My adventure with diving started long time ago, at the times holidays meant “all inclusive” for me. That time I went to Egypt and took the first dive. As total beginner I was not aware of safety rules or technique. They charged me 200$ for three dives, gave wetsuit with three times more holes than it should have and I even do not want to think about the quality of other equipment I was using. My first dives were not so deep, 6-8 meters I suppose, but diving instructor didn’t even mention it was necessary to equalize the pressure. Today when I think about that adventure I am literally shaking.
That’s life… We all learn (or at least should) from out mistakes. In my case there were many of them, unfortunately. I remember my underwater communication with the instructor in Egypt, when I tried to show him my head was about to explode. His only reaction was going up and he kept diving with me, showing beautiful “Nemos” around. I didn’t care about the beauty of underwater world. Actually the only sensation was pressure in my head and desire to leave the water.
That experience stayed with me for many years and left the memory of terrible headache only. I didn’t even think I could like diving or try it again and I started doing something totally opposite – climbing mountains each weekend, for the next few years.
After long time I still felt uncomfortable under the water and had lack of knowledge what went wrong in Egypt. However decided to give diving another chance, starting from snorkelling and going a little bit under the water. It didn’t work. Headache didn’t’ leave me. And one day I met Jan („Siquijor diving”). We were neighbours for about 2 years, spent lot of time together talking, having beer, few times travelling to other islands and he was the one who explained me what is happening under the water with human’s body and what I should do to get rid of my headache.
It was all about equalizing the pressure.
I tried many times trying to follow the instructions provided by all “underwater people”, but it never worked and was not easy at all. They used to tell me this was the problem in my head mainly, that it had nothing in common with my individual predispositions and tried to convince me I could manage and I could have lot of fun. I kept trying but I was afraid of pain and couldn’t make any step further. One more year in The Philippines had gone and I was still in the same place.
Teacher who has time for you
It was breakthrough moment whet I met another person – Brad, retired physician living on the island, who is diving and also practice freediving regularly.
He motivated me to try harder. It was one day, when with a group of people we went to the other side of the island for snorkelling and observing beautiful coral reefs. All of us stayed on the water surface watching corals from the distance of several meters but Brad dive deeper and observed everything from the “first line”. That was amazing!
And that was first time I thought I simply have to try the same. I had that in mind for many days, stayed up all nights watching movies and reading about human’s ears structure, trying to find an answer why I was not able to make it. If I were in Poland that time I would spend all days in the library and got PhD in the field of ears anatomy after short time.
I was focused on diving desire so much and snorkelled every day for the next month trying to equalize pressure in any possible way, fighting with myself.
After few months I was about to give up. During my holidays in Poland I bought professional snorkelling equipment and wanted to stop thinking about diving. Came back to Philippines and kept watching coral reefs from the water surface. It was nice, but it was not the same of course. Finally I understood I couldn‘t manage and stopped being focused on this so much. And suddenly…
Ha ha! I still remember that day very well. I was swimming alone, several meters from the shore and I spotted something interesting about 3-4 meters under the water. It was not so deep, so I decided to dive deeper. Plugged my nose with hand and gently unblocked my ears. AND IT WORKED! Pressure “had gone” and I hadn’t felt discomfort anymore. What a wonderful feeling!
Happy decided to spend under the water another 20 seconds, holding a stone not to swim out. That was only 20 seconds and I had an impression I spent whole ages there. For the first time I felt like the one watching coral reefs from the first line being so close to everything. Felt like an integral part of that underwater world. I didn’t realise from that level one could see everything much clearer.
I was trying to stay longer but that was too challenging. When I came back up simply started shout out with happiness. Seriously! Jan witnessed my enthusiastic reaction and was about jumping to the water because he thought I needed help. When I explained what happened to me, he laughed and replied: “It’s high time. Let’s start OWD now!”
Now it’s time to practice
Today, few months after my successful diving I’m trying to spend as much time in the water as possible. Unfortunately I haven’t had enough time to get OWD (Open Water Diver) license, but in fact that’s nothing urgent now. I have incredible pleasure from freediving. One hour per day makes me totally relaxed. I never go deeper than 10 meters when diving alone and never longer than 1 minute. At least 2 times per week I visit underwater world together with Brad and these days I can afford for more. I’m learning all the time trying to understand my body reactions. Not taking risk but defeating own weaknesses step by step.
The most important thing for me now is enjoying what I do and watching beautiful underwater life.