By Tina King…
After such a hectic couple of weeks I wondered what I could contribute to CyprusScene readers and thought why not introduce you all to the world of Scuba Diving?
Like many of you, I have always done a lot of snorkelling during my holidays and thoroughly enjoyed all the differing species of fish and fauna to be found in various parts of the world. Every resort I went to has a PADI diving school and on many occasions I thought about trying scuba diving, but I always had the usual reasons not to do it, too busy sightseeing, didn’t want to spend my well earned holiday in a classroom.
In May 2017 I was chatting to some friends, Nick and John who are very experienced scuba divers, and they encouraged me to consider taking a ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ course. Having thought about it I contacted Cyprus Underwater Explorers based at Manolya Hotel in Lapta, to ask about a course and what it entailed.
I will always remember 28th May 2017, as the day I fell in love with scuba diving. I was very nervous and not sure what to expect, but was made to feel at ease instantly by Ed Sezener and Carol Hall-Smith on arriving at the diving centre. I had the morning’s plans discussed with me and was made a cup of coffee and invited to watch short DVD introducing scuba diving.
First and foremost is safety, your personal diving assessment, personal fitness and health, every element was covered in depth prior to introducing me to my diving gear. All looked a bit scary, felt even more scary when suited and booted as they say! No need to worry as all your training is in the swimming pool, and whilst I felt very cumbersome walking towards the pool, once in and quite oddly to me, it all sort of felt very light and comfortable. I don’t quite know what I expected.
All training is conducted in the shallow end so if at any time you’re not sure of anything you can just stand up, talk things through especially if you didn’t understand or got a bit scared. It took me quite a few goes to get the hang of clearing my mask, and Ed was really patient and helped me get it right.
I was with a small team of 4 and both Carol and Ed coached us through the introduction to breathing through our regulator, our diving kit, and swimming underwater safely.
Once you have successfully completed your introduction to diving, and only when you all feel confident enough, you are all set to try your first dive in the sea.
I have never looked back from that first day. On the 30th August 2017 I started my Open Water Course and passed on the 1st September 2017. Then I started to actually learn to dive with my L plates….
I had hoped to progress with my diving but I suffered an injury to my leg that put me out of action for a while, but through 2018 I started back diving and on the 5th of June 2019 started on my ‘Advanced Open Water Diver’ course.
In actual fact it was a bit of a blessing that I had a leg injury as now having a few dives under my belt I felt scared but very excited and very ready to embrace the challenge of completing deeper dives.
What an experience, on passing the course with Amie and Harriet, we made a 28 meter dive and were blessed on this day with so many amazing fish, they must have known we were celebrating! Unbeknown to us we had an even bigger reason to remember our day’s adventure. On returning to the boat, we spotted a fin darting around the boat and quite quickly realised it was a dolphin, it has to be the most amazing experience watching this beautiful creature dart in and around the boat with us for some time.
The key factor that drove me to complete my Advanced accreditation is that I have always wanted to see the Zenobia, a wreck that is considered to be the 10th best wreck dive in the world and it’s here in Larnaca. Amie and Harriet who I passed with both wanted to celebrate passing their Advanced as well by going to the Zenobia so a group of 7 of us was planned.
The day was so well organised by Ed, we all met at the Manolya Hotel PADI dive centre for 06:00am, all kit packed and ready to go. On arriving in Larnaca, we joined our boat and got all our equipment ready. I got a bit nervous at the dive site, but we had all had our briefing and I knew I was with 4 extremely qualified and experienced divers, Ed was very aware and gave all 3 of us newbies every confidence and we started our descent. It was a bit murky on the way down but soon this amazing wreck started to show herself and it has to be the best experience.
Take a look at the Zenobia on line there are many photos available, we had two dives and to be honest I need another two dives as there is so much to see!
If you live here in TRNC, or are coming over for a holiday and want to take the plunge and discover diving, contact Ed or Carol for an informal chat.
There’s a whole new world to explore, meet new people and join a really great community, I’ve made some really lovely new friends through diving. Be brave and give it a try!
To see footage of our encounter with the dolphin and other events go to Facebook, Cyprus Underwater Explorers. You can contact Ed or Carol directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +90 548 820 4715