“Why Scuba Dive?”
Unlike many stories that start with “I fear water”, my story is a bit different. Just a little bit. This is hard to confess, but I was diagnosed with a few, if not many, Anxiety disorders. Though mild, combined with my not-so-nice ADHD, it was a disaster!
But, Why Scuba Dive? Didn’t It Make it Worse?
Yes and No. My first pool session was a mess—shoutout to Mr Bryan, BOD Diving Instructor, for patiently handling me. I panicked. After the pool session, I wondered, “Why was I afraid to descend? Or to clear my mask?”
Bonjour! I am Tanish, A certified Open Water diver! I had my certification trip between the 9th – 11th of September 2022. To be truthful, that was the first step to conquering my anxiety. When my mom realized this, she started pushing me to be consistent with my classes. I wanted to join diving classes for the thrill & adventure. And by the time I had attended my 3rd pool session, I realized diving was much more than that! After all my coursework, It was time to venture for my dive trip. Oh, was it a rollercoaster…
My Dive Trip Package
My family and I chose Perhentian Island Besar! It was a long trip from KL, but it was worth it! It was affordable and our resort, The Barat Perhentian, was gorgeous! The picturesque scenery and the comfort of my shared room with my diving buddy gave the journey even more flavor! Our food and equipment rentals were included with the trip package, and the service was equally efficient.
Our Diving Experience:
The First Dive: Meditate Underwater
On the first day, we had our first dive! Immediately after lunch, we were briefed about our equipment, the assembling process, + how to utilize them underwater. We had a mini-lecture about our dive route and hopped on the boat!
We had to make a back entry into the water at the dive site. The tide was high, and the water was cloudy, with many sand and other particles floating. When we were about to descend, I freaked out and quickly jumped out of the water! Mr Tim asked, “You know you can breathe underwater with your regulator, right?” I sighed, “oh, yes…”. I realized panic was not the right tool to carry underwater. The trick is to breathe. Let yourself go, relax and maintain your buoyancy, just like meditation; calming.
Afterwards, as we dove slightly deeper, here came the fishes! It was a dazzling sight; it felt like a disco! Post-dive, we ascended and practised our ‘BCD remove and replace’ skill. As a team of 4, we set the record by taking an hour to complete it 😀 Don’t judge us; it was hard. But it was funny too.
The Second & Third Dive: A whole new world
Radiant fishes, scary stingrays, dramatic corals and many other underwater adventures incoming!
By this time, we understood how as humans, we were like aliens to the water creatures. I hadn’t considered before my dives just how human-centric our lives are on land. Everything seems to revolve around the human experience: from motorways to fast food. But when you enter the marine world as a diver, it’s a different story. Suddenly, you’re the outsider—a guest in someone else’s home.
This was Day 2. As we dove further, we felt comfortable and more at ‘peace’ underwater. It was almost as if I didn’t want to ascend back to the land. I felt sheer calmness as tranquility rushed through my veins. We explored the underwater world further and didn’t even realize that we had reached a depth of 11 meters! When you’re diving, it’s a different gameplay because being immersed underwater is such a sensory experience it almost catches you off-guard! Your breathing becomes slow, purposeful and rhythmic. This is what living in the present moment feels like!
After dancing around underwater, we were hungry; hence, before our final dive, we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch!
The Fourth Dive: “*Superpower unlocked – ‘Calmness’*.”
This has to be one of my best experiences in the past 17 years. We saw a shipwreck! That’s right – The magical underwater experience couldn’t have had a better ending than this. We were a massive team of Power Rangers, this time with 3 other divers! Alongside a group of 7, we proceeded to back entry into the dusk of the sparkling ocean. As we descended, I knew it was the last dive, and I was sad.
We dove deeper, the tide was low, and the water was crystal clear. Later, about hundreds or thousands of fluorescent-coloured fishes surrounded us completely! It’s a fact that fishes feel safer around shipwrecks than in open areas and travel in packs to avoid predator attacks. Nevertheless, at that moment, I was awestruck. The wreck was home to other incredible marine creatures, which are plentiful and abound in the clear tropical waters surrounding the spectacular island. This time, we dove till 18 meters, and again, nope, we didn’t realize. We fell in love with this new world. I wish we were mermaids!
But all good things eventually come to an end. After 50-ish minutes, we ascended back to the surface and bid goodbye until the next adventure!
I miss diving. I can’t wait for my next trip! Some of the key takeaways I had was the awareness I gained about the environment. More than anything else, my first scuba dive gave me a much deeper appreciation for our oceans and a renewed sense of environmental stewardship to protect them. Now I understand why divers are so passionate about ocean and reef conservation. Likewise for Coral reefs, they are wondrous places. Just as they are beautiful, they’re also a source of food and habitat for thousands of fish species. They protect coasts from storm erosion and provide income to local economies too. They are under threat, and as an ocean-loving community, we must protect them.
Are you intrigued to become an Open Water Diver? If yes, Send us a message right away and we will get you started!
Big Ocean Dive was a massive support in my journey, and without their hype instructors, I would have struggled for my license. So, see you at our next dive trip? 😉