SCUBA diving is an amazing sport and trying to explain the underwater experience to someone that has never dived before is hard – if not impossible.
I learned to dive in Koh Samui, Thailand. And from start to finish, the experience was amazing. I’ll do my best to explain to you what happened during my first dive. I hope it encourages you to get your mask and fins together and book a SCUBA vacation.
Koh Samui is a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand that is perfect for beginners. There are dozens of dive schools on the island offering Professional Association of Dive Instructors and SSI courses. And you won’t struggle to find a school that can teach you to dive in your native language. I learnt to dive with a friend of mine who was working as an instructor on the island at the time. I was paired up with a Thai girl who was also undergoing her first dive experience. After studying the theory and taking part in an enclosed water session, we headed from Koh Samui to Koh Tao for our first open-water SCUBA dive.
The Fear Sets In
Most of the dive companies in Koh Samui take their students to the nearby island of Koh Tao for the dives. This is because the visibility is much better, as are the reefs and the range of marine life. It took us about 40 minutes to get to Koh Tao; as my dive buddy and I got closer to the dive site, the nerves started to set in. Neither of us were willing to jump from the boat into the water. Both of us hung around until we were the last people on the boat. After another five minutes or so of deliberating, my dive buddy and I eased into the water to see how we felt. After all, we could always return to the boat if we didn’t enjoy the experience.
The dive site that we visited was called Aow Leuk. It lies in the middle of the protected marine park of Ko Tao, and it’s just eight to ten metres at its deepest point. Along with my instructor and dive buddy, I descended and practiced some of the skills we had learned on the bottom of the ocean floor. Once we had the OK from our instructor, it was time to swim to the nearby reefs and explore the site a little bit more.
Within minutes, neither myself nor my dive buddy felt an ounce of fear. Our first dive experience was absolutely amazing.
It is really hard to describe just how awe-inspiring SCUBA diving is … the underwater world is just so unique. Shoals of fish swim past you whilst eels poke their heads out of small cracks in the rock. The more you look around, the more you see – blue spotted rays, clown fish and even turtles. Unfortunately we did not encounter any of the whale sharks that often swim in these waters
By the time we had returned to the boat, my dive buddy and I could not wait to re-enter the water for our second dive. Since then, we have been the best of friends. My dive buddy has just completed her PADI rescue course and I completed my Instructor course 3 years ago – both of us were hit by the SCUBA dive bug. If you ever get the chance, you will completely see why.
This guest post was written by Rutger Thole, a member of the BookYourDive.com team. Find out more about him and get great diving tips and ideas at his Google Plus profile.