Day Zero

I tried scuba for the very first time on October 31, 2017, at Shangri-la Mactan in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines.

I actually started my day doing helmet diving and snorkeling. They are not unrelated. Helmet diving is a very early form of scuba diving, and it is fascinating in its own right. You should try it. And you use your snorkel, with scuba diving, on the ocean surface to conserve your oxygen supply for when you are underwater. I may blog more about these in the future.

As with all activities, I looked forward to diving right into it, pun intended. No one really looks forward to training. We look forward to doing.

Scuba is different.

After doing some paperwork and watching some safety videos, the fun begins. Absolutely every step of learning scuba is interesting.

First of all, my learning started in a swimming pool. My feet were firmly on the pool bottom so that I could focus on my instructor.

Every piece of equipment is fascinating. You learn what everything is and what it does. Nothing is boring. Everything could warrant its own blog entry, really.

The big treat, as a Star Wars fan, is the first breath. You do this out of the water, by the way, testing your primary regulator before taking your first breath underwater.

While I knew that a certain sound came from scuba equipment, it didn’t really hit me until this first breathing cycle. I turned to my instructor and exclaimed something to the effect of, “I’m Darth Vader! That’s awesome!”

We went through every piece of equipment, in fact. We checked everything. The buoyancy compensator is a critical piece of equipment that will capture your attention in many ways.

I also learned a few basic hand signals so that my instructor and I could communicate underwater.

Everything leads to taking a swim around the pool. We tested all of our equipment again, and I learned to control my buoyancy through breathing. Breathe in deeply and you’ll float up. Exhale fully and you’ll descend. The fun part is breathing so as to try to maintain a consistent depth.

I also learned to equalize my ears. If your ears have ever “popped” on an airplane or while swimming underwater, equalizing prevents this.

After the swimming pool exercises, we went on a boat. We did a backwards entry, which is really cool. I ended up doing a backwards somersault in the water, ending right-side up. My instructor and I then dove for 38 minutes through Shangri-la Marine Sanctuary.

I took quite a few photos, but underwater photography requires special considerations. I’m still learning at this point. I hope to upload high quality photos of my adventures in the future.

The last part of training was a great night’s sleep. My body demanded it, and it got it.

The one thing a scuba lesson will leave you with is the desire to go scuba diving again. Through this blog, I will share my adventures with you. Thank you for coming along.

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