my instructor to wait n that I’m scared! And I thought that I’ll never be ready to do something like this! And to get me out of there! But he just looked at me calmly and signaled for me to do it before he fell asleep. All the while holding only my BCD so that the current doesn’t pull me away.

All this is much funnier when dome in sign language under the water.

After spurting, breathing in some sea water, having my eyes stung by the salty water, flailed around with my fins (or as fast as they can move in zero gravity under the water), I managed to do it.

THEN we had to remove the mask completely, swim 30 metres or so and then repeat the process! I repeated my spurting, breathing water and flailing. But finally did it. Again.

The rest of the exercises like regulator recovery, CESA, sharing air with buddy etc were fine. But then I had to do mask clearing again at 18 metres under water! This time I was still scared shitless but at 18 metres, I knew I didn’t have the option on freaking out and abandoning the exercise and swim back to the surface easily. So I took 3 deep breaths. Okay it was more like 10 deep breaths with both hands on the mask attempting very hard to pry the mask from my face. All the while my mind is thinking “Just do it! Fuck it! Just do it!!!” And my body was going “Are you fucking insane? Do you WANT to breathe in sea water? Do you want to drown?? Are you freaking insane?! What’s wrong with you??!!!

My mind and body fought the battle but I bit hard into the regulator (in case it floats away), fucked it and did it anyway.

Which tag line was it which said ‘Feel the fear but do it anyway’? I certainly put that into practice during this open water dive course. ‘Open Water’ is such a befitting name- there’s water every where! In your mouth, nose, eyes, nose and all other crevices a human possess.

So yes after the 4 days of drama, I’m a certified diver! Paul is so gung-ho that he wants to do his Advanced Diver course. I’m just glad that my diving buddy will have more experience than me and can help calm me down if I ever freak out underwater.

We spent our 5th day on the island sleeping, eating and chilling out at the beach. Since we were diving most of the days and wearing a full wet suit, I didn’t get that much of a tan.

Also, since we were constantly in the water, I don’t have that many pics or pics of me in a wet suit. So here are some pics for now. Waiting for pics from the rest.

With all that said and done, I am looking forward to my next diving trip. Seems like its Perhentian then Sipadan at the end of the year.

The group of divers and sun tannersThis way to the dive centre!Paul and I before we suited up
Paul's gargoyle
Finally able to relax at the beach after getting certified!

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