Friday, 24 November 2017

First Timers!

Everything is easy when you are young and invincible but here is a tale of true courage.

Mark Burton's training as a BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) diver soon returned after a couple of sessions in the  house pool and an hour's dive in the sea.

Mark's wife, Debbie and her sister Elaine are here for a couple for weeks and were keen to have a try...which I think is pretty great when you have never done any diving before.

 We started off in the pool for several sessions along with some theory and then we headed for the reef of nearby Kata, one of the beaches on the west side of Phuket.

The coral reef at Kata is ideal for a first Open Water dive with a rope running right around it. This rope is supposed to keep jet skiers and longtail boats away...but as can be imagined they often ignore this safety measure and cross the rope. Thus, as is so often the case, the most dangerous thing in the sea is man.

And here are our three lady guests with learner divers Elaine and Debbie on the left and middle and snorkeler extraordinaire, Jane on the right. These ladies are tons of fun and the days are whizzing by in jollity and merriment.
And so...the first sea session started by hanging from this reef-encircling rope with Mark taking part to give the ladies some initial support. The idea is just to hang there and become comfortable with breathing underwater in the sea and to check out the ear equalizing techniques.  It's about 3 metres depth here so with the weight of the divers on the rope and the length of their fins they are already nearly touching the bottom.

And then comes the big moment when we all 'let go' and descend to the bottom for the very first time.....
 The Great Descent begins with a sprinkling of curious fish following us down.....

There must be quite a mixture of feelings during these few seconds of descent!
The first thing to get used to is balance. Many new divers try to stand up under water on their very first go...and that of course stirs up the very fine sand of Kata and people disappear in a sandstorm of their own making.
 The hair styles develop and each diver becomes easily identifiable. Here Debbie displays the 'horned' look to great effect.
 But now, with husband Mark giving a steadying hand, the first tentative half-walking/half-finning approach begins...and we edge forwards.
I buddied up with Elaine and we were soon gaining our confidence with our buoyancy control and starting to look at our surroundings.

This first dive lasted a good hour in the very shallow warm sea which is absolutely teaming with fish life.

For me, seeing people (and these ladies are in their 50's) who would never normally have the opportunity to try scuba diving have a go and enjoy it immensely is a great buzz. I hope we will have another go at diving in amongst what is a very busy holiday schedule because the ladies handled this very well indeed.

All credit to them for overcoming the understandable apprehensions at trying something so different!!

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