I have just passed my PADI Open Water, which now allows me to dive with my friends. No big deal thousands of people take and pass this every week, but for me it was a big deal, because I am a complete coward and a dedicated worrier.
The reason for taking up diving is very personal and covered in another blog, but the story of the course can be shared. Once I decided I wanted to do it, I talked to my many friends, and yes there are lots but four were very special in me actually going through with it.
D is a diving instructor in his spare time, and he talked to me a lot about what was involved. I trust him 100% and would so loved him to have been my instructor, but he lives in Chicago and I am in the UK, so logistically not very practical. But I did want him to be part of it, and in February this year when I was staying with D and his family, he took me for a Discover Diving session in his local pool. Where I got the opportunity to try it. I was very excited, and couldn't wait to get into the water, but as soon as I started breathing underwater, i wanted to come back to the surface, breath deeply and then try again. Would another instructor be as patient as D? He put up with my panic but not long later I was in the deep end, playing with water toys and the breathing was natural.
That weekend D and more of my friends were going diving in some mines, previously I would have been content to go along and watch but now I had tried it, I wanted to be in with them, and not being qualified that would not be possible, so I stayed away.
A really close friend L dives a lot, and in the UK, and she kept telling me I could do it. She tells me every weekend how much fun it is. I think she took up diving when she started seeing her boyfriend, many years ago to spend more time with him. She is always encouraging me.
One of my best friends M, dives whenever he can, and has a love for ice diving, I am not sure that is high on my list, but agian he is very supportive and when I told him this was my challenge he promised we will all go diving together one day. Now I really look forward to that.
The final friend I want to menton is S, he set himself the same challenge this year but for a completly different reason. He knows how I felt about it, and just a few weeks ago when we met up he told me all about the experience he had doing his Open Water in Hawaii.
My intention was not to tell D and M, they are very special friends and I wanted it to be a surprise for them