If you have read my post a while back, you know that I was taking the Padi Open Water Scuba Diving course. I am proud to announce that I am now a certified diver at the open water level. Taking this class has really helped me become a lot more confident as a diver and as a person. I have wanted to get certified for a while now, so this is a very rewarding achievement for me. Though interesting, the class was not all fun and games. In fact, it felt a lot like a college course – one of the courses that you actually look forward to taking. I had to study, and I had to pass knowledge and skills tests throughout the course. The course focused a lot on the beginning aspects of scuba diving. It covered topics such as buoyancy, density, water pressure, etc. Additionally, it taught us about all of the equipment that is needed to dive. With this post, I will walk you through my personal experience and hopefully encourage more to pursue this rewarding hobby in the future.
*All pictures were taken by my loving already-diver-certified husband with his GoPro camera. He took multiple videos underwater and we used GoPro’s program Quik to grab photos from his videos – a really neat feature, in my opinion.
Stage 1: Anxiety
New equipment, new skills, new breathing techniques. There is quite a bit to get used to when learning to scuba dive. After I passed the written portion of the scuba diving class, we practiced some skills in the pool several days a week over a two week period. I have to say that scuba diving caused some major anxiety at first. Breathing underwater takes a few rounds to get used to. Additionally, you are responsible for assembling and wearing a whole new set of equipment. You need to learn buoyancy and how to comfortably ascend and descend within in the water.
At first, all of these aspects of scuba diving can seem intimidating. If you are like me, you may even get nervous that you might mess something up, run out of air, or inhale so much water that you can no longer breathe. However, you will soon learn the most important rule of diving: do not panic. In order to become comfortable in the water to eliminate anxiety, you just need to face your fears and become familiar with the equipment and experience. Personally, I had the most trouble with removing my mask in the water and clearing the water from the inside. Once you overcome your fears, calm down, and breathe, you will soon find out that diving is one of the most soothing and relaxing experiences in this world.
Stage 2: Peace
After practicing diving a few times in the pool, I became quite comfortable with the experience. As per the requirements of the Padi certification, I had to complete four dives with an instructor in the open water. We did all four of our dives in Rovinj, Croatia. At this point, I was comfortable with my equipment, and competency to perform the needed emergency procedures if needed. I was ready to dive and to experience the life under the sea. Even taking off the mask underwater, a task which daunted me a few days earlier, seemed relatively easy.
Once in the sea, underwater, a new feeling takes over. You no longer feel scared. You may not necessarily be excited either. As cliche as this sounds, it feels like you are in a whole new world. There is a lot to look at, to take in, and to observe. There are new creatures swimming above and below you, and new plants and rock formations that you have never seen before. Suddenly, you forget any fear or anxiety that you previously had. Your previous anxious feelings are not replaced, however. Honestly, it is almost relaxing to be underwater. It feels as if all of the problems in your life are temporarily on hold – they no longer exist. I wish I could have stayed underwater forever.
Stage 3: Excitement
This stage starts when you finish your dive. As soon as you exit the water and process what you have done, you become overwhelmed with excitement. Perhaps, this may have been one of the coolest experiences of your life. Experiencing the world below you underwater for the first time is definitely something that takes a few minutes to process and comprehend. Some people may never experience this in their lifetime. You are now privy to the knowledge of what another world entails. You have swam beside fish and perhaps a plethora of other creatures. If you are lucky, you may have seen creatures like octopus and starfish as well. You may have even over come some extensive fears to accomplish this goal. This is a big accomplishment for anyone.
Upon completing my first dives underwater, I felt rushed with adrenaline. I imagine this may be a reoccurring experience every time you dive. I could not believe what just happened. Scuba diving was definitely one of the best experiences ever. I cannot wait to explore more underwater territories outside of Croatia. Additionally, the community of divers is extremely welcoming. There are many resources available online to connect with other divers. After completing your first dive, you will feel excited for future dives to come. You will want to continue exploring your hobby and learning more about places to dive and the creatures you might see.
After completing Padi’s basic diver course, there are many options offered to advance your scuba diving hobby. Padi offers a variety of other courses for those interested in continuing their diver education. Personally, I hope to one day complete the advanced diver course so I am able to dive deeper in the water and explore more places. Also, the underwater photography course sounds like it would be a lot of fun for me.
Scuba diving opens up a whole new world for divers – a literal whole new world underwater, and a figurative one of exploration for your new hobby. While this hobby may not be for everyone, it can be one of the most exhilarating experiences for those that are interested. I am definitely thankful that I was able to complete my PADI scuba diving class. If anyone is interested in completing the course, I highly encourage it. I am excited to continue my new diving journey. I truly cannot wait for our next dive, and to see more of what the underwater diving world can offer.
Now, I want to know. Are there any scuba divers out there? If so, what was your first experience like underwater? Let me know in the comments down below.