Two days ago, I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that says “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
That’s when I thought I really should post about this because I had been planning to go scuba diving for the looooongest time and finally I did it!
All it took was one bus ride to batangas pier, and a 1 hr boat rode to the Port of Muelle, Puerto Galera.
Naturally it is cheaper if you book through the dive center directly than when you do the booking through a resort so I was able to get my Discover Scuba Diving experience for only Php 1500. It was a one on one lesson/tour so I was happy with the rate.
Everything I used was a rental and one thing I would tell you now is to bring your own mouthpiece for very obvious reasons. First things first they had me sign an agreement that they are not liable for accidents and… I just signed the thing after rushing through it.
There was a lecture on the basics and thing to do and remember when you are in the water in cases when you lose your mouthpiece, hand signals to use, how to breath properly. I nodded through it and then we had our practice at the pool. By this time my brain was bombarded with thoughts on whether or not I was really going to go do this alone. The instructor said I caught on real quickly and we swam around the pool breathing through our tanks and me practicing with my flippers.
After two laps we then headed out to the beach and here’s me thinking ‘OMG I am really doing this there is no backing out now‘.
We went through the reminders again like how to breath, what to do when you lose your mouthpiece, how to inflate/deflate the vest and how to pop your ears to adjust to the pressure. I had some trouble with the pain in my ears so we tried submerging a second time and it was all okay the second time around. Still at the back of my mind I was thinking, Lord, let me see my kids again after this okay? while I held on to the weights on my waist with my right hand and pressed the deflate button on my vest with my left.
Whoever said that scuba diving and snorkelling are pretty much the same are LYING to themselves. I have gone snorkelling a dozen time and it is far from that experience and much more beautiful in so many ways. You are much closer to marine life when scuba diving and you are able to see different angles of the corals and rocks. Fishes swim by and a few clownfishes looked me in the eye/mask like they were entertaining me from their anemones. The instructor/guide also had a stick where he pointed to unique fishes he called lion fishes and lizard fishes and to peculiar corals that had different colors. There were blue starfishes everywhere and really just a garden of corals that were all sorts of colors with schools of fishes that were plentiful and the sight just made me thankful for the wonder of discovering something new in nature. I wish I had my underwater camera with me but I don’t think I could have concentrated on breathing and popping my ears and following the hand signals while holding a camera.
Before I end this post here my unaolicited advice to you guys who want to try scuba diving for the first time as well.
1. Bring your own mouthpiece if you plan to rent your scuba gear. You can also purchase one at the dive shop for Php250. Something I wish I knew before going on the dive because I seriously kept asking should we sterilize this first, Kuya? Are you sure you washed this? So if you want to avoid visions of french kissing someone else through your mouthpiece,bring your own.
2. Same goes for your suit. Bring leggings if you can. I only had these denim shorts with me that I insisted on wearing under the suit so I looked like a penguin with my flippers.
3. My friends had a great piece of advice – drink water before your dive. The throat tends to dry up when you breath through your mouth for a long period of time.
4. I never quite got the blow through your ears part of our lecture so I followed the thing we would do when handling altitude change while on a plane swallow your saliva. Works for me and helps with the dry throat situation. But then that means you need to hold your breath for a split second. Just don’t hold it while going back up.
5. My instructor said the first or was that the important rule in Scuba diving was – Don’t touch anything. Same with your apparatus and the marine life you swim around in.
6. He also said – Don’t hold your breath which is a rule I violated when I tried swallowing my saliva to get rid of the pressure in my ears. I guess it means don’t forget to breathe through your apparatus because holding your breath down there could make you panic a little.
7. DON’T PANIC. Even when the fishes seem to be approaching you. Or when the corals seems to be so near. Or when the sea becomes all green and there’s nothing but sand and no corals everywhere and you have insane flashbacks of JAWS with the soundtrack dun dun dum humming in your head.
8. Do use your hand signals. When we were in the sandy area I tried my best to keep my cool and made the hand signal for us to go up.
9. Don’t bring a camera. You should enjoy your dive with your own eyes and not through the lens of a camera.
10. Enjoy your dive and avoid of all the worrying that I did. I am definitely going for another Discover Scuba Dive because I would like to do all that without the worrying and over thinking.
Mariner Dive Center
Aninuan beach, Puerto Galera
JESS – 0915 349 6976