Sunday, July 31, 2011

Proud as punch...

I'm managing to squeeze in one more post before I head away tomorrow...

I'm not sure how it happened and the process was VERY painful for me but I'm now a qualified Padi Open Water Diver!

I have never had so many moments out of my comfort zone in my life as I have over the past 6 months or so and the Padi diving course has to be one of the biggest!

From day one, I didn't enjoy it and found it very stressful.  Our first exercises were in the pool underwater (like filling your mask up with water and then blowing it out through your nose; taking your Regulator out of your mouth, dropping it and putting it in again).  Doing all this underwater, sends the mind/body into fight or flight mode as it's unnatural.  I was fighting not to flee!!

Day 2 was our first dive at sea so I was crapping myself!  My problems started with getting water in my mask and up my nose, which is very uncomfortable because you want to blow or cough and you've got this damn big Regulator in your mouth and you're underwater!  The next major problem was my ears wouldn't equalise which meant they got more and more painful the deeper we went.  Needless to say when I finished that dive I was feeling like shit, didn't enjoy it at all and was very very stressed the whole time!  I ended up in tears, being a mixture of relief I was out of the water and still breathing and pain because I felt like crap.  It took my body 4-5 days to recover and I thought "this isn't for me" and didn't think I would carry on.

We had a week rest and by then I thought "I'll give it one more try".  My next dive was slightly better as Dawn had given me some special diving ear plugs which helped my ears but I still had problems with my mask.  First I was getting lots of water coming in so then had to surface to tighten it, but I tightened it too much and when I went down to 9-12 metres I got 'mask squeeze' with the pressure, which was actually more uncomfortable than getting water in as your mask sucks onto your face so tightly you can't see properly!
I wasn't in a good space mentally when I had to do my exercises underwater - taking out my regulator, dropping it, finding it and putting it back in again.  I said "no", I wasn't doing it  and indicated I wanted to go up.  So our Instructor swam with me to a shallower part which made my mask more comfortable and calmed me down enough to do the exercise and then we surfaced.  I still wasn't convinced this was for me and we were diving around the wreck of US Liberty but I was always so uncomfortable I couldn't appreciate it.

We did one more dive in the afternoon and Made (our Instructor) gave me a brand new mask to try.  OMG it made all the difference in the world!  I FINALLY enjoyed my dive as didn't have any mask problems and my ears were ok with the plugs.  I could enjoy what I was seeing and felt a lot more relaxed.  It was beautiful, some of the coral looks like little white flower buds like our blossom trees at home, and the hundreds of different fish - all shapes, sizes and beautiful colours, amazing!

I hadn't bothered to finish reading the diving book to study for the written exam but Brent was all set to do it so I thought "why not, I'll give it a go".  So I did and we both passed! 

So from the morning when I still thought "this isn't for me" to the afternoon when I was then qualified, it was pretty amazing.  It shows how much the mind gets in the way of our experiences. Having said that, when you're in a life and death situation, like being underwater 12 metres down, then it's only natural for your mind to want to flee - until you get used to it of course :-)

Anyway, I'm really proud of myself for keeping going and saying "I'll give it one more go" - because I got there!


  1. Hi Paula,

    Kim pointed me in the direction of your blog. Wow you are doing some amazing things and experiencing so many diverse things.

    Enjoy your holiday. I'll follow your blog and see what else unfolds.

    I blog at
    Reiki blessings
    Lynley in NZ

  2. Hi Lynley, it's wonderful to hear from you! Yes, certainly a diverse range of challenges and experiences, hopefully all for the higher good :-) We are enjoying our holiday and seeing more of Bali and it's beautiful people. x Paula