The Red Sea is apparently a very popular destination for divers from all over the world and home to many international dive schools. Peter had done his PADI (a divers certification) a year prior, and I’d always been curious what it was like to scuba dive. Since I was a swimmer, I am very comfortable in the water, so I was quite confident. How hard could it be, right? Well, the answer is VERY hard, I learned.
We were dropped off at the dive school to meet our instructor and to gear up. The instructor gave us a brief introduction tutorial as to how to breathe and equalize the pressure in our ears, etc. Then we were given equipment, a full wetsuit, oxygen tank, water shoes, flippers, a mask, and a weighted belt to keep us underwater.
Since it was my first dive, the instructor had to always be near to me to control my oxygen tank, but Peter was free to do a dive alone. So we ventured into the 3 foot deep water so that I could practice breathing before going into deeper waters. But I knew after about 5 minutes of trying and failing to breathe properly that I would not be going into deeper waters.
I tried, I really did, but I just could not coordinate my breathing. My mask would quickly fill up with water, my eyes were irritated by the salt, and I would have to empty my mask and coordinate breathing, and it was just a mess. But in order of the show to go on, I went with Peter and the instructor to the deeper waters, but I stayed on the surface, and therefore so did the instructor.
Literally my oxygen tank was not submerged at any point. I was essentially snorkeling in scuba gear, and I wasn’t even using the oxygen tank to breathe. I would pick my head up out of the water, empty my mask, take a breathe, and put my head back underwater. No underwater wild life was worth this kind of suffering!! So I turned back so that Peter and the instructor could at least enjoy their dive. Plus, I was much happier waiting for their return at the dive school than underwater struggling to breathe.
So I’m checking diving off the bucket list, but this truly was a once in a lifetime experience…by choice!