Only ‘theatrical’ people are Aquarius to the point where they think that stars signs really have any real relevance to enjoying a pastime – next thing is they say ‘my name is Peter, I have blue eyes and like Mocha Lattes’, that aside I am then going to shock you with telling you my favourite ‘god’ is Poseidon (Greek God of the Sea) – now it’s nothing to do with his big rapier, rippling muscles, six pack etc, depending on whose graphical rendition you look at, but it is because coming from an island race I feel at certain affinity with the sea and you guessed, this piece is about water and diving lol….
This is particularly odd as I have a fear of swimming in open water and an overactive imagination when it comes to thinking about some nasty, teeth loaded, aquatic monster rising from the depths with the sole intention of seeking me out as some snack item. Which leads me to my first experience with Scuba Diving in Malaysia.
I had booked a few days with a friend of mine who is a Diving Instructor (Dive with Nic) and was able to provide me with a free lesson and the gear needed but understand that there are plenty of diving operations who can do that for you, for a charge without a doubt!
Things You Need:
-Just your willingness and undivided attention
-A sense of FUN and Adventure
Beginners need to practice the following skills in shallow water:
1. Breathing underwater
My best tip for beginner divers is just to breathe normally. Don’t hold your breath, don’t hyperventilate, just breathe normally. Like you would on land. If you’re a little nervous about diving, controlling your breathing will help to calm you down.
2. Regulator usage, recovery, and clearing
This is what you will be using to breathe underwater. They will teach you how to use this regulator and to replace the regulator back into the mouth and properly clear it of water inside. If you have ever used a snorkel this is very easy.
3. Scuba mask clearing
This sounds really gross, but I promise you, it works! Spitting in your mask pre-dive is the best way to keep your mask clear underwater and prevent it from fogging up. However, even if your mask does fog up, it can easily be fixed by rinsing out your mask underwater. This is one of the first things your instructor will teach you, along with what to do if your mask fills up with water. It can occasionally happen, but there is a really simple trick to clear your mask of water while under the surface, and you don’t even have to get your eyes wet (diving is fine if you wear contact lenses too).
4. Relieving pressure on the ears or equalizing your ears
Just like you have to equalize your ears when you go on a plane, you need to equalize your ears when you dive. The purpose of equalizing is to match the pressure inside your ears with the pressure in your outside environment.
You can equalize your ears by pinching your nose and gently blowing, by swallowing or adopting any other method that feels most comfortable. Never forcefully try to equalize your ears, and if your ears ever feel painful, tell your instructor immediately and he/she will guide you.
5. Underwater swimming techniques
Very different than swimming on the surface of the water. Therefore, if you can’t swim this may not be a problem since you will be under the water rather than on the surface of the water.
6. Useful hand signals
Underwater, sound travels very well however humans just can’t pull off talking while driving. Therefore we will use hand signals to communicate- very easy to learn.
7. Inflate and deflate a BCD at the surface
Learn how to use your Buoyancy Compensator (or Controlled) Device or BCD. You will learn which button to press should you need to add air to the BCD at the surface or underwater to get yourself neutrally buoyant.
These few PADI Discover Scuba skills you will master quickly and easily before you go on a fun scuba dive in the sea. Instructors will help you learn at your own pace!
Even with air tanks on your back, you will be surprised how difficult it is to stay under the water if you are not deliberately swimming down and, of course, the answer is getting the right amount of weights in a belt you fasten around your middle. Once you get used to sucking air in through your mouth and the sense of being scared in an alien environment, the whole experience is unbelievably super relaxing and calming. I wondered if the fact that we spend around 9 months of our lives in a liquid habitat has anything to do with this sensation?
I found the main thing was to control your breathing as it is natural to panic and ’snatch’ at breath or even try to hold it – let go and go with the flow and of course, make sure you are out with a qualified diving buddy in case there are problems.
It’s just an awesome experience and that is coming from someone like me who overcame their natural fears of the deep – so stay positive always and take the plunge! 🙂
How to get there?
Location: Pulau Perhentian – the island off the coast of Malaysia.
*From Kuala Lumpur…
Take bus from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan bus stand and stop at Kuala Besut jetty or Jarteh bus stand
– Mahligai express – +603-40428533
– Mutiara express – +603-40433655
– Transnasional – +603-40438984
The only way to go there is by the sea especially a boat service from Kuala Besut.
Boat from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Island takes about 1/2 hour journey by fast boat and 1 1/2 hour by slow boat.
Boat fare -Speedboat (30 – 40 minutes journey)
RM70.00/person/adult & RM35/person/child – to and fro
RM40.00/person/adult & RM20/person/child – one way
* Child price (3yrs – 11yrs old, 12yrs and above consider adult)
RM50/person/way for the Oct – Feb
Boat schedule – Kuala Besut to Perhentian Island
Speedboat – from 7.00am to 4.30pm
Boat schedule – Perhentian Island to Kuala Besut
Speed boat – at 08.00am, 12.00noon & 4.00pm
Accommodation: From hotels to beach front huts etc