03 November 2005

Real Fish - Diving Part 2

Today we met Nemo, who moved to Dubai to live here incognito after fame got too much for him in Australia.

But really, we did our first open water dive today, nowhere exotic, only on Jumeirah Public beach, but what amazing things we saw: Sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, sea urchins and the famous Nemo (or another clown fish, it was hard to tell). Diving for the first time in the sea is a bit scary, but exhilarating at the same time. The surface is suddenly a lot further away than it was in the training pool (as in 6 meters, although we will be qualified to dive to 30 meters eventually) and there is a vast expanse of water all around. But we are down there and still able to breathe, which is a cool feeling. There is a lot more going on down there than is visible on the surface, all kinds of fish and invertebrate life, all just an arm's length away.

The least enjoyable bit was the fact that we had to lug all our heavy kit down to the beach and back again - not the easiest when you're wearing a wet suit and you're loaded with bit and pieces and 10 kg of extra weights.

After the dive at the beach, and the pool dive to practice swimming without a mask and keeping neutrally buoyant (i.e. not floating upwards or dropping to the ocean floor, but hovering just above the ground and controlling your diving level by breathing - one of the trickiest things to learn so you don't go off in unwanted directions while distracted by a pretty fish) we went on a shopping spree. It's better to dive with your own equipment, although it is possible to rent everything from the dive centre. But we decided to get at least the main pieces, a wet suit, a BCD (buoyancy control device - kind of like a life vest with pockets that the tank and other kit is attached to), mask and fins. That way we know it fits and we can look after it and ensure nothing is broken. So now when we travel to hot countries on diving holidays we will be carrying as much luggage as on a two week skying trip to Norway in winter. Oh goody!

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