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travelbold.com » Learn to SCUBA in Bequia!

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Learn to SCUBA in Bequia!

 

Dive Bequia!

 

SCUBA instructor Nick suits up in Bequia.

SCUBA instructor Nick suits up in Bequia.

 

 

 

It was something I’d always wanted to do, but my new classmate Wayne couldn’t say the same.  Raised in rural England, far from any lakes or public pools, swimming was an unfamiliar and frightening activity for him.  The resort dive course we were both about to take – an introduction to SCUBA taught by the pros at Dive Bequia in the beautiful Grenadine islands might have sounded like the adventure of a lifetime to me, but for Wayne, the prospect was positively nightmarish.

Our instructor, Nick Baxter, a sun-tanned young Jacques Cousteau from South Africa, exuded intelligence and confidence.

“I’ll teach you what you need to know in the shallow water,” he said, wading into the waves, “and then we’ll go out in the boat so you can really give it a try.  You’ll go down 20 or 30 feet on this first dive.”

Wayne paled.

His girlfriend, watching from the shore, hands on hips, was determined.  An underwater photographer, she was keen for Wayne to learn to dive so he could become her assistant.  The pressure was soon on – in more ways than one.

Pressure is a huge issue in diving. Learning to deal properly with its effects as you sink beneath the surface and rise again can literally mean the difference between life and death.  Nick carefully explained the use of our air tanks, regulators, weight belts and personal buoyancy devices, vests into which air is pumped or released.

“And what’s the number one rule of diving?” he asked and answered. “Don’t hold your breath!”

From the look on Wayne’s face, I think he was fairly certain our heads would explode if we did.

Nick paid particular attention to the discussion of emergency air sharing – and so did I, breathing being one of my favorite pastimes.  We learned that if, during a dive, your partner’s air supply should be cut off, you can share, using an auxiliary regulator clipped to your belt.  We practiced in the shallow water, pulling the regulators off our belts and passing them to one another.

We were ready for deeper water.

Wayne’s girlfriend joined us for the boat ride out to the reef as he slapped on sun block, looking as if he was on his way to the electric chair.

Love is, however, a powerful motivator. Stoically suited up in mask, snorkel, flippers, buoyancy vest, weight belt and tank, Wayne hung his butt over the edge of the boat, rolled backward and sank like a stone.

I followed suit.

There was a brief moment of wondering if the whole breathing thing was going to work, but then I remembered the number one rule and sucked in a huge gulp of air from my regulator.  I was on my way.

Wayne wasn’t so lucky. Nick released me to explore the reef while he helped Wayne to adjust to the underwater world. 

Because we were just 25 to 30 feet below the surface, the sunlight illuminated the brilliant seascape. I was entranced and had been happily swishing around for ten minutes when I remembered Nick’s admonition to keep my partner in sight.  Guiltily, I turned towards Wayne, only to see that his face was an icy shade of blue.  Kicking frantically, I was just about to stuff my extra regulator into poor Wayne’s mouth, a strange thing happened. 

He rubbed his face.

A huge swath of blue disappeared.

The sun block so carefully applied on the boat was of the kiddy variety, designed to change color when applied. So much for my daring under-sea rescue!

Well-run and carefully executed, the Dive Bequia experience was the highlight of my visit to the Grenadines and my goal is to return and complete a certification course. 

And if Wayne can find a different color of sunblock, he’s welcome to join me.

 

 

Posted in Adventure and Escapes 8 years, 7 months ago at 11:48 pm.

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