Dive into this blog to enter a whole new world and learn all about Claire's experience of scuba diving.
First taste of diving
My first experience of scuba diving was when I was 17. It took place during an open day in front of a local sports shop in France where I am from. Various clubs from all the local areas were there to promote their club to possible students.
I had never tried scuba diving before but my sister had done it and liked it, so I decided to give it a try. Little did I know I would become a real scuba diver and discover a passion for diving and encountering a whole new world. I remember going into an inflatable pool in a car park outside the shop. Joined by my mum and sister I had my very first try dive right there in that car park.
When I got there, I was handed a wet suit and prepared for my dive with my BCD (the inflatable jacket used to float and go down connected to the air). When I got into the pool I kept doing the wrong sign; I put thumps up to say I was alright. Unfortunately this meant ascending (going to the surface)! The right sign is like the emoji for perfect if that helps anyone know what I mean. At the end of my try dive I was proud to get my certificate.
"At first I was so scared I kept bolting to the surface but after a while I gained confidence and was more comfortable."
Second try dive – more like the real thing
When I say the real thing I mean doing a proper try dive in the sea which I finally did during the summer holidays. My parents asked my sister and I if we wanted to do a try dive and of course we said yes. I remember going to the diving school to ask more questions about diving; the cost, weather and wave dependency. The clearest memory I have from my first real dive is putting on my wetsuit (which was a bit of a struggle).
I remember being with trainees and that our diving instructors explained how the equipment worked. When we got into the water I was attached to my instructor so that he could direct me where to go and as we swam deeper and deeper into the sea I was getting more terrified. After all, diving is a dangerous sport and that would put some people off, but not me. Although it was a shallow dive, I entered a new world of unknown life that I had never seen before. At first I was so scared I kept bolting to the surface but after a while I gained confidence and was more comfortable. I also received a diving log book to record my future dives.
Diving with Edinburgh Napier University
Once I got back to Edinburgh for my final year of my undergraduate course, I discovered there was a sub-aqua diving club society which I had never known existed. At the society open day I gave my email and matriculation number and asked questions about the club as I had already decided I wanted to keep up diving. I remember the presentation about the club and about the sport itself and that regular trips where organised to the west coast of Scotland. Seeing photos taken underwater during dives in Scotland really surprised me as I didn’t expect to see there was so much exotic wildlife out there. The club held a taster session for new members to come along to. At first I was hesitant to go but I quickly changed my mind and have loved it ever since.
Third try dive
I went to the pool for my final try dive here in Edinburgh. I found the club a great way to socialise and I have met loads of new friends through it, even people I can now call my best friends. It was also good to go to the pub after sessions and chat with the instructors more about diving.
As I went to more sessions, I got the chance to learn new skills and work in a team as you need to do a buddy check. You always need to dive with a buddy as diving on your own can be risky. This is why you need to do theory as a well as practical training. When I first started to do the practical skills, I was scared and kept bolting to the surface and feeling quite stressed underwater. But after a while I managed to overcome my fear and take my mask off underwater. I still feel apprehensive taking off my regulator (the bit that allows me to breathe underwater) but hopefully with more training I will be able to do this soon.
The diving club enables members to be qualified divers with the organisation Scottish Sub Aqua Club (scotsac) that was founded in 1953. It is the oldest amateur diving club where you can easily become a branch diver. In order to do this you need to do a course in both theory and practical skills. Theory classes usually take place before diving sessions. At the end of the semester, members have to sit a theory test in order to be a qualified diver. This qualification allows you to dive in the open water, not just in Scotland but all over the world!
I recently dived in Spain and it was such an amazing experience.
Diving opened opportunities for me to travel to Malta two years ago. It was a great experience that I will never forget. I got to see lots of different species, jellyfish and beautiful coral reef that I could only have imagined… it was truly magical. A fellow diver from the society and I both did the theory for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) course which was really quite tough. I did manage to finish it and I am now a member of scotsac, where I can hopefully get my qualification this year.
"I got to see lots of different species, jellyfish and beautiful coral reef that I could only have imagined… it was truly magical."