“This must be how asthmatic people feel like.”
“No you idiot, asthmatic people can’t breathe normally.”
“But I can’t breathe normally.”
“Of course you can you dimwit, that’s what the regulator is for.“
“Nah, I quit, I don’t want to do this. I am not a fish.”
“Who says anything about becoming a fish? This is scuba diving, what did you expect? Now stop being melodramatic and get your as* back there.”
“No buts, we don’t have all day. Don’t leave this swimming pool without knowing how to do this.”
It’s the script of my inner dialogue from all the struggling that I endured in the swimming pool, trying to learn how to scuba dive. It’s not that there was no supply of air, but not being to breathe through the nose and to force myself to do it all through the mouth was nerve wracking. Then somewhere along the way, it suddenly clicked like a puzzle that suddenly fits. And from that moment I began to really enjoy myself. It was my first scuba diving experience and it all happened in the swimming pool of the Selah Garden Hotel.
What is Try-Dive?
Try-dive is exactly how it is named, a quick lesson to try scuba diving. Also known as Discovery Diving, it is best for people who want to try scuba diving without the requirement involved when taking a certification course. The good news is you don’t have to go far away from the city to do this because Selah Garden Hotel is offering try-dive with Dive RAID Philippines. [Read: Selah Garden Hotel: Discover this Urban Oasis in the Heart of Pasay City]
DiveRAID is a dive center-based training agency. RAID stands for Rebreather Association of International Divers and they have dive centers all over the world including the one in Anilao, Batangas. For our diving lesson we were trained by DiveRAID instructors Eric Yee and Christoferou Chan.
Before we went to the water, the instructors told us a little background about DiveRAID and prepped us on what we should do and expect while diving. They explained the purpose and use of scuba diving equipment, the two skills that we need to learn in the water, the hand signals, among others. We were then divided into two groups; I was in the first batch with Jon and Jerny.
If you don’t have a wetsuit, I suggest that you wear a swimsuit or like in my case a rashguard. The rest of the equipment was provided by DiveRAID and they are as follows:
- Submersible pressure gauge: The gas indicator of the tank
- Buoyancy compensator (BC): If you don’t know how to swim, don’t worry, the buoyancy compensator or the vest that you will wear for scuba diving would make you float. BC also makes carrying the tank easier.
- Fins/Flippers: Worn in the feet and aid movement through the water.
- Tank: The source of air so you can breathe underwater.
- Mask & snorkel: Is used so you can see underwater.
- Regulator: This is what you use to breathe the air from the tank.
Scuba Diving 101
The most enjoyable, albeit also the most challenging part of it all is of course when we finally went into the water to apply everything that the instructors told us. My past snorkeling experience should have lessened the learning effort—it didn’t. In fact it meant no sh*t as I flailed about, making a fool of myself. And so in the midst of a struggle that in my estimation lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes, I was ready to quit. My chest hurt, I’ve swallowed and snorted pool water, coughed and wheezed, and called out all the saints and angels. Eric, one of our diver instructors seemed to have thought I was worth the effort so he didn’t give up on me.
The fact that the water was freezing also made things harder than it already is. I gave up in the middle of the tree-top adventures and I regret it. So this time, despite that voice in my head that was telling me to give up, I pushed through and completed it.
I’m sure glad that I did, because when I finally got the hang of it, I honestly found it quite enjoyable that I didn’t want to leave the water. Pretty much what happened when I was first learning to breathe during snorkeling, that’s how I eventually learned to breathe through the regulator. I followed Eric’s advice all throughout, and in the process, I was able to learn two skills; how to take out the water when it gets inside the mask and how to take out the water when it gets through the mouth. I did them a few times before I was able to learn. Just like everything else in life, if you keep going, if you just keep your patience, you will everything learn it.
So my advice to you is to definitely try scuba diving if you haven’t yet. I swear it is one of the most memorable and fun experiences you will have in your life. I am now thinking of taking a full course and I want to try to dive in the open sea. Diving in the swimming pool is fun, but it’s not really scuba diving until we take it to the ocean and be with the sea creatures right?
If you are interested to take Try-Dive at Selah Garden Hotel, call them up or send them an email. Refer to the contact information below this post. Rate is PHP 2,700 (USD 54.19) per session and if you want a full Try-Dive Course, the rate is PHP 18,000 (USD 361.26) with 4 dives; 2 sessions in the swimming pool and 2 sessions in the open water.
Some photos are courtesy of RAID Philippines
Selah Garden Hotel
2715 Park Ave. San Rafael,
Telephone nos: +632 511-1331/+639 508-9141