Our first morning started early as the German diving school had scheduled our pickup for 7:35 in the morning. With some coffee and a few small bites in my stomach (I’m not good at eating early), we marvelled at the view from the hotel entrance. The riffled arches beautifully framed the line of mountains against the perfect blue sky. They distracted us for a moment from the anticipation building up inside us.
Soon enough, a white minibus dashed up the driveway, stopping just long enough for us to mount and join the other divers. The twenty-minute drive went by fast, and soon we reached the marina and our boat Shehab. The atmosphere on board was relaxed while we waited till all guests and staff were on board and ready to head out.
The calm sea sparkled under the cloudless sky, and our anticipation increased. We learned that there would be two dives each day of the four-day course for the Open Water PADI certificate. After some introduction and clear instructions on how to don and check the gear and what to expect and do once underwater, it was time to jump right in. Literally.
Taking that long step into nothing and letting yourself drop into the water cost some effort. One hand holds the mask and mouthpiece, the other one on the weight belt and off you go. The first thing I noticed was the Darth Vader sound caused by my own fast breathing through the scuba. 😂 Remembering previous snorkel experiences, I knew that meant I should calm down to get my breathing under control and get my heart rate down.
Our diving teacher Mouhammed was very professional and took us down individually. After a few minutes underwater, I was fascinated. To be honest, this surprised me because I’m not always happy swimming in deep waters for lack of knowing what is below me. But this time, I could see my environment, which changed everything for me.
After a light and flavourful lunch cooked on board, we headed for a different spot for our second dive. We enjoyed the break on deck and marvelled at the different shades of blue.
This time it got more technical, and we did several exercises while kneeling on the bottom of the sea, about 6m underwater. My personal challenge was taking off the diving mask and putting it back on, emptying it with air from the mouthpiece. Keeping my eyes closed the entire time helped prevent the saltwater causing stinging in my eyes.
As much as I enjoyed it, I have to admit diving is a mental as well as a physical challenge and indeed not for everyone. Unfortunately, my brother didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, so we decided to cancel the remaining days of the course. I’ll definitely come back another time to complete the course. I’m hooked. On the upside, I was looking forward to sleeping in the rest of the holiday and spending some time in and around the luxurious hotel. 😌