Discover Scuba Diving with Julia Bradford

Under the... pool muna! ;)

Under the… pool muna!😉

Out of the blue, Fjell and I decided to take on the Discover Scuba Diving on Thresher Cove. Why? It’s a no brainer, we were in one of the most amazing dive sites in the world, and if we didn’t try it, it will probably be included in our ever growing i-should-have-done-this-while-i’m-young list.

To be honest, never in my life I thought of diving as something I would enjoy. Until the day came when we decided to take on this challenge. Yes it is a challenge, for a fact that I am not a good swimmer, so is Fjell I presume. Hahahaha. We’ll get to that later. But you know what? It was really fun, it was something you can tell others over and over until they get tired of hearing it. Haha. But believe me, you should try it at least once, or a couple, or come on get certified.

Ready to dive

Ready to dive

I woke up to the sound of the waves and surprising amount of sand on my bed that day–April 2nd. My cold has gotten completely mental, my nose was just so clogged. I was on the verge of not pushing through with the DSD. I asked myself if I can still do it, my alter ego answered “yes, come on it will be just once in a lifetime you have to do it“. So after my interpersonal conversation, I decided to push through with the dive.

We had our breakfast in the resort’s restaurant and went to the front desk to ask about what will we do but they asked us to wait for Julia instead since she’ll be the one guiding us in this entire tiring thing (although I honestly think Julia was the only one who got tired for pulling two guys swimming in different directions, sorry Julia). When Julia arrived with her students, she turned to us and said we can chill at the resto for a while and read our booklet and she’ll get back to us after giving some reminders to her students. I was at the moment in awe, I was afraid and excited and everything that lies between. When she got back to us, she immediately gave us the pointers and taught us about the basics and the most important rules/skills in diving.

Preparing our gears

Preparing our gears

When Julia started out preparing our gears, I was busy asking for the GoPro (haha, Sorry Julia, bad student). Julia then asked us to suit up and hit the pool. At first it felt weird to have all those gears behind and around me. The fins alone are irritating me at first but I just let go and just deal with it since it’s a part of the outfit. But what felt so weird was that we were all carrying tanks, wearing BCDs, masks, and wetsuits, but we are in a pool with water just barely over my ass. Haha. We then swam to the deeper side of the pool and then Julia carried on with teaching. She told us to be calm and practice breathing continuously through our regulators and injected dos and donts in between. She taught us how to put back our regulators in case it accidentally snaps out of our mouths and probably the hardest skill to master–clearing water from our masks (yeah for me it was hard). After about an hour of confined water training, Julia decided it’s about time to hit the sea.

Diving 101

Diving 101

We jumped on a boat with Mel (the boatman who happened to be my namesake, whut? There are only six people on that boat and we share the same name, how insane is that?) and Roland (another diving instructor) and Pia (Roland’s german student). How did we know her name? And form where she is? Hahaha. Fjell asked her. End of story. Anyway, we went to Los Bambos for our open water dive. Roland and Pia did the back roll entry (I was pretty sure they did that but I didn’t notice because I was partially nervous). When it was our time to enter the water, Julia told Mel the boatman to bring us to the shore and swam our way to the bottom of the sea. Snap! Snap! Did I mention Julia didn’t allow us to take a camera during our open water dive? It is mainly because she wanted us to focus, which actually I was so thankful for afterwards(yes, a souvenir photo would be great but seeing all the marine life was far more gratifying than looking at them in an aquarium). We were literally one(or three, hehe) with the sea.

During the dive, we encountered slight problems here and there especially with Fjell’s inability to equalize (sorry Fjell practice ka muna hehe) and some water entering my mask. But good thing Julia was there to assure us that everything will be fine and all of us are gonna be in one piece after the dive. After about five meters below, Fjell was signaling a problem with his right ear that we needed to swim to the surface. Maybe just for Fjell and Julia to talk and for Julia to remind him to equalize whenever he feels discomfort. At that moment I was actually pretty surprised with myself considering I was the one nursing a cold. When everything was taken cared of and Fjell was in his sane state again, we then made our descent. Halfway through the descent, Fjell was constantly signaling a problem with his ear but good thing, in his second descent, he was equalizing more often. I was looking at my gauge constantly just to know how deep we were at the time and how much air I got in my tank. Whenever I feel alone, (yeah because sometimes I was so near the corals I can feel them with my knees and I don’t see anyone) I always look left and right to make sure I’m still with them. Hehe. I never really wanted to be alone under the sea you know. We were obviously novice divers because we can’t seem to control our buoyancy–I was continuously going down while Fjell seems to be going in upward direction so he said that he felt Julia was actually pushing him down. Hehe.

Practicing at the pool

Practicing at the pool

I didn’t feel the time when we were under the sea, all I cared for was to breathe continuously and marvel the rich marine life underwater. It was insane. It felt like there is another world down there. We saw fish and corals and sea snake and for a time, I really wanted to explore more depths. The best thing for me about being underwater is just seeing how the light travels from the sky penetrating the water and feel a sort of a divine intervention. You remember those films where they explore underwater and the light creates a spotlight-like thing underwater? That for me felt magical. It was like watching National Geographic, the only difference is that we are seeing the entire thing in the flesh. My jaw nearly dropped but I can’t do that. After a while, Julia decided to finish the dive. I wanted more but I think Fjell was really having a hard time equalizing so I think Julia thought it was better to finish the dive. We reached 9.5 meters in 30 minutes. I actually thought I can go further but I think 12 meters is the most you can reach in DSD. So it was a pretty good dive, after all it was just our first. I enjoyed our dive so much that I seriously considered getting certified as soon as I rested on my bed home.

The entire DSD experience was one for the books. It was insane and fun at the same time. We met a very good instructor in Julia that made the entire thing enjoyable. I mean, you don’t want to be out there swimming in open sea with no one to look out for you. And in our case, Julia made us feel safe and comfortable. I hope I can dive with her again in the future (when I’m already certified). Great job Julia!

Rates

Rates

Rates

Rates

Rates

Rates

Doing things for the first time is quite nerve-wracking but gratifying at the same time. It requires courage at a certain level. It maybe risky but at the end of it, you’ll either choose to not do it anymore or feel an undeniable self-accomplishment that will lead you to trying things out of your comfort zone. Diving is not different. I tried to ski before and guess what? I loved it. Now I tried diving, I was scared to death at first, but I conquered it. There’s no reason you can’t. There is no one stopping you but yourself. So go out there and try it while you’re young. Because me? I’ll sure do it again.