First Dive Fail

So after not being allowed in the water for a week now because of my stupid ‘epilepsy’ I was finally allowed to do my refresher and I was soooo excited. Had a good sleep, was keen and arrived an hour & a half early, signed things that needed to be signed and got all my equipment together. Sounds good so far right?

Got on the boat (which I also found exciting) and set of to Lapus to find some shallowish water (4/5m) so I could practise some of the skills that I haven’t done in over a year now and get back into the swing of things. But so far my luck on this island hasn’t been the best, although I have been trying to stay positive through it all.

I put my scuba unit on and took a giant stride into the ocean (finally!!), checked my buoyancy, all okay, started descending but kept floating up. I got given an extra kg of weight to help me go down but my pretty much new BCD clearly didn’t want me to do well. The weights kept falling out, it kept inflating on its own, it just was not working and was really getting to me. It also didn’t help that my mask kept fogging up every 2 mins so I couldnt even see what I was doing for the whole 5 minutes I ended up underwater. Yep, 5 fricking minutes. So we had to abort the dive and head back to the boat, where I just sat looking out to sea with quite a few tears rolling down my face as I was so excited to finally be doing what I came here for but nope. Oh, and then my hat blew off into the sea on the way back 😐. It’s almost like the days I feel most positive the most goes wrong.

I know there’s always a solution but I’ve had so many hurdles thrown at me already and it’s only been a week…so it does get to me sometimes, especially when everyone else is going on a dive or 2 or 3 and all I can do it watch, wait and hear about all the cool things they saw. But I guess challenges are what makes you stronger as a person, even though times can be tough. Hopefully the refresher tomorrow will go better than today and I can finally get into the whole scuba things again.

On a lighter note, we did an island/beach clean yesterday which was very successful even though it was shocking at the amount we collected in only an hour, but every little helps and we plan on doing this at least once a week♻️

Malapascua; Settling in and Exploring

Finally on paradise island. Had an interesting drive from the hotel to port Maya, saw so much stuff, but they drive so crazy, not caring about road signs or if we’re heading into oncoming traffic. I honestly thought we were going to run over kids x4, run over animals x6 and crash definitely more than 10 times but made it!

So when I first arrived I was literally fine allll day, met everyone, found my room, sorted equipement etc, but then we all went for dinner and it just hit me. I felt really sick and couldnt eat, upset that anxiety has to creep up when there was no reason for it too, I was perfectly happy. I guess subconciously there was a lot to get used to like the climate, new people, new place etc. I felt quite embarrassed because my first time meeting these people and I randomly start crying in the middle of dinner.

The main thing going through my mind being ‘how can I be a diving instructor if I’m weak or need time out for anxiety reasons’, but I took some deep breaths and told a couple of people how I was feeling which was comforting and they helped me stay positive.

Despite not being able to dive at the moment (more in next post), I have had a couple of days to get used to the island, explore & meet the locals. I am absoloutely gutted that I’m unable to dive but things don’t always go to plan, sometimes you just have to take life at your own pace.

However, this island is too beautiful to not make the most of, so here are some photos, with more blogs to come soon.

Made it, but Anxiety is a Bitch

So you’re probably thinking ‘what the hell is wrong with her, she’s going to do her dream, whats there to be anxious about?’. But that’s the thing, what was there to be anxious about? Nothing really but it still crept in, trying to get in the way.

I felt fine during the lead up, everyones been so supportive, especially my family & boyfriend, I didn’t even cry at the airport (wow), just had jelly legs. I’ve been looking forward to this for ages, hardly felt scared, well as scared as anyone would be and I was proud of myself, but no, anxiety has to show it’s face in situations where theres nothing to be worried about. I’m not afraid to admit I’m scared, I was actually confused like ‘why do I feel okay, this isn’t like me?’, but after being on the 1st flight for a bit and thinking I’ve supressed it, I started getting an uncomfortable feeling in my tummy, almost like being empty from hunger, but it was the anxiety creeping in; Probably didn’t help that I had to move seats on the plane cause a creepy man clearly didn’t understand personal space.

I just had so many unnecessary thoughts going through my head

  • ‘crap I’m so far away from my loved ones’
  • ‘what if I can’t do it’
  • ‘what if I’m not strong enough’
  • ‘what if I don’t get my connected flight’
  • ‘what if I overheat and faint’
  • ‘what if I stress over nothing’ (how ironic)

I’d even be anxious about things that don’t even relate to the situation like ‘Why didn’t I get a better grade in my dissertation’ or ‘Why can’t I just reply to a simple message’. All these ‘what if’s’ that don’t even matter.

I normally go by these steps when I’m encountering situations where anxiety pops up:

  1. Stay Calm
  2. Don’t Rush
  3. Breathe
  4. Eat
  5. Drink
  6. Stay Cool

I feel staying cool is a big one, as when you’re flustered its hard to focus, especially for me anyway. I don’t feel like anxiety is something you can completely cure, but just control (may differ for some of you).

Sorry if this post isn’t all high spirits, but anxiety is all part of travelling/day to day life and needs to be spoken about. Talking/writing actually does help, as much as I used to hate it.

But anyway, I actually teared up (happy tears obvs) when the pilot said ‘we will be arriving in Cebu in 10 mins’. Can’t believe I’m actually here now; here’s a couple of birds eye shots and a pretty swimming pool.

You’re not going to master your whole life in a day, so just relax. Master that day then keep doing that everyday”

Packing for a Dive Trip

So the time is very near and I’m pretty sure I have everything squeezed into my dive bag, but anyway, here is a packing list; For anyone planning a diving trip/travel trip (and for my own peace of mind so I made sure I didn’t forget anything..)

Scuba Gear

  • Mask & Snorkel
  • Wetsuits/(Drysuit)
  • Hood/Gloves
  • Fins, Monofin & Booties
  • BCD
  • Regulator with Gauge
  • De-fog
  • Dive Knife (cutting device)
  • Dive Computer & Tables
  • Dive Light
  • Compass
  • Gear Bag
  • SMB
  • Pocket Mask
  • Slates & Pencil
  • eRDPml
  • Weights/Weight Belt (If not provided)
  • Cylinder (If not provided)
  • Cue Cards (DM, IDC)
  • Log Books
  • Manuals
  • Certification cards

Photography Equipment

  • Camera(s)
  • Lens’
  • Housing (& Housing Cleaner)
  • Spare O-rings
  • Camera Bag
  • Memory Cards
  • Batteries
  • Cables/Chargers
  • Strobes
  • Hardrive

Clothing & Toiletries

  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Underwear
  • Dresses
  • Warm Clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Swimwear
  • Flip Flops
  • Trainers
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach & Body Towel
  • Femanine Hygeine
  • Hair Care Products
  • Body Wash
  • Motion Sickness Pills
  • Medications & Pain relievers
  • Bug Spray
  • Suncream (Reef Safe!)
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste

Miscellaneous

  • Passport/Visas
  • Boarding Passes
  • Identification Documents
  • Purse/Cards/Cash
  • Proof of Dive/Health Insurance
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Any Tickets or Reservation Information
  • Maps of Area
  • Binoculars
  • Books, Laptop, Camera
  • Diary/Journal
  • Chargers & Adaptors
  • Hangers for Wetsuits
  • Waterproof Bag for Personal Items
  • Waterbottle
  • First Aid Kit

Despite getting everything sorted, I’m starting to feel pretty nervous now. I know I’ve done similar before and this is what I want but that doesnt stop anxiety creeping in or the fact I’m going to miss my family and friends so much. My routines going from getting up at 5.30am to go and sit in an office for 8 hours to getting up at 5.30 to go dive with some sharks and although thats exciting stuff, change still scares me. But anyway, enough feeling sorry for myself, lets do this 💪🏼🙈🦈

I do believe it’s time for another adventure”

Preparation & (a harsh) Realisation

So as you know next month I’ll be travelling to the Phillipines, but as I’ve been trying to prepare and get ready I’ve come across some hurdles and harsh realisations over the past couple of months, the main one was possibly not being physically strong enough to make it through everything, but I’ve been determined to change this, I need too.

Health-wise, the last couple of months haven’t been my best; my weight and appetite dropped, effecting me physically and mentally, as well as getting in the way of work and my social life, such as having to leave wherever I am due to feeling weak. 4 months ago I could swim 30-35 lengths relatively easy, a month ago I was tired after 16 but I am slowly improving and I aim to get back up to 30-40 before I go.

My boyfriend said I can be lazy (which I agree with) and my dad has been worried about my strength, how I’ll need to be strong, and even about if I’ll go or not. Mums had the same worries and sometimes it’s been hard to make them believe me that my heart is in it, although I can see where they’re coming from; I’ll need to be able carry 12-15kg (of tank) on my back, swim 500m, drag people heavier than me, do minimum 2 dives a day and so much more. That’s not even including the 30-35kg of luggage I’ll have as well. So yes, even though it’s hard for me to hear I do understand.

Since this realisation I’ve been working on these things to make a positive change to my body. I know I only have a few weeks left now, but I need to do this for me and I have been. I’ve started swimming more again, whether it’s on a day off or after work, I aim to do a minimum of 50 lengths a week, but I will also keep pushing myself (this did flop last week and a half as I’ve had the flu). I’ve started to use arm weights too, doing a minimum of 30 curls a day with 2.5kg weights,  giving me more lean muscle than bulky. So I’m hoping these things, as well as sorting out my diet, will help me build up strength, weight and stamina by the time I go. I have already noticed a difference but really need to push myself more over the next 2 weeks.

However, it’s not just my health I have to prepare before I go. I’ve never been to the Phillipines so I need to do a lot of research, planning and learning about the area I’ll be staying in and about the dive courses I’ll be taking part in (I have to do exams and I hate exams, may as well get learning early!). Mum has been amazing with helping me plan some adventures, some of which we will be doing together with dad and I cant wait for that. Swimming with sharks (Whale and Thresher), visiting Kawasan Falls and visiting Bohol are definitely going to be highlights and I can’t wait to share other posts and photos with you guys while exploring these beautiful places.

My diving research mostly consists of going over previous course books, (re)learning as much as I can before starting Divemaster. I’ve also been watching a lot of technique videos and doing a lot of research about the courses so I know (mostly) what I’m in for. While researching I’ve noticed that I need to know and remember LOADS of hand signals, so I invested in the Scuba Diving Hand Signals book by Lars Behnke, which is unbelievably helpful. Here are some of my favourite’s I’ve learnt so far:

top left to bottom right: Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Love, Seahorse, Rabbitfish, White Shark.

It has been a tough few months trying to sort myself out and will continue to be physically demanding, but it will all be worth it in the end 🙂

If I can’t scuba then what’s this all been about, What have I been working towards?”  – Creed Bratton

First Post: From Dreams to Reality

Here’s the first post! (I’ve never blogged before so please don’t judge me)

Being a Marine Biologist was always a dream of mine, but that dream was soon crushed by that one teacher who basically said I wasn’t smart enough to do triple science (triple science = biology A-level = marine biology at uni = marine biologist). So this got me down for a while, it’s all I wanted to do, I felt lost. This was until I stumbled across Falmouth University and saw the course Marine & Natural History Photography; everything I wanted to do without the pressure of science! Don’t get me wrong, science interests me, it’s just not my strong point.

In order to partake in the marine section of the course, I had to get my PADI Scuba Diving qualification; The best decision I’ve ever made. Diving brings me so much joy and peace. Exploring the underwater world is something I would highly recommend it to anyone; it supresses stress/anxiety and for someone who suffers with this, scuba diving is the ideal sport.

 

(few pics from our 2nd year trip to Marsa Alam, Egypt)

So in February (next month), I will be travelling to the small island of Malapascua, Phillipines, to complete my Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor qualifications, with some extra things along the way. I will be doing this with Thresher Shark Divers who have been incredibley helpful before I’ve even arrived. I cannot wait to finally take the first step towards a career I’ve been working towards for a long time, and for anyone who knows me, I can’t wait to get out of the city and be by the ocean!

Life’s too short to wait for the ‘right moment’ to do what you want; all it takes is self belief!

Of course I’m scared, as well as nervous (but a good nervous?). I’m going to be under a lot of pressure, physically and mentally, but this is what I’ve been working and training for and it’s about time my dreams become a reality.

I’m setting up this blog as I embark on one of my biggest adventures yet, to become an OWSI (open water scuba instructor), to share my experiences along the way, to share tips for ‘future’ divers and to share my memories and photos with you. I will also be indulging into my passions and interest for all things the ocean, scuba diving and travelling.

I hope you enjoy 💙