Facing our worst fears and braving the open waters with Aquaddiction Dive.
First experiences are something we strive to have many of on this trip – first time bungy jumping, first time surfing. Diving was also one of them, but somehow we never got around to it – not in Australia or Thailand or Vietnam. Secretly, I think we were both scared sh!tless.
Something about being in the open water, thoughts of sharks, not being able to breathe haunts me while Gerard’s fear of not being a great swimmer would be to his disadvantage. At least with snorkeling, we’re close to the surface.
We said we’d give it a shot once we arrived to Indonesia, that we’d try our best to face our fears because truth is we really enjoy being in the water.
We both signed up for a Discovery Dive with Aquaddiction Dive.
Our overview lesson and practice dive, where we learn the ins and outs of diving, underwater hand signals, breathing and such is very informative. It’s a lot to take in. Gaspar, our instructor is reassuring and in his smooth French accent, he puts our fears at ease.
We had a practice run in the shallow waters, which I appreciated because it allowed us to get an idea of what we were getting ourselves into. I think we had our share of minor panics and at one point, I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to do it. I wasn’t comfortable breathing with the tank but after 10 minutes or so, we felt better in the water.
Later that afternoon, we went out with the entire crew for our first dive. We ran into a few hiccups along the way down – my weight belt came loose, Gerard couldn’t keep his body flat under water, I couldn’t equalize my right ear.
As I try and equalize on our descend, I start to panic as my worst fear decides to make a rude entrance with water getting into my mask. We’re twelve meters under water and unlike the practice run, I can’t just kick up to the surface and clear my mask. Gaspar, calm as ever, signals me to try again. And again. And again. And again. On my fifth try, I took a deep breath and gave it another go. Sigh of relief when I managed to clear my mask and Gaspar signals me the job-well-done gesture. Crisis diverted.
Here’s a tip. For your first dive, don’t try and take photos. We thought we’d be able to just float freely, snapping awesome photos along the way, but frankly, with all that heavy equipment and things being so foreign – between remembering the hand signals we’ve learned, moderating our breathing and trying damn hard NOT to panic in the open water – taking photos is the last thing on your mind. Lucky for us, Gaspar held onto our camera while we were under water.
Our first sighting was a green sea turtle. On this day, we saw two – one chilling on the sea floor and the other floating directly above us. We saw pretty iridescent purple-y coral and Nemo too.
We also spotted many moorish idol fishes. I like to call them Sharkbait.
After we saw our second turtle sighting on the surface, I glanced and notice a dark shadow in the near distance. My immediate thought was, Shark?! I pointed in the direction of the dark shadow and notice it had a huge wing span. It was an eagle ray! Relieved it wasn’t a shark, I was extremely excited to have encountered such a rare sighting on our first dive.
No pictures from the giant eagle ray, but shortly after, we came across this ugly guy.. a cuttlefish!
Once we’ve managed to get our breathing under control, all the nervousness and emotions we were feeling seem to float away. We drifted for I’m not sure how long, Gaspar tailing us, guiding us like school fishes. It was so serene, peaceful and such an out-of-body experience.
Once surfaced, I managed to get out a, that was awesome!!! Why haven’t we done this sooner?! yelp to Gerard. He shrugged, gave me that giddy boyish smile like he’d just won the lottery and I knew he enjoyed it just as much as I did.
Our first dive was ridiculously amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better first experience. It’s one thing to snorkel near the surface, but it’s an entirely different world when you’re deep beneath the sea. Gerard loved it so much he decided to go out with Gaspar again the next day and explored a shipwreck site! I guess we both can say, fear of water = no more. Yay!
What’s a fear of yours you’d like to conquer?
Explore the tropical island of Gili Trawangan from under water and consider diving with Aquaddiction Dive. They also offer accommodations – cute bungalows with outdoor western bathroom and fresh water, private porch, double bed, mosquito net and fan. For more information, please visit their website.
Disclaimer: We received a 2 for 1 complimentary discover dive with Aquaddiction Dive. As always, my thoughts, my words. Still my voice behind the blog.