On my recent trip to Boracay, I faced my fears and took the plunge… literally! I went SCUBA DIVING!
Scuba diving is something I always wanted to try, yet never thought I’d actually do it. But when the opportunity presented itself in the Philippines, it was hard to say no!
I thought you had to take an intense course and be certified before strapping on an oxygen tank and going deep into the ocean. Yes, you DO need to get a certification… if you don’t want to be accompanied by a certified diver and if you want to go deeper into the water. However, it is possible to get a taste of what it’s like by taking an introductory lesson to scuba diving!
We knew that we wanted to do some sort of outdoor/water activity… but we were stumped on exactly what we wanted to do. I was only allowing myself to do ONE activity within my budget. So I had to make it a good one. After talking with friends we met who went diving earlier that week, they raved about this one particular company and how much fun they had. They knew a guy that gave them a really good deal, and so they used their negotiating skills to get that same deal for four of us girls.
The next day we headed over to GO Diving Studio in Station 3, where we were welcomed by the scuba instructors who would be taking us out to sea.
First, we had to fill out a health form and sign a few dotted lines to ensure liability was taken care of. Next, we were given the basics about scuba diving and a crash course about what to do in the event that something went wrong underwater. This is when panic started to sink in. What if something were to happen underwater, like the regulator (the tube that you breath out of) falls out?? What if I got water in my goggles and I couldn’t see anything?! And the biggest concern I had: what if my head feels so pressured that it feels like it’s going to burst like a balloon?!?!?
“Don’t worry, we will teach you all of that! The most important thing you need to remember is breathe!” said our instructor Greg, who was freaking awesome by the way!
So I kept saying to myself over and over: just breathe Sam, just breathe.
After teaching us the ‘what to do if…’ scenarios, we were given time to practice in the shallow waters.
But before then, we had to put on our scuba suits! It was a little tricky to get on; lots of wiggling and moving around. The suits were already wet and getting them up our body was not a walk in the park, and probably a hilarious sight to see! Then we made our way out to the beach to practice with the equipment. I thought the oxygen tank would be super heavy but it wasn’t so bad. Then again, when you’re in the water, things feel light as a feather.
What was great about the lesson is that there was one instructor for every two students. I felt extremely comfortable with the instructors, and they ensured me that they would be with us every step of the way.
After about 20 minutes of in-water lessons, it was time to head to the diving site, called Coral Garden. As we were on the boat, they strapped the oxygen tanks and the weighted belts onto us, and we got our goggles and flippers ready.
Okay Sam, let’s do this!
The only way into the water was to roll backwards off of the boat. Uh…what?! I was a little worried that I would look like a mess but the flip was a success! And actually a lot of fun! I sort of wanted to do it again, hehe! I had to refocus and to remember all of the hand signals they taught us and what to do in case my regulator came out of my mouth.
It was time to go under the sea! The instructors fiddled with our pressure gauges and we started to descend. And you know what? The pressure wasn’t as excruciating as I thought it would be! It was a gradual descend and so I would equalize the pressure in my head (by popping my ears) every now and then. Because we are not certified, the maximum depth we can go is 12 meters. Also the instructors were holding on to our back straps the entire time so there was no chance that we could swim away from the pack.
We explored under water and saw some beautiful sea life and coral (no wonder this place is called Coral Garden!). We got to sit on the bottom of the ocean and feed the fish that swam all around us. Greg took lots of pictures and videos, which we now have as a memento from our trip.
If you’ve been snorkeling before, like I have, scuba diving should be somewhat easy for you. If you haven’t, that’s okay! You will learn everything in the crash course. The next time you’re in the Philippines, or Australia, or the Caribbean, go scuba diving! It’s an experience you’ll never forget!
- Make sure you go with a PADI certified company. If you are in Boracay, I highly suggest GO Diving Studios. They were so professional and made us feel at ease the entire time!
- Try to barter a price for your scuba experience. The more people you go with, the better deal you can possibly get.
- My throat felt extremely dry underwater from breathing through the oxygen tank. That’s just how my body is. I don’t know how to avoid this but perhaps drink plenty of water beforehand.
- When things are good, you usually give a thumbs up signal right? Well, in the scuba world, thumbs up means you want to go back up to the surface. To show the instructor that everything’s fine, give the ‘okay’ signal instead! I gave the wrong hand signal a few times underwater. Oops! But I quickly fixed my mistake and gave the proper signal.
- Most importantly, don’t forget to BREATHE!
Have you been scuba diving before? Whereabouts? Do you have any tips to add to the list? Share some of your stories!