Discover the glee underwater: Scuba Dive

Scuba diving has always been in my bucket list since I was 12 years old. Discovery channel used to telecast a programme which would showcase a whole variety of underwater/marine life in south Africa. Anyways, I had an opportunity to dive with a group of my office colleagues in Pondicherry when we went there on a team-outing.

On the day prior to scuba diving we had a small training in a swimming pool, where we were taught how to use the buoyancy equipment, hand signals to communicate underwater. Needless to say, the training was very elaborate and helpful, it grew lot of fear in many minds. And we being extremely sensitive and cautious, had doubts like what happens if we accidentally swallow a gulp of water when we’re 20 metres deep in the ocean and their answers weren’t helping overcome the fear. I don’t know swimming and I felt little better when my other friends who knew swimming were also panicking. Afterwards, I realised that the swimmers have pretty much the same chance of surviving under such an instance considering one cannot breathe under water without the breathing equipment. Breathing through mouth, with noise being blocked by the eye-goggled mask is really a different experience. I realised the importance of breathing whenever I went underwater relying on the breathing equipment.

Next day morning, at around 8, we had our breakfast and left to the diving spot. We wore the wet suit for scuba from the place we started. Temple adventures is a group of people in Pondicherry who are certified professional divers and this was a part of beginner level discover scuba PADI program. The diving spot is 6km into the bay of Bengal from the coast. We left to the diving spot in a boat which could easily fit 8 people, fuelled with an engine. On the way we encountered a lot of waves which created goosebumps in the tummy. Whenever a wave hit the boat, it felt like crashing a vehicle on to a rocky surface. The journey from the beach to the diving spot took 25-30 minutes of rock and roll boating. The moment we reached the diving spot, I started feeling uneasy and so did most of my friends. The continuous wavy nature of motion in the boat caused motion sickness. The sumptuous breakfast we had in the resort only worsened the sickness. Some of them puked, and for me it was painstakingly difficult to stay in the boat. I was ready to dive into the water first even though I was very afraid to, because of the motion sickness I experienced while staying in the stationary boat. I was getting ready fitting the necessary gears and was lined up to dive. Few others just came to the surface of water after finishing their scuba dive. They all were extremely happy about what they saw inside. When it was my turn to dive, the fear of breathlessness was creeping back in. We had to dive backwards with the head touching the water first because the cylinder is quite heavy to lift. Once I dived, I involuntarily started breathing heavily through the nose but hell yeah, the mask wouldn’t allow me to breath through nose. That’s when I realised I was just panicking without any reason. After coming to the surface of the water with some difficulty considering the heavy cylinder behind the back, my instructor asked me to breathe through the equipment and feel that it was normal to breathe. Once I was okay with the breathing frequency, the instructor guided me downwards holding a long rope which was tied to the bottom of the ocean. Every 4-5 feet, I was feeling pressure building up in my ears. Clearing the ear canal with air internally helped me in equalising the pressure of air inside Ear canal with the water outside. Some of them had bleeding of nose once they came out because they hadn’t equalised the pressure good enough. It takes atleast 15 mins to equalise with the water pressure and move deeper into the ocean. I was taken 15m deep into the ocean. The amount of light that could penetrate the deep waters was very less and hence all my photographs inside turned out pretty bad. Every minute inside the water, all I could feel was, the sound of my breath, pace at which I was breathing, peaceful state of mind, fishes around me which were enthralling and beautiful. There is no natural reef in Pondicherry. This divesite is an artificial reef made by Temple Adventures to attract different species of fishes. The reef is made up of a coconut tree with its branches. Different fish species prey on food in this artificial reef. I was able to spot at least 5 different species. I encountered a sting fish which is dangerous, made sure I don’t touch it. The bottom of the ocean has lot of iron materials from a possible shipwreck. Hence, the guide didn’t allow me to touch the bottom of the sea which is around 20m deep.

After around 30 minutes I came back to the surface of water. The instructors helped me get into the boat which would lead us back to the shore. After coming back to the surface I felt I should have stayed in the water for longer time without knowing that I already had been in for almost an hour. The experience lies within forever.

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That’s us amateur divers after the dive.

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