Back in April, I introduced you to the talented diver and photographer, Önder Diktas.
Also back in April, I had no intention of ever having another go at diving after a rather disastrous attempt back in 2015.
However, because I am a weak willed individual, within one hour of meeting Önder and witnessing his passion for diving I was persuaded to sign up for another go, along with a bunch of fellow novices.
After a few cancellations due to little things like lockdowns, we finally took the plunge (excuse the pun) in mid-June.
Here’s How It Went
The Fethiye Diving Centre boat and crew left Fethiye harbour with a bunch of nervous, highly-strung adults at 9.30 am on a sunny Thursday morning.
After introductions were made one of the team went through what each piece of equipment was for, usually with the sign off of ‘but don’t worry about that, we will do it for you.’
The basic story was ‘we will do the important stuff, you just need to remember to keep breathing’.
In We Go
Once we reached a secluded bay the first few nervous souls, including myself, got kitted out in our wetsuits – an outfit that not even a catwalk model could carry off that well. This was when the first attempt at keeping breathing came into play – damn those things are snug.
After that came the flippers which, once on, make you walk like you’ve either stood on chewing gum or are trying to give John Cleese a run for his money in his Ministry of Funny Walks campaign.
Anyway, soon it was my turn to get in the water. I had a qualified diving instructor all to myself, as did the others, which reassured me I was in the best hands.
After a bit of small talk, you know; ‘do you come here often?’, that sort of thing, I was hitched up to my tank and instructed on what to do next.
Unsurprisingly that was to get my head under water and remember to breathe.
Then he instructed me to hold my nose in order to unblock my ears. An instruction he gave many times although more often than not my ears where ok.
Then we sunk a little deeper. All the time he held my hand. On one occasion he went to let go but my vice like grip persuaded him otherwise. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’d been for an x-ray on his hand at the local hospital afterwards.
After I’d got comfortable with being under water he took me slightly lower so I could kneel down and then gave me some bread to feed the fishes.
To do this he had to let go of my hand.
And breathe, panic, where’s he gone, oh there he is, stop panicking, and breathe, ohh look at all these little fishes, aren’t they pretty, and breathe.
After that I returned to the boat, feeling very smug that I’d managed not to drown myself, de-robed and passed the baton to the next trainee.
After we’d all had a go we were served lunch – the usual chicken and spaghetti combo found on many dive boats.
Once dinner had gone down it was time for me to go again. Yeah I’ve got this, I’ll be fine.
We went a different way round this time and I actually relaxed enough to take a good look at my surroundings. Fascinating.
Arghhh….my mask is full of water, panic, I’m drowning…
Ok that’s a slight, alright huge, exaggeration. About a millimetre of water had snuck in my mask but it wasn’t a problem. I just signalled to go up and up we went. Sure, I could have emptied it underwater like we’d been shown but I was too much of a wimp to do that.
I asked my dive buddy, who I’m sure may be the offspring of a member of ZZ Top, if I could finish and he gave me two options; to go back to the boat with my head above the water or below it. I came over all brave and decided to finish off the lesson with dignity.
All too soon my dive experience was over.
Time For a Pat on the Back
After everyone else had completed their second dive we were given time to relax, have an ice cream or a pancake and regale our friends with our stories of bravery under the water and how we’d seen fish THIS big.
Then we headed back to the harbour around 5pm, said goodbye to our wonderful crew, and left the boat clutching our phones that contained photographic evidence of our thrilling day.
Will I Do It Again?
Well actually I’ve already got another diving day out booked. Will it be something I take up as a hobby? Probably not but it was an experience to remember. Has my dive buddy regained the feeling in his hand? I doubt it.
Want To Try It?
If you fancy giving diving a go you can contact Önder via his website: https://fethiyedivingcentre.com/
And don’t forget…all you have to do is breathe.