On my first scuba dive, I learned how to use the fins. I know I’ve been snorkelling for years but I never likened wearing them. They were too difficult to use and I felt like they weren’t really propelling me to swim faster. It took some time before I realized the benefits of using them underwater.
The oxygen tank and BCD were really heavy. I can imagine those people who are carrying two. But once you dive into the water, everything becomes weightless. It has something to do with buoyancy I guess.
Don’t be scared of drowning. The vest is actually inflatable with air. I remember when I was having a tough time going underwater, the instructor pressed a button that released a certain amount of air. I sank quickly.
Under water, breathing becomes unusual. The nose is less useful. The mouth has to do all the work. It becomes inevitable that your palate becomes so dry and painful like having a cracked lips so don’t forget to dampen it with saliva.
Finally, there was a moment when my panic attack kicked in. It was cloudy, the sunlight was a shy away from shadows. I was on the side of abyss where it was nearly dark and all I could see were bubbles. My creative-but-not-so-helpful mind started forming images of sea monsters and death. I heard a ringing sound in my ears. I felt some feebleness. I knew that I was going to faint soon. Then the diving instructor pointed at the beautiful corals and schools of fish. I started talking to God about how wonderful His creations were. My thoughts deviated and focused on the beautiful creatures until I realized that I overcame the anxiety.
If you want to try your first scuba dive and you happen to be in Koh Lipe, visit Ko Lipe Diving and look for Marcus. He is very patient with first timers and he’s very friendly! He’s been diving since 1999.