PADI Day 3 - I didnt drown today & Marc is a fish!

Trip Start May 10, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Sunday, October 2, 2011

So here we are PADI day 3, I am now behind by one dive due to yesterday. Marc heads off with Jack to continue where we left off – absolutely gutted we weren't doing it together but Marc is the opposite from me in the water he is amazing and has such confidence and I most certainly didn’t want to hold him back.

So I met Steve from USA, he was much older than Jack and he sat and listened to what happened and to my fears and assured me that we could go over things much slower and help my practice my mask fear – he explained loads to me, different ways to do the mask and took the time to let me breath out my nose under water with no mask (this was something completely new to me) but if I concentrated hard I could do it and not breathe in through my nose and choke!  It seems ridiculous that I can’t work out a simple task how of to breathe underwater but my panic takes over and I struggle to think straight.

We get kitted up and head back to the 2m platform where I spend considerable time with my face in the water with no mask, mask on mask off, half fill mask – I did it all much more slowly than yesterday and in the end I felt much better doing it – It was by no means second nature but I still had to concentrate like mad to breathe out my mouth then nose haha but I was at least back in the water. 

Marc the water baby

We then went down to 4m where I did another mask fill twice and a regulator swap in the mouth, these are easy –I felt much better about it all.   It was time for tea..just as I popped up I saw Marcs worried wee face looking at me he shouted "are you ok" I was like yeah yeah I did my mask woo hoo, what did you see on your dive?  He just looked at my bless him he didn’t want to say …..”I saw 2 huge turtles” he said poor him he felt terrible that he was off doing so great but I didn’t care I had cleared my mask and was going on a dive after tea.  He then said “I have been offered Sipadan tomorrow” my poor baby he felt terrible for saying it.  Sipadan is THE most prestigious place to dive out here and only 120 permits are given each day, you can see over 100 sharks in just one dive, huge schools of giant barracuda and not only that the island is tiny and as it reaches the outer reef of the island it literally drops off to 600m into the deep dark ocean.  We had both been on the waitlist but his instructor Jack had said he was a natural in the water and somehow they found Marc a permit.  There was only one though and I was gutted but I knew I was lucky if I made it through the course never mind be able to dive Sipadan, it has strong currents also.   I soooo wanted to see the sharks but if anyone deserved to be there it was Marc, I have seen reef sharks before and Marc isn’t the biggest fan of sharks so it will be amazing for him.  I was so happy for him my wee water baby – he felt terrible for me but I didn’t mind I had cleared my mask today woo hoo.

After tea it was now time for some fun – we changed our tanks for new air and then Marc headed off on the boat to another dive site – he was going off the boat backward roll James bond style – I couldn’t even think about that I don’t jump off boats never mind backward roll off it !!

Steve took me diving down to 12m along the coral reef.  Again it was sunny and clear visibility is about 13m too – it was amazing we seen 2 more smaller turtles swimming about us its soo cool to look up and see them above you in the clear ocean, an octopus in its hole, a crocodile fish, fosters barracuda, clown fish (nemo) and loads more stuff – so many different coloured corals and starfish he was great at pointing stuff out.  It was great we were under for 49mins then at the end he knelt me down in the sand again and asked me if I wanted to do my mask fill again.  I looked at my gauge I was at 6m, same as I was yesterday I was back to where we left off the day before in the course.   I started breathing too quick but got it back under control I felt panic & fear again– I knew I didn’t have to do it, he wasn’t forcing anything it was purely my choice.  I had a wee word with myself – “come on Amanda you can do this you have done it loads this morning” there is an urge that you just need to get to the surface but I had learnt the hard way no matter what I wasn’t doing that again and I was biting on that regulator so hard my jaws were killing me – I wasn’t pulling that out again.  So after a few mins of calming myself I filled my mask, breathed through my mouth while it was full then calmly’ish blew through my nose to clear it – and then again to make sure.  I opened my eyes and I could see Steve smiling back at me waiting to high five me – woo hoo I did it.  Thank fook… it was time to surface – we got to the top and I was delighted I did it.  I had been for a dive saw loads more cool things and done my mask again – as it turns out since I did the mask again it meant I could progress onto the next part of the course – lucky we had booked in a lazy day at the end of it as my PADI was going to take me 4 days to do and also it meant Marc could go to Sipadan – there must be a min of 18 hours since your last dive and the time you fly due to the pressure so you have to be careful – lucky for us it was ok.

James Bond Style Entry!
We had our lunch then it was time for our next dive – this time we left on a boat, Marc too and a few other people – we headed out about 10 mins and this time I was going to have to roll backwards off the boat James Bond style eeeeeek – we were close to the reef but this time there was no jetty it truly felt like we were in the middle of the sea.  I got on my gear but by this point the tiny boat was rocking so much I got sea sick and all I wanted to do was get off the fooking boat so when it came time for me to roll back off the boat I didn’t even think twice.  Finally I was in the water – I lay back staring at the sky trying to fight the sickness, all I could think was I just ate lunch I don’t want to spew in a regulator, this time I was going to 18m my max depth and not only that I had to do another mask fill at 6m – I could feel the panic set in again & the waves were so bad it wasn’t helping.  Steve said look down there is a turtle, I looked in and it was vast, but there on the rock was a MASSIVE turtle I can’t believe how huge they are.  I also noticed however how much deeper it was there, darker than before and less visibility EEEEEEEEEEEK.   Eventually we got down and I knelt for my mask test after some more talking to myself I did it. Great lets get diving I was exhausted after the days events. 

18m is pretty dam deep

The other divers had went off to do their thing, we started making our way along the reef going deeper- continually having to stop to clear my right ear it’s a nightmare, the pressure is intense the further down you go you can feel the ocean pressing on you, we were getting pretty deep and all I wanted to do was get to the surface, on my right looking up was this HUGE wall of reef that seemed to never end, the surface was miles away and the wall of reef just emphasised how deep we were (now at 18m) to my left was a small slope of sand and then nothing but blackness as it led out to the deep dark sea – it was utterly overwhelming.  Now I know the sea is big but when you’re down there with nothing but a regulator making you breathe and if you bolted to the surface now you could risk the bends it was fooking scary.  I could only just glance up at the reef the sheer height of it to the surface was freaking me out. 

Steve was great still pointing stuff out to me checking me all the time but I was constantly talking to myself I knew I had to dive at this depth to pass the course so it was “oo amanda look at the pretty yellow fish”  ooo look at the lovely coloured coral” it honestly took all my strength to contain myself, the distraction of coral and fish were no fun all I could think of was how deep I was – we saw other divers that must have been Marc, Steve asked if I wanted to go over but I couldn’t I had to concentrate so hard on breathing haha – then slowly we made our way up the reef and at parts I relaxed but I was just so exhausted mentally I couldn’t process it all in my head.  We eventually surfaced and I gasped the air – again Marc was there on the boat shouting over are you ok.  I really feel for him he loves it but I am just a worry to him after what I did the other day I get told constantly from him NEVER TAKE OUT YOUR REGULATOR he is the best, I only wish I could be as calm in the water as him. 

Marcs chat with a giant Grouper Fish

So while I am having my worst nightmare at 18m, Marc however comes across this giant Grouper fish it was easily 1m long and very fat haha,   they are apparently normally very shy but it came right over to Marc who then got into some cross legged yoga position and floated staring right back at this HUGE fish – its about feet long !!!!!!!  Only Marc eh – it’s amazing I am so jealous I think it’s gonna take a heck of a lot of dives before I feel that comfortable.  He loved the whole dive he is totally at peace he loves the sense of weightlessness and investigating all the coral and fishes hehe.

So we get back on the boat and head back - I need the whole evening to process what my poor brain has seen and done haha, Marc however now has his PADI Certification - he got a nice wee cheer from everyone on the boat it was lovely.  Here's hoping I can finish mine tomorrow.

The photos are obviously not me but Steve let me use his own ones he has taken before to show you the types of things we seen - amazing quality eh.

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