In 2014 I went on holiday to Fuerteventura with my then girlfriend. The start of the holiday wasn’t great as we were put in a different hotel to that which we had paid for. The food was unbelievably bad, and we had noisy neighbours arguing until the early hours of the morning.
Despite being the windy island, it was incredibly hot and we had a great time overall. One of the more memorable experiences was our first time scuba diving. It was something I nearly did in Mexico in 2007 but my Asthma prohibited me passing the medical. Fortunately, it got better as I got older and I was able to take part this time. We found the local dive shop and signed up for their class. I can’t quite remember how much it was but I’m sure it was around the €70 mark. It was a 3-stage class, with an equipment overview on dry land, a technique session in a local hotel pool and finally a speedboat trip just outside the bay to dive 8m and swim around for 45 minutes. The entire thing was about 6 hours.
Most of the instructors were British, there on a working vacation. They showed us the different parts of the equipment; how we check the oxygen levels, counterbalancing our weight and what to do if we’re sea sick in the regulator (eww). We tried on the equipment, tested our weight belts and had a few hand signals drilled into our memory.
The next step was going over to the local hotel pool to test out the basics. We would have to show competency before being allowed into the ocean.
Finally, we were on a speedboat out of the bay. I felt like James Bond, zipping through the waves. We stopped just outside, near the rocks where it was a good depth for beginners. The idea was to roll back off the boat into the ocean, set ourselves up and slowly descend following a rope down to the bottom. At this point, I think I got impatient because I wasn’t going down as quick as I wanted. I sunk like a stone and didn’t have a chance for my ears to adjust. The pressure was immense – the worst I have ever felt it. Thankfully, after 1 minute and some sharp breaths into the regulator, everything was better and I could finally appreciate where I was. It was an entirely new world, with the sun shining down and a feeling of weightlessness.
The next 45 minutes were just mind-blowing. Our team leader showed us around the area, introducing us to some native creatures. I held a sea hare, which releases a purple fluid when disturbed. We also saw a couple of sea spiders and swam with the fish.
Once our oxygen started to get low, we headed back up to the boat. Back on land, we showered and sat down with the instructors and a drink. They showed some photos of their experiences and offered further certification courses. Unfortunately we had to leave in a few days so we never had the chance but it was definitely something I was considering.
Thankfully the instructors took a bunch of photos of our experience, including some of those included in this post. It was a great experience and I certainly will be doing it again.