We decided to combine our Andaman sight seeing trip with Scuba Diving and what a hell of a ride that turned out to be! The three of us did our pool training and theory with Planet Scuba in Bangalore,India and were referred to Barefoot Scuba at Havelock Island , in Andaman to complete our 4 open water dives in order to be certified as PADI open water divers.
The Challenges We Faced On Day 1 of Scuba In The Ocean
Our pool training back in Bangalore had gone well and we thought easy peezy, we’ve got this! And so we inanely started off on the wrong foot, by choosing to begin our course on a day when we had kayaked all through the night before. It was only when we were thrown into the deep ocean, gasping for air(we were exhausted from that all-nighter) and asked to stay afloat for 20 minutes, or swim 200m any style at a stretch,did we realize that we might have underestimated scuba diving a bit, okay, completely. Not to mention, our day at Andaman began with one of us getting disqualified over this and the remainder of us reconsidering our decision, and aborting our dives for that day as we were super tired, had problems equalising and just when I thought nothing could get worse, I suddenly felt claustrophobic!
Our day ended as abruptly as it began and we watched our scuba dreams crashing down on us.
After a restless night of contemplation(while our instructor provided us with motivation to give it another try) the two of us woke up and decided to go ahead with what we started, and delve right into it.
The Challenges We Faced On Day 2 of Scuba Diving
Luckily, our instructor was right, everything did change for the better on the second day, and before we knew it we completed two brilliant shore dives where we saw a lovely variety of colorful fish and worked on our scuba skills among them. I completed all the skills except skin diving(without which I wouldn’t be allowed to proceed to finish my course), which my instructor Shruthi said might have been harder for me due to my inherent buoyancy. However, In the afternoon she put some additional effort to take me out into the sea, near our resort and try it quite a few times with me. A spectacular combination of her commendable dedication and my ‘never give up’ attitude resulted in me finally nailing it!
The Skills we demonstrated during 2 shore dives on Day 2 of Scuba Diving
- Equipment Assembly and Disassembly
- Pre-Dive Safety Check
- Regulator Clearing
- Regulator Recovery Underwater
- Clear a Partially Flooded Mask
- Skin Diving
- Snorkel to Regulator Exchange
- Cramp Removal
- Tired Diver Tow
- Fin Pivot
The Challenges We Faced On Day 3 Of Scuba Diving
On our final day, we woke up in good spirits to set off to complete 2 boat dives at Nemo Reef in Havelock, along with our instructors. Upon reaching the spot, we were asked to gear up and taught to perform a seated backward roll entry where we are required to sit and roll backwards from the boat into the ocean. All my skills went well, except for the controlled emergency swimming ascent(CESA) where I struggled to make it all the way to the top in one exhalation. We went over that one thrice, till I heaved the biggest sigh of relief when I got it right(Turns out I had also bit part of the rubber mouthpiece of my regulator off, while performing it that last time, embarrassing moments follow me around I tell you). My friend on the other hand, did great at the skills, but had trouble equalizing and scared all of us by having a nose bleed in the water, due to the result of a burst capillary. He did assure us that he was fine, but his instructor felt its best to play it safe, and made sure he did slow guided descents.
Skills We Demonstrated During 2 boat dives on Day 3
On Day 3 we completed :
- Mask Removal and Replacement
- No Mask Breathing
- Alternate Air Source Use
- Deep Water Entry
- Proper Weighting
- BCD Oral Inflation
- Weight Removal and Replacement
- Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA)
- Navigation using a compass underwater
We headed back to the shore on our boat, feeling a huge sense of accomplishment. None of our hurdles were in vain, and each of them made us more prepared for the next dive. I feel immense gratitude towards our instructors who were determined to ensure that we perfected every skill, no matter how long it took. Apart from being our trainers, they were also our friends, counselors, and our greatest motivators! Scuba Diving was undoubtedly the highlight of our trip to the Islands.