This story is from a 13 years old Danish girl. Her parents have the Danish popular blog “traveling with kids” and her big passion is traveling and diving, something she wants to inspire other kids to do. Below you will find the story behind the first dive experience of a young girl and the journey to becoming a diver.
The first diving experience
It’s possible for children to do a PADI Junior Open Water Certification, which gives the possibilities to discover and explore the beautiful underwater world! In the following, you can read about my diving experiences, and why I think children should head for the water!
I have always respected the sea very much, but at the same time, I have also been terribly afraid of water. In 2016 we decided to go to the Maldives, and at that time I was 11 years old. It’s possible to do a PADI Junior Open Water Certification when you are 10 years old, so the plan was that my sister, Clara, my dad and I were going to do a PADI Open Water Diver course. I must admit; at the time I was really scared of sharks, so I had always said that I really wouldn’t go into any kind of water, and at the same time I didn’t know anything at all about diving, why I also felt extremely insecure.
We started out staying at Dharavandhoo, which is a small local island in the Maldives. The island had a very good diving center, and my dad tried to convince me to go diving, or at least give it a try. I still felt some kind of resistance, but he asked me to think about it, and if I felt insecure or afraid, I didn’t have to do it. Three minutes before Clara and my dad went down to the diving center, I decided to give it a chance, and luckily the instructors were really sweet and helpful. They did everything they could to make me understand everything, and they explained that it was not as dangerous as I imagined, which I really appreciated.
Getting PADI certified
We already had to go dive on the first day on the course, and because it was in the Maldives, there was a natural pool in the ocean, which meant that we didn’t have to dive in a normal swimming pool. Went in and jumped in the Ocean, and after 5 minutes I knew how to dive! I was really surprised that it wasn’t that difficult, and that in spite of all the heavy equipment I had to wear! Never felt SO happy in my entire life! Couldn’t stop smiling while I was under the water, so the water came into my mouth, but it didn’t matter; this was really something special!
I ended up doing my PADI junior Open Water Certificate in 4 days, and I think I’ve never looked so happy before. I am eternally grateful to my parents for the opportunities and experiences they have given and still are giving me. A year after visiting the Maldives, we went to Cuba, where we planned to do 2 dives. Unfortunately, I got sick just before we went into the Ocean, so I couldn’t dive.
On the other hand, it was ok, as I had a really scary experience in the water. I was burned by the Portuguese Man O’War (a poisonous kind of jellyfish) and I was sure I was going to die! Never have I experienced such pain before and felt electric. I was brought to the hospital, while I was screaming and in some kind of a shock. My dad was next to me, but he was also very scared because we had never heard about the Portuguese War O’Man, and didn’t really know how dangerous they were. Inside the hospital, there was a long queue, but my accident was considered seriously dangerous, and they had to treat me right away.
Afterward, I couldn’t go near the Ocean again – not even in Denmark, where I live, and where the Ocean is actually considered quite safe. After almost half a year I started training touching the water in Denmark, but still, I had to practice really hard because of my fear.
Overcoming my fears
In may 2018 I celebrated my confirmation, and I was a very lucky girl! My parents present was a trip to the Seychelles, which is a country I have always wanted to explore. Before we left to Seychelles, my parents bought a stinger-suit for my body and some kind of mask that could protect my head against the stingers – and possible the terrible and painful Portuguese Man O’War. The suit and mask were able to protect me from the poison, and that gave me the courage to try diving and swimming in the Indian Ocean again.
I was wearing my stinger-suit for the first 10 days because I had a feeling I was stung a bit from something in the Ocean. I was maybe played by fear, but I was not willing to take the chance on feeling that kind of pain again – nor do I wish for others! After a while, I felt safe and didn’t need the stinger-suit or mask anymore.
We dived twice while traveling to Seychelles, and it was just as amazing as when I was diving for the first time! The joy of diving is not diminished for me, no matter how much I dive, and that’s also what makes it an extraordinary thing. I can not really describe the feeling when diving, but the only thing you can hear while swimming around in the beautiful underwater world is your own breathing. At the same time, you can enjoy the amazing corals with all the colors, and enjoy stunning and colorful fish just in front of your face and fingers.
I think the reason why I have been afraid of diving is due to the fact, that we dive in different waters and surroundings every time we travel. That means that I don’t know the wildlife/species in the area, but the funny thing is still; as soon as I get under the water I’m indescribably happy and I just have to see it all – like sharks, manta rays and morays – even though I know they are dangerous. It’s hard to explain, but I feel so comfortable in a very special way when I’m underwater – still knowing that it is not without some kind of danger and that I have to behave responsibly.
The future is bright
Next summer we are traveling to the Maldives again, and of course, we have plans on going diving a few times. My dad seems to want us to take it a step further. His plans are that we do the Advanced Open Water course, which means we get the possibility to dive all the way down to 30 meters. However, again I have to think about the fact that diving to a depth of 30 meters is quite a challenge for me. Mostly because of my excitement regarding the dangerous sharks that I haven’t seen before! On the other hand; with the diving experiences I have had until now, I’m sure I will seize the opportunity, jump into the Ocean and enjoy having the chance meeting hundreds of hammerhead sharks at a time. And then try not to panic…
When people ask me what the best part of my life is, I always answer; when I dive and experience different parts of the world with my family. I don’t know if others understand – until they try for themselves. Diving has always been the highlight when visiting other countries, and I keep telling my parents, that I can do without fancy clothes and other things in my daily life – if only I get the possibility to dive and travel! The traveling and diving never lose the touch of magic – and at the same time, it gives me unforgettable experiences, that I can cherish for the rest of my life!
If you want to see a small movie from this summer, when my sister and I were diving in Seychelles, you are very welcome to press the video below. I am 13 years old and my sister is 16 years old. If you have children and teenagers who want to dive, you can show them the video, and perhaps it will give them the courage to try diving themselves.
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