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Throughout the summer holidays I was totally discontent. I had a full-time job, friends to socialise with, and a gym membership to avoid, but something was missing. That was until my friend Dale suggested getting a Scuba-Diving qualification, and 24 hours later I made the trip to Morecambe Area Divers (MAD) to book my free try-dive.
I had to wait two long weeks for my try dive so Dale and I decided to take a trip to an old quarry in Coniston called Hodge Close. Dale took his full diving kit and I took my mask and snorkel so I could go for abit of a swim. Hodge Close is pretty picturesque on a sunny day and so I couldn’t wait to get in the water. However, I soon found out that Hodge’s beauty was a little misleading. As I placed my mask into the freezing cold water I soon realised that I wasn’t going to be able to see schools of fish and coral reefs, in fact all I saw was a vast hole of darkness and it petrified me.
Reality hits home
Dale’s experience wasn’t much better. I was told that visibility was poor and without a torch the dive was difficult and a little dangerous. Dale did, however, find something to ‘have a play with;’ a car wreck.
Reality hit home as I soon realised that this was realistic British scuba-diving; dark, cold and mysterious. It was a far cry from the kind of overseas diving I had pictured it to be with crystal clear warm waters and tropical fish. Yet, something about this excited me. The idea of venturing into the unknown, seeing things only few people will see in their lifetime. The trip to Hodge Close had made me realise that Diving is a thrill-seeking sport and although this scared me it also spurred me on.
The try dive
The first breath I took underwater was completely surreal. It’s almost impossible to trust that your regulator will allow you to breathe underwater for the first time, but funnily enough it does. That first breathe was completely liberating. As I swam around, I let my eyes wander around the 2m deep swimming pool and I couldn’t help but think how much better it would be if this was the real deal, swapping the bobbles and used plasters lying at the bottom of the pool for aquatic life and historic wrecks.
After the try-dive I signed up for the PADI Open Water Diver course with M.A.D. My fantasy was fast becoming a reality.
My first lesson was a little similar to the experience I had at Hodge Close. It was like getting a slap in the face with a reality check. Only, this time it did not awaken the idea that diving was going to be quite daunting, it instead showed me that diving wasn’t going to be a walk in the park or brief swim in a 2m swimming pool. I figured that learning to dive was going to be quite challenging.
I was hit with a whole load of technical jargon on my first dive such as BCD, cylinder, mask squeeze, buoyancy, and octopus regulator. The list of unfamiliar words was endless. It was like reading a critical essay from the 1800s only you can’t reach for Google search on your phone to find out what it all means. So I did the sensible thing. I smiled and nod.
During the practical part of my lesson I also realised how awkward dive gear can be with the mask leaking and not being weighted properly and therefore not being able to sink to the bottom which I quickly realised was a huge problem as binoculars are not part of your diving attire. It’s kind of like learning to drive. You have to stall a few times before you learn to go.
At the end of my lesson I was exhausted. I had taken in so much information, but I was already thinking about the next dive. After all, I’m a student and learning is what I do best. Diving is something new to me and it’s exciting and rewarding. I can’t wait for my next dive.
Why not have a go?
If you would like a free try- dive, contact;
Morecambe Area Divers Ltd
Unit 6 Woodgate Park
White Lund Industrial Estate
Morecambe LA3 3PS
Tel: 0845 838 8566
Fax: 0845 8388567
Or visit their website for more information.