I was always afraid of open water. And of sharks.
No matter if it was the small lake in our hometown, the actual sea or a public swimming pool at night.
I knew they were there just waiting for me.
Blablabla…so what, you are not afraid of sharks? Or you are a shark expert now? Prooove it! And let us see your results in the comments…
Anyways, the rest come with me...
Sticking to my motto ‘Face your Fears’ one day I had the brave idea of becoming a scuba diver. So I signed up for a Padi Open Water Course in my hometown in Germany.
It feels super cool breathing under water like I am some kind of super hero. I really enjoy the training and diving around. In the pool.
Then I find myself pushed off a dive boat in the middle of the red sea in Egypt. First my acrophobia kicks in when I put my head in the water and see the sandy bottom around 8 meters down. My heart is pounding, I am convinced I just made the biggest mistake ever. Finally I start breathing through my regulator when I notice that I am not falling down and crashing on the ground.
Still wondering if I should just swim back to the boat. But we already go down the anchor line, equalising, I focus on my instructor. For a second I glimpse down and see a huge murray eel swimming right underneath us. I know things appear bigger under water and all but that monster was humongous. I would not die from one big bite by a shark but swallowed alive from a murray eel.
Here is how the Giant Green Muray Eel looks like
My instructor grabs me by my BCD (buyoncy control device) and signals me to stay put. Some ghost hand of mine gives him the ‘OK’ sign.
We keep descending. Finally we reach the bottom, I am on my knees. I am sure when I turn my head around I look straight in some gigantic wide open mouth. So I stare at my instructor the way I stare at flight attendants during turbulences. As long as they stay calm I feel a little bit more safe.
The dive instructor keeps us busy by asking us to perform all sort of skills we learned in the pool. Good thing I am not first so I can just follow the lead. I don’t take my eyes off the instructor. We are done with all necessary exercises and he signals us to follow him. Now I have no chance but to notice my surrounding. WOW. We are in the middle of a beautiful coral garden.
It feels like being in the prettiest fish tank I have ever seen. Ok, I only know the ones from our chinese restaurants in town but most of them are really impressive.
(This all happened before the Go Pro age, so excuse me for using this picture I found online. But thats how it actually looked like)
Colourful fishes and corals all over. So distracted by all the new things and the ultimate feeling I am on another planet, I totally forget about my fear. I am smiling, but at the same time biting the mouth piece of my regulator as hard as I can in order not to loose it. Umm, no, you are not supoose to do that! It won’t drop out. You can cough, laugh, scream and vomit and it won’t just fly out of your mouth.
The best time of my life.
We continue our dive for maybe another 20mins and when the instructor asks us to ascend slowly I feel really sad to leave. Up on the surface I keep looking down still surprised that my acrophobia doesn’t work in water. How cool is that? Next time on the ski lift I just imagine I am in the water!
Completely exhausted, my jaw bones in spasms, but happy as hell.
I have to get back on the boat. I can’t wait to go back down.
I was hooked.
I started diving on a regular on my next trips. Got a chance to dive in the Maldives, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Aruba and Guadeloupe. Oh, and I saw sharks. Lots of them. Actually they were not interested at all in my skinny wetsuit-covered butt.
By time I moved to Jamaica I was a Padi Rescue Diver. Luckily my job allowed me to go diving 4 times a week, it was perfect. Just when I decided to start a professional career in diving and become an instructor I got pregnant and had to stay out of the deep.
I throw Max in the ocean when he was 3 days old.
My Jamaican co-workers and other people on the beach thought I was going to kill him. Hilarious. From that moment on he loved the water just as much as I do now. Look at him…
At the age of 12, he is a certified Padi Open Water Diver 🐠🐟🐬
We want to hear how your first scuba experience was. Never been? Do you have any questions about scuba diving here in Jamaica? Please ask in the comments and we will get you the answers!