Facing my fears – first scuba diving in Bali

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?

Cuttlefish - first diving in Bali
Cuttlefish. Photo by Wira Wijoga

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

Diving in Bali - pinterest
Pin it for later! Photo by Wira Wijoga

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.

Flying gurnet - diving in Bali
Flying gurnet. Photo by Wira Wijoga

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.

Scuba diving in Bali
My body language shows how scared I was. Photo by Wira Wijoga

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.

Green turtle - diving in Padang Bai
One of seen green turtles. Photo by Wira Wijoga

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:

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.
Moray eel - diving site
Moray eel. Photo by Wira Wijoga

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
Lion fish - scuba diving in Bali
Lion fish. Photo by Wira Wijoga

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.

 

Scuba diving in Bali - pinterest
Pin it for later. Photos by Wira Wijoga

 

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?

 

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

How to extend Indonesian tourist visa in Bali
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Photos made by Wira Wijoga in Padang Bai diving sites where I made my first diving.

A flashback – 2 weeks in Vietnam

It’s hard to write about my 2 weeks in Vietnam, it’s not possible to describe all the feelings after it, because it was my first time in Vietnam. But in general – it was an amazing trip and experience in many different ways. I’m in love with Vietnam. If somebody would ask – it’s really worth to visit!

Some people say that I like numbers. Truly to say – not numbers – I like facts (which sometimes turns into the numbers). So, here are some facts about my 2 weeks trip to Vietnam (later, I will write more about all my experiences).

During 15 days trip (11 days with a group and 4 days alone):

 

Journey during 2 weeks in Vietnam

  • had 7 flights (Yogyakarta-Jakarta-Singapore-Hanoi, Hanoi-Da Nang, Hanoi-Singapore-Jakarta-Yogyakarta)
  • spend 13,5 hours in plains (waiting for the 28,5 hours)
  • had 3-night trains where spend 26 hours (waiting for the 3 hours)
  • spend on the buses more than 50 hours
  • spend on a motorbike (like a passenger) more than 10 hours
  • stayed in 1 hostel, 7 hotels, 1 night in the airport, 2 nights in Vietnamese friend family house in the village

Visited places during 2 weeks in Vietnam

  • visited Singapore (spend 8 hours in the city on the way to Vietnam, 8 hours in the airport on the way back to Indonesia) and Vietnam
  • went to Hanoi, Sa Pa (and 4 villages there), Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island, Ninh Binh (and 2 villages near there)

Activities during 2 weeks in Vietnam

  • been in 2 beaches (in Hue and Hoi An)
  • made 3 trekking tours (2 in Sa Pa, 1 in Cat Ba island) – first 2 took in total 9 hours, last – 2 hours)
  • visited 16 museums/sightseeing’s
  • had 2 massages (Vietnamese full body and foot massage)
  • had 2D/1N cruise (in Halong Bay)
  • made 2 boat trips (in Halong Bay and Ninh Binh)
  • participated in Vietnamese traditional weddings

People during 2 weeks in Vietnam

  • Lithuanian group (I accompany them during the trip) – who treat me like a family member, reminded me Lithuanian language and much more
  • a couple from Israel (I met them on the first night train) – who reminded me that good thing which we do, will come back to you
  • Tuan (first our guide in Hanoi) – who shows me the Vietnamese hospitality, crazy driving style, the beauty of Vietnam nature and allow me to become a part of his family
  • Helmy from Kairo (I met him in Jakarta airport on the way back to Indonesia) – who reminded me that everything is possible if you really want that,  you just need to be brave enough to try and discover new things
  • in general, during the trip, had 4 local guides and even don’t remember how many drivers

Loss during 2 weeks in Vietnam

  • lost my photo camera lens cover in Sa Pa, while I was taking pictures on the trekking time in Sa Pa
  • in Hanoi, airport costume took my Victorinox pocket-knife
  • got sick because of hot weather and air conditions (even in a couple of days lost my voice)
  • had problems with my foot finger and got a lot of bruising

Even if during 2 weeks in Vietnam, I got extra 2 kilos because of delicious Vietnamese food, had a quite tense traveling but IT WAS SO COLORFUL TRIP! And soon I will share more adventures from these 2 weeks in Vietnam.

 

Have you been to Vietnam? What were the most colorful memories from this trip?


Interesting? Great! :) You might also like these:

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9 things I learned in my 1st year of blogging

1 year ago, on 17th of May, 2015 “born” my travel blog. Honestly, I didn’t plan to become a travel blogger. In the beginning, I just wanted to have a virtual space to share my experience, tips about Indonesian cultural Darmasiswa scholarship that I got. I thought this information can be useful for the next year students.

But later, I saw that during my trips in Indonesia I found out things that I didn’t know before visiting some of the places. I thought that this practical information can be useful for other travelers as well. So, little by little I started to make notes from my trips which turned into the posts (unfortunately not all stories are told yet :)).

Later on, I felt in love with Indonesia and after my scholarship finished I decided to start my life here – become a full time travel writer/blogger. Truly to say, I’m not naive person, but this time I thought that to be a travel blogger will be so easy – I will just travel, write and get income. I was wrong! Nothing was (is) so easy how I expected it will be. But the main good thing – even if I didn’t reach my aim yet, this 1 year of blogging gave me good lessons to learn.

9 things I learned in my first year of blogging

1. Blogging is a tone of work

I read that some of the people write a post within couple of hours. Maybe they have a gift to write? For me to write 1 post takes at least 2 days: writing draft, couple times of editing, selecting and preparing photos, adding post to the blog and etc. Later, after 2 days of preparation, more than half of the day takes to “spread” it in social media and other sources. But each moment spent on single post give me a pleasure to remember all discoveries during my trips.

2. It’s freedom to do experiments

It’s not possible to find out what is working what is not without trying and making experiments. Travel blog is my own, so I can do things without asking permission of any people. I try different posts structures, different ways of present information and analyzing what readers likes more. I’m not scared to make mistakes and I’m trying to learn how to make better posts in a future. When I was working in the company, each mistake cost not only more work for me but sometimes influence my colleagues work as well. Now I’m free to stumble and learn from mistakes without involving others.

Blog
Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places

3. It’s an opportunity to learn new things

I never wrote any article or post for anyone before. I started my first post in this blog from 0 knowledge about it. Only now, little by little I start to understand what does it mean a “good post” and I’m learning to write such ones.

I’m learning how to make my content interesting, trying to understand how people behave while reading posts, what they find the most interesting, why they like to share my content and etc. It’s like learning people’s behavior psychology which I find very interesting.

Before I was just ordinary social media user. Now I know much more about it. I read many articles, was searching for answers to understand how different social media is working, how to engage people with my content, what is more important in social media and etc. I found it so challenging but at the same time really thrilling.

Because of blogging I even learned some programming codes. Now I’m able to fix some problems in website design, adding new tools, codes and etc. I never thought that I will understand such things.

4. Need to move out from comfort zone

I’m the type of people who can’t sell things which people don’t need. I believed that if anyone needs something they will find it by themselves. But blogging taught me that “promoting yourself” is one of the most important things in successful blogging. I need to be proactive if I want to be known (especially among thousands of other travel bloggers). I need to engage people to meet with me, suggest ideas. I need to convince possible clients, partners that I can be useful for them even if they didn’t think about it yet. It’s not easy to leave comfort zone – but it’s really worth it.

Blogiversary
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there

5. Blogging is not a game

To have a blog and wishing to make a living from it, means to think about blog like about business. Make a strategy, understand markets and target groups, planning budged, participate in networking events, make evaluation and etc. It’s non-stop process and full time job.

6. Need to understand what you pay for

I used to pay for services expecting that I don’t need to know anything about them. I pay because somebody will know more than me. But I learned that whatever service I buy, I need to know about it at least a little bit. Not all the people who do business and sell services will do it in a fair way and right price. Just to avoid overpaying for anything – better to understand what you are buying, how long it takes, what the result can be expected.

7. Nothing will be perfect

No matter how hard I will try to make my blog perfect – I always will find something to correct, to add, thinking how to make it better. But I understood that blogging isn’t meant to be perfect – it’s a journey of making mistakes, learning and growth. If I would wait to make perfect blog design, perfect posts, probably even after this 1 year it wouldn’t be published yet.

Blogging
It’s ok not to be perfect and not make perfect things

8. Don’t have expectations to get backing

Many people don’t understand what does it mean to be a blogger. Especially when it’s presented like a full time job. I can’t expect that people from my surrounding will know as much as I know now about blogging, how works social media, what is important for each blogger, what means to be “a good blogger” and many other things. Because of that I don’t have to expect that people from my surrounding will be the most engaged readers.

9. It’s never ending personal growth

I became more curious about things which I write. I want to give for my reader’s correct information and it’s a big responsibility. Before publishing any post, I check other sources, speak with people and etc. just to prove that things, I’m writing about is correct.

I learned to pay attention in things I’m writing about and how I do it. Sometimes things which looks usual for me, for others can sound like offence. I’m learning to use filters in each of my sentence.

I realized that having a blog and trying to reach aims I need to become really patient: in learning, getting answers, answering questions, growing my blog reader’s community, getting income.

Having a blog, it’s growing a strength not to give up when something doesn’t go like I want. And each time finding a strength to try harder, search, see new opportunities and thinking positive.

Blogging taught me to be more flexible. If something goes wrong – try something else and new but not stuck on the same things.

Travel blogger
Every experience makes you grow

In conclusion – I had a year of awesomeness, but I believe that the best is yet to come!

 

Have you tried blogging? What kind of lessons you learned? Do you think it’s worth to be a blogger?


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