My extraordinary first diving experience!
Jacques Cousteau said “THE SEA, ONCE IT CASTS ITS SPELL, HOLDS ONE IN ITS NET OF WONDER FOREVER”
The idea of diving into the deep depths of the ocean, finding yourself in the middle of fishes and marine wildlife, the idea of struggling for breath and not being able to come back to the surface, all of this was extremely terrifying for a person like me who had chickened out on the second day of swim class, on being nudged towards the deeper end of the pool!
When I found myself at Tarkarli, one of the most picturesque beaches in India with virgin white sands and a clear, beautiful sea, I was lost for words.
I forced myself to get into the boat that takes you to the main diving spot, 5 minutes away from the coast. Mustering up a lot of courage, I decided to go for it. There were 3 professional divers and 8-10 tourists on the boat who were preparing to dive. When it was my turn to dive, I had to wear underwater goggles, some weights around my waist to keep me underwater and the oxygen cylinder. With help from the instructor, I slowly climbed down the steps of the boat. For the next five minutes, I was trained on how to breathe using the mouthpiece and what hand signs can be made to communicate underwater. The very next moment, I found myself already underwater, gradually going deeper and deeper into the sea, I tightly held on to the instructor’s arm as he guided me to the part where I could see the corals and sea weed and fishes. The instructor had carried an underwater camera and took pictures and videos which I bought later (included in the scuba package).
What I saw underwater was the most enchanting and mesmerizing view I had ever seen. Serene green-blue warm water, colourful fishes swimming across the sea (I’m quite sure I spotted Nemo that day :p), giant underwater flowers and plants, and most importantly, the peacefulness and silence of the underwater world where all I could hear was the sound of bubbles. The moment felt like I was in a completely different universe, where I could meditate in peace and forget about all the worldly tensions. I thought about all the things I would have missed if I had not taken the plunge.
The view got etched in my memory forever. I looked up to the surface and couldn’t even see the base of the boat. That’s when I panicked a little, but my instructor tried to calm me down and signed at me to keep breathing! That’s it. It was that simple! When I came out of the water and climbed back up on the boat, the instructor and I shared a warm victory smile and a thumbs up! So keep in mind, the next time you are faced with such once in a lifetime experience, don’t be afraid to try it out, give it all you can, and remember – Just Breathe!