For some reason I dislike the sea. And by extension, I was not a very big fan of islands. In all honesty: I’m scared of waves, afraid of currents and sea urchins haunt my dreams. Oh, and the fact that I can manage to get a sun burn in the shade doesn’t help either.
My better half, on the other hand, loves the sea, is intrigued by its inhabitants, is a certified diver and because of all that, likes islands. So to get him his island fix, the Perhentians were a logical stop on our trip in Malaysia.
My brave moment
They say that compromise is the key to a good relationship, so after 4 years of me being too much of a pussy to dive with Thomas, I decided on the spur of the moment to step outside my comfort zone and try to obtain my PADI Open Water certification. This might not be a big deal for most but at the thought of being under water with my air supply strapped to my back, I was ready to back out.
I’m a wimp in the water
The thing is, I tend to freak out even while snorkeling. When I see the depth, when I see too many fish and especially at the sight of jelly fish or sea urchins I want out. At times I literally screamed in my snorkel, out of fear for drowning or being eaten alive. So it was safe to say that I wanted a good dive school and hoped for a reassuring instructor. After reading about Anti Gravity Divers, I had the feeling this was my spot. Two days before I wanted to start I contacted them and, hooray, they had time for me.
I started off with some theory and that did not calm me down. My focus was only on all the things you can do wrong. Strangely enough, the next morning I felt really calm when walking to the dive school. Not excited (the socially accepted feeling), not scared, just weirdly serene. There, I met my instructor: Sam. For everybody that wants to learn how to dive, there should be a Sam. Really. Serious about the important parts, joking around about everything else and freakishly good at explaining underwater stuff.
The point of no return
It was time to enter the water. We were starting off with exercises like losing your mouthpiece underwater and getting it back and flooding your mask and clearing it of water, without coming up. Things that beforehand didn’t appeal to me at all. But when we got to about 10 meters deep and Sam signed “Okay?”, I knew that I was more than okay. I was feeling completely at ease.
At Anti Gravity, they are serious about your education. You practise things on land and over and over again in the water. It feels like, to them, it’s a matter of honor to make sure you know what you are doing out there. And boy did I like all the exercises and the cool things they teach you. They even throw in an extra dive to help you swim more effecient, which leaves you with more oxygen and dive time.
Welcome to the family
Without wanting to sound full of myself, hearing people say that I’m good at something that I like so much, is not only flattering, it’s a big confidence boost. Yes, I am already dreaming about more dives together with Thomas and my follow up certification.
So all in all, thanks to a great dive school and awesome instructor, at the end of my comfort zone, I found a new one. Apparently mine is about 18 meters under the waves.
Ps. I don’t have pictures of the SHARK I saw. But of course there is proof of me in a charming wetsuit.