You’ll never forget the first breath you take underwater; it’s a mix of amazement, adrenaline, fear and doubt. As you plunge into the water, the tanks and gear suddenly seem weightless, you nervously raise your arm above your head and slowly immerse into another world where noise, light and everything around you seems so different yet vaguely familiar.
My first venture into scuba diving took place in the tropical waters of Thailand. My friend, a qualified PADI instructor, had dragged me to sign up for a discovery dive while we were staying near Koh Phi Phi, and I reluctantly agreed not wanting to upset her. As I stepped off the boat into the warm waters and started to work through the skills I would need for my first open water dive, I quickly found myself excited by the prospect of exploring all the marine life underneath me.
I burned through my tank in just 30-minutes as I breathed my way through the underwater world and tried to remember everything I had been taught, but only two weeks later I found myself booked on to my Open Water Diver certification in Bali. It was quite easy for me to admit I was wrong about my reluctance; I was totally hooked on diving.
Diving the great barrier reef in Australia
Now I’m an Advanced Certified Diver following a course in Malta and have been lucky enough to dive in spots ranging from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the ice-cold waters of Iceland’s tectonic plates and one of the most marine-diverse spots on the world, Raja Ampat Indonesia. Each dive brings something; whether it’s excitement from witnessing your first hammerhead shark or just the relaxing pace of gliding alongside a manta ray, scuba diving really does open up a whole other world and can double your travel opportunities.
With around 70% of our earth covered in water, learning to scuba dive is more than just a new hobby or rewarding achievement; it’s a chance to explore another dimension of our planet that many people will sadly miss. It’s so much more than counting fish or getting underwater, between shipwrecks, coral gardens, human-made statues and conservation projects, becoming PADI certified opens up a whole other level of travel that I just didn’t believe existed before taking that first breath underwater.