Sitting on a little private beach waiting for the fastboat to take me to Gili Air. The last couple of days were of the best ones of my life, with very high highs and also some lows. I will try and put it into words but I know it won’t be easy.
Arriving at Gili T, I didn’t think too much of it, cause it’s actually just one big main road surrounded by soooo many bars, diver shops, restaurants.. but if you walk down just a little bit further, you can easily find the most beautiful spots on the island with crystal blue water and the whitest sand. Started to like the place a bit more already.
But I came here to dive, so I went to the Blue Marlin Dive Shop where they welcomed me with open arms. The first evening I had to watch some video’s to learn the dive theory and got to know an Irish guy Leo, and an American girl, Alexa who would be in my dive team.
The following day I met my dive instructor, Seb, who was from France originally, a really funny and easygoing guy who put you at ease instantly. The diving course started with getting to know the diving gear and some excercises in the pool. To that point everything was ok. In the afternoon we already had to go in the sea. Was stressing a bit about it because I didn’t feel I was ready. That first breath under water in the ocean, can’t even describe it.
Whilst going down in the water you have to think of so many things : equalize (make sure you adjust to the pressure in your ears and sinuses) push the release air button, be sure to NEVER hold your breathe etc. But I was doing it and I felt quite ok. You dive in a pair. So you’re supposed to be with two all the time, in case something would happen. At a certain point my dive instructor (who was my buddy at that time) had to leave me for a little while because the other two were having a problem at the surface. So there I was, under water, alone, on my very first dive in the ocean ever. And I started freaking out so badly. Water ran into my mouth, my mask, everywhere. Didn’t know what to do. Luckily Seb came down not much longer after so he could take me to the surface and calm me down. The rest of the dive went by quite ok but I was stressing so much that I couldn’t enjoy it.
The next day a girl from Chili, Paola joined our team and we had a very long pool session with hard exercises under water, like taking off your mask, your tank, and putting it on again. I did it but it was hard and since I knew I also would have to do that in the ocean I lost all courage. I didn’t feel like I could do it and was thinking about quitting. So we had lunch and I thought about it, but since I’m not a quitter I continued the course and I mastered everything that day and the day after (where we also had to do two ocean dives) And I am SO happy that I finished it!! We saw giant turtles, a shark, many beautiful fish (and also Nemo!! 🙂 ), …
At our last dive Alfred Minnaar came with us, a very talented underwater photographer and diver , and took some really awesome pictures of us! (check out his instagram)
At night we wanted to celebrate that we were now certificated open water divers, and so we DID!! We first got some drinks in a beach restaurant and after we went dancing for hours in a club and met so many people from all over the world! It was truly amazing and still feel happy just thinking about it.