In the South China Sea, near Malaysia, there are a couple of islands called Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. With their pearly white beaches, tall palm trees and limitless sun, I like to refer to them as ‘paradise’. The ultramarine water is always warm the coral and tropical fish live in abundance; you couldn’t ask for more perfect Scuba Diving conditions.
PADI’s Open Water Course is the world’s most popular scuba training method and has introduced millions of people to the amazing world of diving. One of those millions was me and I was privileged enough to become an Open Water diver on Perhentian Besar.
My first dive is one that I will never forget: having prepared my gear with help from my instructor, Fezz, we walked across the beach with my ‘buddy’ (dad) into the shallow water. I was both excited and nervous. We stopped wading when the water was about hip height. We put our fins and masks on and then put the regulators in our mouths. I took a breath and knelt down underwater. I breathed out, I breathed in and out and in. I suddenly felt overwhelmed with happiness. I had actually done it, I was scuba diving!
After we got comfortable with breathing underwater we moved onto trying some new skills this included regulator clearing (where you take your regulator out of your mouth, put it back in and then clear the sea water from the regulator before you breathe again), regulator recovery (where you drop your regulator, find it again, put it back in your mouth and clear it) and mask clearing (yes you guessed – you fill up your mask with sea water and then clear it). We then went for a bit of a swim in the shallow water and although it was a dive from the beach we saw quite a few exotic fish like Clown Fish (Nemo), Titan Trigger Fish and Yellowback Fusilier.
Life seemed to slow down underwater- it was completely different to life back home – there were no cars, no looming skyscrapers, no one rushing around – just calm warm water and tropical fish.
When on the dive boat or in the dive centre you constantly meet new people who are always really nice, everyone always has at least one amazing story to share and the atmosphere is always calm. Most people are on holiday so the boat is always full of happy, smiling divers.
I could have spent that holiday relaxing on the beach and soaking up the rays but I’m so glad that I took the plunge and completed the Open Water Course. So if you are offered the fantastic chance to try diving, grasp the opportunity and you will NOT regret it. Remember:
‘Fear is Temporary, Regret is Permanent’.