Learning to dive

I’ve always wanted to dive so I can explore the world underneath the ocean. Finding a dive school that has good quality teaching and focuses on marine conservation and sustainable diving was essential to me. Through the PADI website and a recommendation from a friend I decided to do my PADI open water with Oceans5 Dive Resort on Gili Air (right by the harbour).

Oceans5 support the Gili Shark Conservation, reef conservation and run weekly beach clean ups. I’d recommend Oceans5 to anyone who wants to learn to dive – all the staff are brilliant and the groups are small which is better for learning.

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On the first day of the course, Stephen & I had our first dive at the Meno wall! It was absolutely amazing, but I felt that I wasn’t quite ready for it, despite having loads of great instruction in the morning. I’m the sort of person who likes to know everything before starting an activity, so in hindsight I would have preferred to have had the second day of skills in the afternoon of the first day, and started diving in the ocean on the second day. On the plus side, it was only myself and Ste with the dive instructor which was really reassuring.

Unfortunately, my ears were in agony after the first dive (I don’t think I equalised enough), so we had a day off. The second day of the course was great – we learnt a lot about buoyancy, emergency accents and had to take off and put on our masks underwater. Our second dive was a lot better than the first, but my ears were still hurting a little. We only got down to 9 metres, but it took us 15 minutes to descend down to 5 metres.

Because of this, our instructor advised us that we stop the course and become certified scuba divers, meaning that we can dive up to 12 metres accompanied by a dive master. We can always finish our Open Water course in the future at any PADI resort and I’m confident we will on our trip. We just need more practice at ascending/descending which we will pick up by doing more fun dives.

The following day, we did a fun dive to Shark Point, which is just off Gili T. Coincidentally, we had our dive instructor with us which was brilliant because he knew to take it slow with my dodgy ears. Sam & Emma came along on the boat with us to snorkel over the site we were diving in and it only cost them 20,000 IDR (about £1.20) each – bargain! They managed to see turtles and a ray, as well as loads of fish.

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The dive was fantastic, my ears didn’t hurt at all and we swam with loads of brightly coloured fish (too many to list) and corals, barracudas, seahorses, turtles and even a white-tipped reef shark!!

It’s amazing being a part of the underwater world and seeing the fish and animals in their natural habitat. I just don’t understand how anyone can eat these beautiful creatures, especially after swimming with them.

I can’t wait for more diving across Asia!

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