Firstly let me start by saying I came relatively late to the sport by most people’s standards at 37 but let me explain why it took so long.
I was always one of those people on holiday when they came round the pool or I was walking down the strip and they tried to get you to sign up for the PADI dive experience I would really fancy it but a quick glance to my partner and I would realise taking a couple of days out of our only 7 day break together to go diving would not end well for me. So I’d pass and say maybe next time.
Fast forward on repeat for 10 years & a couple of people at work were joining a local group but it seemed to be really haphazard lessons and they seemed to be in the pool forever, in fact in the time I worked with them I never actually heard either of them say they had actually been diving. This again put me off joining them as it all seemed very expensive in my head thousands of pounds on equipment & lessons to just swim in a pool.
On rolled another 5 years or so and a BSAC group were doing try dives for £10 in my gym on a Saturday morning, so this time I though why the hell not, what’s a tenner and I’m here on a Saturday anyway.
So I roll up on the day along with 3/4 other people and get my briefing, all good so far, we’re then given some kit to put on, 1st problem ….. I’m a big guy with size 13 feet, so squishing into size 10 fins is not comfortable but power through I do.
Once in the water a few lengths of snorkelling, something I’ve never been good at as I tend to look down too much and flood the snorkel, but after a bit of tuition were away with that and apparently my finning is good?
Next comes all the big gear and the mind game that because I have all this heavy gear on I need more weight to weigh me down (this all makes sense much later on during Ocean Diver Theory Lessons). Off we go up and down the pool and I’m absolutely loving it, kicking myself why didn’t I do a week’s course on holiday all those years ago.
All too soon it’s over and it’s back dressed in the pool café ready for what I assume to be the hard sell. To my surprise it never comes, the route forward is fully explained and when it comes to cost it’s a 3 figure number and not even a very high one and all the kit is thrown in free while I train??
I didn’t need to think twice and signed on for the next Ocean Diver course that was starting in a couple of months. Over the following 6 months I completed Ocean Diver & Sports Diver and can say the theory really drives things home about how & why you do things, something in hindsight I know I wouldn’t have taken in on a 1 week crash course on holiday.
Well, like hill walking I suppose there is a multitude of flora & fauna to see, different scenery wherever you go, but the best part for me is the feeling of isolation and comfort it brings, no modern distractions, mobile phones / iPads / no noise other than the bubbles from my regulator, no aches & pains in the joints as everything is nicely supported by the water. It’s a perfect switch off and reset from a busy week at work, the only things to think about are staying alive & keeping an eye on my buddy, the rest is just a sight-seeing trip.
I’m glad I took the BSAC route to diving as not only did it introduce me to a local club & a pool of dive buddies that I regularly dive with, but I liken the course to taking driving lessons one a week for 6 months or taking all of them in a week before your test, yes you can pass either way but how much sinks in in a weeks constricted course?
If you’re thinking of starting diving it’s never too late, the club I’m in ranges widely in ages and there is always someone either at your ability or willing to take you under their wing until you’re ready to fly. If you’re in the North West anytime and want to learn I’ll point you to www.lunesdale.org as a good starting point.