At an event organized by Bidong Undersea Buddy (BUBU), I got to take my first Open Water Scuba Diver's License under SDI! I'm just really glad I got to experience diving for the first time!! It was really scary the first time I put on the scuba gear - it weighed a ton!! - and then fear started to sink in - hard. The first time underwater took some getting used to as you solely depend on the oxygen tank to breathe. I don't have an underwater camera, if I find any pics floating around FB, I'll post them up!!
There were two diving instructors, En. Nadzim and En. Baharim. I was under En. Nadzim and if you're wondering, he's this guy...
He was really patient with all of us and was so funny that it made class all the more enjoyable!! The Dive Master, En. Faizal, was really cool too, eventhough he told me I was a bit blur underwater and proceeded to call me 'Blur' for the rest of the diving lesson. Hahahahhaha.... But he seriously helped me a lot with my non-existent buoyancy skills.
En. Baharim was good too (he taught us some uh, interesting hand signals), I heard, though once when I wandered into his group by mistake, he bellowed,"SEJAK BILA KAMU DALAM GROUP SAYA??!", to my absolute mortification. He was ok with me after that, though I fear I'm being called blur by more than one person now... I dunno how I get myself into these kind of situations...
For the SDI license, we had to take 4 training dives to areas deeper than 10 m. They place more emphasis on practical training than theory but we had night theory classes too and a few dives at 2 m first where we had to learn skills like, partial flooded mask clearing, full flooded mask clearing, taking off the mask underwater, regulator recovery, regulator assistance from buddy, equalization and other stuff.
Diving underwater in 10 m is really awesome and I got to see lots of fishes (what I could see of them anyway, I wasn't wearing any kind of corrective lenses and my degree is above 400.) Apparently there were angelfishes, clown fishes (which I never get to spot), razor fishes and cardinal fishes. And Aizat, my buddy, picked up this gross looking sea cucumber and scared the daylights out of me. I did see a school of fish leap over the sea which was something gorgeous to look at, however fleeting...
Anyway, I thought I was doing pretty well till we had to do the free descent at Bidong's Underwater Gallery (about 16 m)... I went down a little too fast and didn't show the right hand signal to my instructor as he helped me go down. My outer membrane of my eardrum burst due to pressure and now I am not allowed to dive for 3-4 months. I went to see the doctor on hand because I had a bad feeling about my ear, and he said I definitely burst it. :-( My instructor said even if I wanted to dive, he wasn't going to let me. *feeling put-out* Shit happens.
I still got my license though, even though I didn't take the compass skill test but we practised on land already, and my dad would have a fit if I didn't get my license. Haha and after that happened everyone was really nice to me but a few made fun of my temporary hearing impairment by mouthing silent words (throws dirty looks at HEPA guy, Aizat and En. Nadzim). My ear drums work fine, thanks! It's just that one side feels rather odd. I am sooo going to the clinic tomorrow.
I was one of two people who didn't equalize properly and spoiled our eardrums. The first was Kak Siti Mariam's hubby who was there for the Leisure Dive. Encik Nadzim said accidents can happen even after you get your license so we should all EQUALIZE PROPERLY. Words all scuba-divers should live by. It's no joke, I tell you.
Last minute photo-taking was fun. People are so much less stuffier than they are on campus at the islands... Love how people just let go here!!! xD
I'm really glad I got to take my license at Bidong. It is mainly a research island, and has a colourful Vietnamese refugees history. There's turtles (I missed out on that dive), a place called Christmas Trees (or something like that) as well as the Underwater Gallery. I hope my next dive will be even better! Dae bak!
For more info on diving at Bidong Island, you can visit BUBU's Facebook group. Kthxbai.
P.S. I really hope my ear will be alright. Would really hate to miss out on more diving... :-( (Update: Doc said I should be alright after a couple of months and gave me ear drops.)
Pic credit: Aizat and other peeps on FB