This is the story of Jasmin our Eco Queens first diving experience.
I never intended on learning to dive, I was travelling around Thailand for 5 weeks in the summer holidays during my second year of university and had planned to go to Koh Tao but had already decided against diving as it wasn’t in my budget.
Whilst on the boat from mainland Thailand to Koh Tao some of the people I met on the journey down from Bangkok persuaded me to do it with them, we got off the boat, had a couple of hours to sleep and it was straight into the theory! Wow, I thought, this is a lot to take in plus I’m SO tired, I’m not so sure I want to do this. After the first theory session was over I collapsed on my bed to continue with the homework given to me for that evening. I knew the next day was going to be a long one with more theory in the morning and our first water session in the afternoon, so it was an early night for me. The next morning theory went by easily, I had finally got my head around it, the next step was the confined session, this I was really nervous about, all the equipment seemed very daunting and heavy, I really wasn’t sure that diving was for me. We hopped in the pool and put the equipment on in the shallows of the pool. Our instructor the briefly explained the upcoming skills and told us to put our masks on our faces and regulator in our mouths and that we were going to all kneel down on the bottom and get comfortable with breathing through the regulator. The first minute of breathing underwater was the most adrenaline fuelled 60 seconds of my life, I did not enjoy it at first, I stood up out of the water and began to cry, the Dive Master Trainee (DMT) who was assisting our course calmed me down and asked if I wanted to give it another go, I’m not one to give up at the first hurdle so agreed to try again, this time the DMT calmy took me down and allowed me to take my time to get accustomed to the new sensation, after a couple of minutes I signalled that I was OK and it was straight into the skills, given the fact that the sensation of breathing under water for the first time had caused me such distress, everyone myself included expected me to have issues with the skills but I breezed through it and by the end of the session I was having the time of my life, I couldn’t wait for the open water dives the next day!
The following day we got on the boat which droves us to the dive site, we set up our gear, had a dive briefing, got into our equipment, buddy checked and were off! We descended nice and slowly down the buoyline and all I could think was ‘OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS INCREDIBLE!’ Within the first 5 minutes of the dive I was hooked, by the end of the Open Water Course I knew I wanted to be a professional diver. For me diving was a form of relaxation, even in the first dives when I was getting used to the equipment and trying not to swim with my arms and trying to control my buoyancy I found it so soothing.
After my trip to Thailand I decided to finish university and save up some money and come back to Koh Tao and train to be a Dive Master, and that is what I did, I was lucky enough to be offered a job at Master Divers combining two of my greatest passions; diving and marine conservation and I haven’t looked back since!