I didn’t go to Gili Trawangan with the goal of getting my Open Water Scuba Certification. In fact, that was something I had decided was very firmly on my Not Going To Do list. The idea of thousands of pounds of salt water pressing down on my lungs really wasn’t something I was too keen on.
Originally, our group was five people: three future divers and two beach bums. I, as stated above, was planning on laying in the sunshine for five days. However, two days before we left, my fellow beach dweller decided she didn’t want to go, and I mentally prepared myself for some afternoons alone and on the beach. Yoga, snorkling, beach reading and bike riding were all on my Going To Do list.
And then, we arrived on the island. The woman who helped my friends fill out their paperwork was really friendly, and as I watched the steady stream of divers walking around in wetsuits, hauling around airtanks and floating in the training pool, I wanted to dive.
I shouldn’t be surprised, because this urge is normal for my personality. I love learning new things, I love challenges with finite endings, and I love the water. Still, I was hesitant, and I signed up for the intro course: a pool session and an open water dive. “You will love it!” the Aussie instructor told me as she handed me my medical waiver, which reminded me that my dive shop was not responsible for my possible death.
And, even though I was the only one who freaked out at the bottom of the pool during our first submersion (hyperventilation), I really did like diving. After the first open water dive, I was in for the long haul, totally hooked on the bottom-of-the-ocean feeling.
So, come Monday night, my three friends and I completed our PADI Open Water Dive Certification. I only got three wrong on my final written exam (95%!), we had completed four ocean dives (two at 15m and two at 18m), sucessfully completed all of our skills, seen three white tipped sharks, and all felt pretty cool.