6 First Time Diver Experiences

How did it make you feel to go scuba diving for the first time? Excited? Nervous? Scared?

Whatever you were feeling, know that other divers have had similar emotions. To prove to all of you new divers out there that you are not alone, we present the stories of 6 first-time dives, including how they felt, their advice, issues, and their scuba journey.

Diver #1 – Stephanie – Aquarium Trial Diver 

1. How come you went diving?

When I was 23, I purchased an adventure experience that included what looked like fun shark diving in an aquarium. I've always loved swimming in the ocean and watching the marine creatures, so I figured this would be a nice first step to see if I'd like scuba diving.

2. Where did you go?

In Sydney, Australia, I took a brief course and ran through an aquarium. I learnt how to utilize the breathing apparatus and some fundamental skills, like clearing the mask, throughout the roughly three-hour lesson, which started with some theory and ended with a practical session in the pool. Then, when diving through the aquarium, we had the opportunity to swim with turtles, manta rays, huge fish, and grey nurse sharks.

3. How did you feel?

I was a little anxious since I had to learn a new skill that was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I was also really enthusiastic.

4. Did you have any problems?

I had trouble clearing the mask, and it took me a few tries before I could get the hang of it.

5. What’s your top tip for new divers?

Breathe slowly and enjoy it.

6. Have you been diving since?

Since then, when traveling abroad to Mauritius and the Maldives, I've done a few shallow reef dives. I always intended to go further and complete a more formal PADI course so that I could dive deeper, but I haven't yet done this.

Diver #2 – Jayne – The Open Water Diver 

PADI Course Director

1. How come you went diving?

My fiancée and I decided to take scuba diving lessons when I was 30 in order to prepare for our honeymoon in the Maldives.

2. Where did you go?

I did a Padi course in Sydney at Manly.

3. How did you feel?

I was first uneasy when performing the training drills, but it's lot simpler when you are scuba diving and not thinking about the drills.

4. Did you encounter any issues?

I did, in fact, pop my eardrum! If you have even the smallest cold, avoid diving since it will damage your ears for years.

5. What is your best advice for novice divers?

Just take a deep breath and relax; the drills and training are only there to prepare you for the worst-case scenario. When you go scuba diving and experience amazing things for the first time, it's worthwhile.

6. Do you still dive today?

Yes, I've done diving in Mozambique and the Maldives. Every time, it's been fantastic.

Diver #3 – Doug – Discover Scuba to Advanced Diver 

1. Why did you go scuba diving?

When I was 16 years old, I took a trial dive since I had always been interested in diving and wanted to give it a try.

2. Where did you go?

Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia's Amity Point

3. How were you feeling?

While I was quite eager to get in the ocean, I was also a little apprehensive in case I came across any sharks.

4. Did you encounter any issues?

I had trouble equalizing one of my ears, but as long as I took my time going into the bass, everything was OK. I also had a problem with the air valve not fully opening, which prevented me from getting an accurate reading on my gauge. The instructor just opened the valve all the way to solve this. However, this illustrates how crucial it is to do all pre-checks correctly before entering the water.

5. What is your best advice for novice divers?

Keep your cool and have faith in the teacher; that's what they are there for! Also, remember to have pleasure in your dive because it will be the closest thing you will experience to flying. Give it a try; it's a lovely and tranquil experience, and there is so much of the world below to discover.

6. Have you been diving since?

I didn't dive again after my trial dive until I was an adult. While visiting destinations like Bali and Vanuatu, I took part in a few basic dives, but I felt really constrained in my options. I was quite disappointed that I hadn't completed my Open Water certification earlier and chose to do it at the age of 40. After completing the theory online, I completed my certification in Bali, and I enjoyed it so much that a year later I returned to get my Advanced. I've done a lot of diving in the Pacific Islands, Australia, and Bali, and the nice thing is that diving has helped me overcome my shark phobia. They haven't instilled terror in me after spending time with them and learning more about them, in my opinion.

Diver #4 – Dean – Aquarium Trial Dive to Dive Master

1. You went scuba diving, why?

I've always wanted to attempt diving because I enjoy snorkeling and feel really at ease in the water. As a gift for turning 21, I was given the chance to experience scuba diving in a shark tank aquarium.

2. Where have you been?

The underwater theme park in Queensland, Australia.

3. How were you feeling?

Happy because it was something I had always wanted to do and because, after experiencing it, I wanted to go again because I felt so at ease.

4. Did you encounter any issues?

The hardest part was trying to maintain balance.

5. What is your best advice for novice divers?

Take several long, steady breaths and gaze up if you feel overwhelmed (seeing the surface can be calming). If this is ineffective and you continue to experience anxiety and discomfort, inform the instructor and end the dive. Additionally, I believe that utilizing your own equipment, even if it's only a mask, can help you feel more at ease.

6. Do you still dive today?

Yes. Before I tried scuba diving once more, 9 years had passed. I regret waiting so long, but I had to travel for work. A trip I took to Vanuatu was what ultimately inspired me to try diving once more. I felt left out because my wife and I were snorkeling while everyone else on our boat was scuba diving. One of the nicest things I ever did was enroll in the Open Water course when I returned to Australia. I was so in love with it that I even completed the necessary training to become a Dive Master so I could have a job to fall back on while traveling.

Divers #5 & #6 – Ethan & Sydney 11 year old twins – The Kid Divers

1. Why did you go scuba diving?

Both: Our aunt and uncle gave us a gift certificate for the Bubblemaker course—a kids' course that is taught in the water—for Christmas.

2. Where did you go?

Both: Queensland, Australia's Redcliffe Aquaventures.

3. How were you feeling?

Ethan: At first, I was anxious, but once I got the feel of it, it was simple and enjoyable.

Sydney: I had a good time.

4. Did you experience any problems?

Ethan: Moving around was challenging due to the weight of the air tank.

Sydney: The air tank was a little too heavy, and since I'm small, I kept toppling over.

(Note that the Bubblemaker course's goal is to help children become accustomed to breathing underwater in a shallow pool, so proper weighing and BCD inflation are not the main emphasis.)

5. What would you advise beginners to do first?

Ethan: Avoid breathing through your nose to prevent further encrustation of the mask on your face.

Sydney said that spreading your legs will improve your balance.

6. Have you been diving since then?

Both: No, we have not yet had the opportunity, but we would like to do it again because it was enjoyable.

As you can see, each of us has had a unique scuba experience, and by sharing these stories, we can all make other divers' underwater encounters more enjoyable and safe. 

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About the Author

Amanda and her husband Dean have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a divemaster. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.

You can follow Scatabout:

Website: https://scatabout.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2DM9Noj
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scatabout/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scatabout/

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