DISCOVERING SCUBA DIVING
By: Paulina Dorantes G.
Looking for new adventures is one of the highlights of being a blogger. Since I moved to Cancun and the opportunity to tryout scuba diving arose, thousands of ideas started to unfold before my eyes. Though, none came close to what I finally experienced.
“Never hold your breath, remain calm and breathe normally only through your mouth” says our PADI instructor Sebastian to my internationally mixed group consisting of a Canadian, an Italian, two Dutch guys and myself, a Mexican girl. After 30 minutes of theory, we head up to the pool in our wetsuits. It’s another hot sunny day in Quintana Roo.
The first lesson is about buoyancy, which sounds easy, but believe me, never would I have imagined to feel that helpless while going up and down seemingly uncontrolled. During emergency simulations, we clear our masks and dive some meters through the pool.
After a small break, we get ready again for what I consider the best part: our first dive in open water down to 39ft/ 12m. I can’t explain the excitement of being aboard a boat full of scuba divers telling their unique stories about their sightings, sharks, sunken ships and secret places, while the salty ocean water splashes into my face. Destiny? The boat stops and we regroup. A staff member helps us get up, as we are now in our full gear, and it’s actually pretty tough to walk by yourself with a 12l tank, the BCD and fins on. As soon as we hit the water, we circle around a rope for some more exercises. Not sure how this happened, but I suddenly realize that we are already halfway through our program. My ears are a gentle reminder of how fast things are happening and that i need to learn to equalize. It takes me a little while longer, but luckily my group keeps patiently waiting for me. What comes next is indescribable.
I´ve never understood why claustrophobia can mean a real threat and restriction to divers with the sea being that huge. How could someone possibly feel locked in here? I’m not claustrophobic but I honestly feel like a tiny drop in a massive water-filled dessert that compresses my chest. I feel like being swallowed and reduced to a small crumb. Sebastian approaches me and we sit down on the sandy bottom. Breathing calmly, the feeling passes and I begin to appreciate the marine life surrounding me. This new world that unfolds before my eyes: fish of different sizes and colors, sea turtles, corals, immense morays that warn us about their presence by opening their threatening mouths… I’m the luckiest person in the world.
Intruding the fishes’ home, they keep looking at us aliens. Their huge eyes seem in a millimeters’ distance in front of our eyes, or so I thought before I learnt that objects look larger and closer underwater due to the higher refraction index of the water compared to air. Time flies fast when you are having fun. 15 minutes quickly turn into 45 and we return to the surface. I got hooked and badly wanted to get my head back underwater. Hence, I started my PADI Open Water Diver Certification with ScubaCaribe Mexico.