Fearing the deep unknown

2016-09-21 06:00
Photo: Aliwal Shoal Johann van Dalen (left) scuba dives for the first time with a diver and an instructor.

Photo: Aliwal Shoal Johann van Dalen (left) scuba dives for the first time with a diver and an instructor.

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ALIWAL Shoal Scuba has been running since 1985 and is rated among the top 10 diving spots worldwide.

When your adventurous side kicks in, sometimes all you need a little push to join in this amazing experience. You automatically start feeling excited and in many cases it is “fearing the unknown” that holds you back.

Learning to scuba dive was nothing I expected and to swim underwater was incredible.

I can understand that some people are nervous because breathing underwater seems unnatural.

The team at Aliwal Shoal Scuba were nothing but incredible taking me step by step and guiding me through the Padi Open Water Certification process.

Descending into an underwater environment affects a person in ways you may not expect. Descending slowly is key for your ears and for yourself to adapt because at this stage you are wrapping your mind around what’s happening, concentrating on your breathing and with your instructor guiding you to the bottom.

Breathing underwater is surprisingly noisy, but as time progressed you start to tune out the bubbling sound of exhalation and listen to the dolphins and whales in their natural environment.

One of the best parts of scuba diving is the feeling of weightlessness, it’s like flying or being an astronaut ready to investigate and find either treasure or observe unusual species.

You never know what you will see and you stay underwater for an extended period of time.

The trick is to relax and let the water and buoyancy compensator (BC) support you. Don’t fight the current, enjoy the ride.

It is normal to forget hand signals and other instructions, but your instructor is there taking care of you. You are being exposed to a new environment and being a new diver is like discovering a new world.

On your first dive your brain works overtime trying to adjust to the new sensations - this is understandable and if something needs to be explained to you again, don’t feel bad. Be patient.

Adapt to this new experience and find yourself first because you will enjoy the underwater world once you adapt to the surroundings. It is a delightful and beautiful world down there.

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