I LOVE diving. I did my first dive in Malaysia a few years ago (above, with my brother) and it was love at first sight. So when I found that there were diving schools here in India, I knew I had to try it out.
Back then I did the discovery course, which gives you a few basic skills then an instructor will take you by the hand and lead you round the course. It was pretty scary the first time, but after ten minutes of me freaking out and trying to breathe normally through the mouth piece, it was pretty awesome from there.
I decided to take the discovery course again this time. Why? Because – and I know you all know me well enough by now to know this is true – I suck at everything. If something is to go wrong, it will do. Scuba diving has a lot of dangers attached, and this scares me a lot. However, there is a sunken ancient city in the south of Japan that I really, really want to see before I die. So I have to take my license sooner or later.
This time, I went with Barracuda diving school, who were very professional and I really trusted them. It’s important that you make a good connection with your instructors since you are pretty much putting your life in their hands. Mine was the rather dashing fellow on the left, and though he was a mere whippersnapper, he knows his stuff and didn’t laugh at me when I couldn’t get one of the skills he was teaching me first time round.
The course here was a little different to the one I took in Malaysia. Back there, we had a short course on land then were out at sea. This time round I watched a video about safety, then I was taken to the pool to practise skills like taking the mouth piece out underwater (not as easy as it looks!) and how to let water out of my mask while also underwater. Then on the second day (the day after I was sick…) I went out to sea for two dives.
I was a little worried that this would be pretty lonely, but there were two amazing Finnish girls with me, one of whom was a very experienced diver. She made me want to take my license even more, she was so cool. The instructor was also really friendly too, so I guess my worries were all for nothing as I wasn’t lonely in the slightest.
The first dive was pretty easy. We went around some rocks and then came back round again. It wasn’t very deep and the instructor was holding my hand the whole way round so there was little room for error. I got to see some scorpionfish which was pretty cool because they are very dangerous. Hehe. Other than that, there were lots of little brightly coloured fish – including a fish that I forgot the name of with gorgeous neon blue piping on it.
The second dive was a little harder – a sunken ship. It was harder because it was much deeper, and navigating yourself around such an object can be a little scary. However, I did feel a little bit like Ariel the Little Mermaid…
Yeah, that’s what was going on in my head the whole time. Dammit, why can’t I be Ariel…
On a side note, I’d like to talk a little about one certain nationality who are very common here in Goa – Russians. I was pretty surprised to find a) how many of them visiting and b) how much negativity there is towards them. Most of the Russians I have met are very polite and kind and I couldn’t pick out a single sweeping generalisation about them in particular as a people. However, the ones I have encountered here have been, I must admit, pretty rude and adamant on doing whatever they wish to be doing. For example, smoking on the boat. Two Russians were with us on the trip and I was pretty disgusted at how blatant they were in ignoring the no smoking rule, even after being told that it’s because we have oxygen on board and this could cause an explosion. When I went to the night market, too, stall women complained to me that Russian customers never stop to talk with them, only ask the price and then go.
Of course, you could say the same with Brits – we are good people most of the time, but put us in some cheap, warm European country and marinade with cheap alcohol and we can turn into the lowest forms of life available. Knowing the lovely Russian people I’m friends with, I was just a little sad that their image is being tarred by people like this.