Do you know that feeling when you scared of something so bad that everything what is related with it, makes you feel uncomfortable? You don’t have such fear? Then you are the lucky one.
Because of few accidents in my childhood I need to admit that I’m scared of being in deep water. I could say – scared to drown. I can swim but I never swim to a places where I can’t touch the ground. So almost all water activities, no matter how entertaining, fun they are – not for me. I never tried surfing, I tried snorkeling twice but both of the times were unsuccessful. About other activities in the water I even don’t want to think. Probably you can imagine what does it mean to try scuba diving for person with such fear?
Indonesia is one of the best dive sites in the world and I’m not able to enjoy it? I feel like my fear punishing me double. But after seeing many colorful, inspiring photos from diving in Bali, hearing the stories and seeing how easily people do it for first time, even getting diving certificates – I took all my courage and decided to try it. I didn’t know how it will be, but I was stressed already couple days before going for scuba diving. But I did it – my first scuba diving in Bali. Here is how I cope with my fear and what I discovered.
Preparation – know what you want before choosing where to dive
When I was thinking about my fear I wanted to feel safe. For me, the most important things were:
- patient, experienced, knowing how to deal with people who has deep water fear instructor. And who could speak properly in English;
- dive alone with instructor, not in a group (usually 1 instructor dives with 4 divers). So instructor could be beside me all the time and I could feel calm that in any case I will get a help immediately;
- I wanted to go to diving site where is not so deep but as well to see the turtles (I can’t explain why – but I really wanted to see them in their natural surrounding).
You can find many good instructors for diving in Bali, beautiful diving sites like Tulamben, Amed, Pemuteran, Padang Bai. Around Bali – Lembongan, Gili islands. Everything depends what kind of underwater world you want to see.
But after talking with experienced diver about my wishes, we decided for first time dive to choose Padang Bai. Mostly because of the recommended instructor and possibility to see turtles.
How everything went – dealing with the fear
We came in early morning. I had instructions about equipment, how to use it in underwater, how to communicate with instructor when you can’t speak and many other needed to know things about diving. Later on we went by boat to the first diving site. After it I understood that I scared not only to drown but as well breath underwater. So I got more stressed.
First diving site was near the shore. No corals, only sand and some small fishes – we went there just to see how I manage with being underwater with all equipment, how I understood and can follow instructions.
The first thing I needed to deal with is to go to the water from the boat without any equipment. It’s easier to put equipment on, when you are in the water. Even holding the boat side but knowing that in that spot is ~9 m depth already was too scary for me. Instructor was convincing me that it’s safe but only after 3rd time, I resolve to do what instructor was asking. This is how big is my fear to drown.
After testing the mask and equipment we dive. My breath wasn’t normal – I was so stressed that my breathing looked like I‘m doing some heavy physical exercises. After being underwater ~30 min. and going to ~3 m depth I show the signs that I want to go up. We had some rest in the boat and I decided that I need to go back, like if I won’t do it now, I won’t do it again later.
Second time we went straight to deeper place – ~9 m. There I saw already octopus, many different size, colors fishes and etc. My wonder of the things that I saw became bigger but I still was scared and intense.
Later on, we had ~1-hour rest in the boat but probably stress, moving water, changing the pressure in the water made me sick a bit. But in the second dive site we should see more colorful fishes, corals and probably turtles. I came to see turtles – so I wanted to dive again even if felt not so good already.
And here you go! Still panicky breathing but feel a bit more comfortable moving in underwater we went a bit more than ~9 m. depth. There I saw 1st turtle, then 2nd one and the 3rd one! My instructor told me later that I first time smiled when I saw a turtle. Yes, in this diving site was already similar view that I saw in all those underwater pictures before. I saw even that cute small one fish (clown-fish) from cartoon “Finding Nemo”. I still didn’t feel free, I was trying to understand how to move properly and not to hit corals or go up, down too quickly. But with instructors help everything went well.
But most probably because of the same stress, excitement and etc. I felt not good and showed the signs that I need go up. We reached the boat and here came after-effect of half of the day intense, stress – I felt so dizzy and weak, I felt that my blood pressure went down as well. I just wanted to reach the shore as soon as possible.
After talking with experienced divers, they explained me that it’s normal condition after 1st time scuba diving, especially with my fear. That I just need to have good rest and I will feel better later. And it was like that – after half of the day rest – sleep, proper food, next day I felt like nothing happened. Even couldn’t believe that I did scuba diving in Bali.
Here are some useful articles if you want to try scuba diving but have the fear for it:
- Beginners guide to scuba diving
- Overcome the fear of having water in your scuba mask
- Psychological issues in diving
My discoveries after first time scuba diving
- To put on the diving costume takes much more time and effort that I thought. I even got some scrape on my fingers when was I putting it on.
- Ocean water is so salty that after I got it to the nose and mouth (by accident) I thought it will destroy everything inside.
- Being underwater I was so thirsty, inside mouth was so dry I even couldn’t swallow saliva.
- I expected that just after first scuba diving I will see those beautiful colors of underwater world but being intense I was mostly concentrated to do everything correct and not to drown, so haven‘t seen everything that was around.
- I didn’t expect that I will feel dizzy, weak and willing to vomit – it’s as well normal thing for first time divers (not for all of them but it happens).
- Try snorkeling was harder for me than scuba diving in Bali. After second dive I didn’t feel that I can drown.
Tips for first time scuba diving
Please note that these tips are based on my own experience and advice of professional instructors but before first time scuba diving talk about it with your instructor.
- Day before diving is recommended not to drink any alcoholic drinks and have good rest – quality sleep. I would say, even better stay overnight before diving day near scuba diving place.
- All preparation, diving, rest after it and etc. will take more than half of the day. Don’t plan too many activities after diving, most probably you will feel tired.
- One of the best time for diving is in early morning when the water is still clear. But every day the condition in ocean is changing so before diving talk with instructor if it’s good time to do it.
- Ask questions – everything that is in your mind. Once my ex-boss told me “there are no stupid questions only stupid answers”.
- Not all diving center provide snacks during rest time, so take with you some water and snacks. Can be that you will feel hungry and thirsty.
- Take some remedies for bathing to wash salty water from your body and towel.
- You won’t be able to make photos underwater on your first time dive but you can ask instructors to make some pictures of you while you will be diving.
- Things your scuba diving instructor will never tell you
Where I did my first scuba diving in Bali
First of all, you should try scuba diving in Bali. Why? Here are 10 reasons for diving in Bali.
Scuba diving in Bali I did in one of the diving centers near Padang Bai fast boats harbor. It’s a small diving center (you even won’t find them in internet) but I choose it because of recommendations from experienced diver. I’m very thankful for my instructor Wayan for patient, positive energy, help, dealing with my fear and all understanding my first time scuba diving.
If you will decide to have diving or snorkeling trip in Padang Bai, here are the places where you can stay.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
- Have you tried scuba diving in Bali? Where and how was it?
- If you didn’t try scuba diving, would you like to do it?
- Do you have any other favorite water activities that would recommend to try?
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