The day had come. We retired early yesterday to have time for a good night’s sleep before the early wake-up and banana pancaces with mixed fruit juice on the ”breakfast balcony”. With satisfied stomachs and skin smelling of sun lotion, we packed our backpack and headed for school, scuba diving school. At the time of writing, the first day of our PADI Open Water Diving course has been successfully executed, earning us a couple of beers and some quality time with the laptop. And we can’t wait to go back to school tomorrow.
The course started off with a form about our medical condition, which we partially lied us through to be able to take the course, and a couple of hours of watching the introductory DVD and answering questions. After that, it was straight into the training pool with wetsuits, tanks and fins. A couple of hours later, we had practiced the most important rules and skills needed when scuba diving. Breathing freely under water in the pool was a strange feeling, but easy to get used to. Outi faced the risk of having to abort due to a strange blocked nose, probably due to the air conditioner in our hotel, but got a green light after successfully equalizing pressure in the training pool (holdning your nose and blowing air into your ears). Most of the skills needed are quite intuitive (at least at this stage), so after lunch we were already educated enough to hit the real sea.
Floating at the surface after having done a backdrop from the railing of the boat, we got the first butterflies in our tummies just by looking down at the bottom 10 meters below us. ”Yup, that’s where we’re going”, confirmed our instructor Edwin with a smile. He has probably seen the same big eyes and ear-to-ear smiles that were on our faces a thousand times before. After the slow descent to the bottom, frequent pressure equalizations and the mandatory ”all ok” signs at the bottom, we slowly moved along the edge of the first coral reef we’ve ever seen. The sight was breathtaking. Fish everywhere, colorful corals in the most amazing shapes and sizes and the only sound you hear is the hizzing noise from the mouthpiece of your regulator (the breathing device). We don’t know half of the fish we spotted, but at least we saw batfish, needlefish, angelfish and some clownfish (the Finding Nemo fish). And a big turtle!
We were down there for 50 minutes, but it felt like 15. The dive wasn’t in any means difficult, but it takes a bit getting used to staying on the same depth even though your lungs get filled up and drained on air as you breathe, which can make you go up and down like a yo-yo in the water. ”It’s like driving”, was Edwin’s comment, ”you get better in a while, and then it’s the most natural thing”. We’ll se if we improve tomorrow, when we do our next dives.