The first step of making your dreams come true is daring to try. When traveling to Egypt this year, I had a clear intention: to get out of my sweet, but boring comfort zone and to open up to a new activity. And I didn’t disappoint myself – my first scuba diving experience in the Abu Hashish lagoon near Hurghada was a life changer. I was so overwhelmed with emotions and the things I saw underwater that I was running out of breath talking to everybody about it.
And truth be told, I did not know anything (or even heard much) about scuba diving before. This got me thinking that many times what stops us from trying something rather risky is the lack of knowledge and preparedness.
The beautiful sea world of Egypt seems to have a logic and rules of its own. While scuba diving, you feel like you’re a mere visitor in this enchanting place, which is not made for human beings – and that is why you feel even more lucky that you’ve got a chance to see it for a little while. If you’re brave enough to try scuba diving for the first time, know that you’re not alone. Here is a checklist for an absolute beginner.
Don’t get distracted on the intro session
The intro instruction is probably the most important part of the day when you are still on the surface – take it responsibly. As an absolute beginner, you will be accompanied by the instructor and hold his hand throughout the whole time you’re diving – don’t miss a chance to get to know this person closely!
Once you’re in the water, don’t panic!
The instructors will make a test–dive and submerging with you. Since the sea life lives by its own laws, it’s normal that a person will not feel nearly as comfortable as the underwater creatures. However, everything is made to keep us safe there, and the only thing we need to do is to follow the instructions and accommodate ourselves to the surroundings.
Don’t breathe the same way as on land
This one really surprised me: I was sure that scuba divers don’t really have to do anything to breathe normally. Nonetheless, it was (hopefully) one of the only times when I had to make an effort to inhale and exhale. While diving, a lot of mental energy goes to not making yourself forget to take long, rhythmic breaths.
Don’t touch anything
All the corals and fish look very tempting, and some of the creatures even remind of candy. But don’t forget that we are visitors here, and it would be impolite and even dangerous to intrude in the life of our generous hosts. Look, but don’t touch.
Don’t swim next to an empty spot
Generally, the boats with divers moor in a row in the same area of the lagoon. While swimming or snorkeling in that area, be extra careful and don’t approach an empty spot between two boats: another one can be arriving there at any moment.
React to the instructor
Even though the first experience is truly overwhelming for everyone and you might get easily lost in all the things to pay attention to, the instructor will guide you and show the most exciting spots that you would have never found yourself.
While being concentrated on breathing techniques, some of the novice divers will forget the real reason why they are there: to enjoy the view. Take usage of every second you spend in that magical kingdom! Open your eyes!
Learn the signs
When we’re underwater, the only means of communicating we have left are our hands. By learning some simple signs the instructor will teach you, you will be able to announce that you’re fine, if you’re having a problem or want to go up or down. What a great way to be understood even in the most unexpected places!
Don’t forget: while you’re under the water, you will have to stay silent, but it doesn’t mean that you have to do so on the boat. You will have great professionals going on that journey with you – why not use the chance to know everything you were afraid to ask about diving?
While professional diving requires special equipment and very high level of preparation, the intro session is essentially meant to make you feel good. Everything will be prepared for you, and the instructor will watch every breath you take (this time, literally). Follow the rules, listen to the instructor, show the right signs, and you will not have anything to be afraid of.