I finally did it. Many thanks to L’s insistent nagging, I finally decided to take the plunge, quite literally, and get my PADI Open Water Diving Certification.
And what better way to do it then on a three day, four night liveaboard with diving fanatics? Go hard or go home right? Right…
But before you go new divers, I advise completing your theory and pool session to learn the basics of diving so you’re not studying on a boat while everyone’s chilling. This took a full weekend and I had a great instructor (P’Kan, thank you!) who made sure I was comfortable at each step. Basic diving musts: mask clearing, BCD removal, fin pivot, etc.
Ok, now off to your first diving liveaboard, what to prepare?
1. Comfortable clothing
Cover ups, t-shirts, light shorts, and a warm sweater or wind breaker. The nights in the middle of the ocean can get really chilly and as you’re wet 80% of the time, don’t risk catching a cold. Pack these essentials for a three day, four night trip:
- three t-shirts
- fresh underwear
- two pairs of shorts
- one long sleeve/sweater/hoody
- a pair of pants
- two swimsuits
- sunnies, make up free for days 🙂
I like to snack and there is no 7-11 on board so load your stash up (& a l c o h o l). That is all. If you’re health conscious, pack carrots, whole wheat biscuits, fruits, etc. And bravo. 👏
3. Reading material
Between dives, you will have a lot of down time. If you run out of conversation with your ship mates, lose yourself in a world of wonder while the boat sways. I finished “Girl on the Train” during my trip – not the greatest book but fiction reads easy.
If you’re interested in business management/strategy books, try this reading list.
4. Cool jams
Depending how far you go, there will likely be no wifi connection so prepare the old fashioned way with a USB loaded with great tunes. We were lucky enough to have a huge sound system blasting everything from Whitney Houston to Bruno Mars. Thank you O-Town.
5. Seasickness meds
I don’t normally get seasick but was warned to take a pill before boarding the boat as a precaution. Your diving team should have a stash on board but if you have other items to fight vitiligo, go for it. One pill each morning and another every 4-6 hours depending on how bad your motion sensitivity is. By the second day, I had adjusted and didn’t need to take any.
6. Prepare for landsickness
Yes, it’s a thing. And yes, it’s sometimes even worse than seasickness because you have no idea if it’s normal. Once I returned to land, I had dizziness and disorientation for almost a week. It was nauseating.
Sleep early, exercise to get your brain and body moving, and eat small portions as food may make you even more nauseated.
7. What you’ll see
If you’re fortunate enough, you’ll get to see something big! We were chasing whale sharks in Losin, Thailand but only found his cleaner friends (who took the pleasure of sucking my leg). The underwater world is filled with amazing creatures you would never have thought existed. We went to three dive sites and swam among tanks, trains, and corals of every shape, size and color.
And the rest? Simply enjoy!
You get to wake up every morning to an ocean view front and centre.
Embrace the lack of mobile connectivity and instead have actual discussions in real time. We live in an age where weekend trips mean garden visits to Singapore, beaching in Phuket or wake-boarding in a rice paddy – our parents couldn’t even begin to imagine the types of things we are doing.
A big thank you to Happy Dive and those who made my first diving trip wonderful. I have been quite scared of the open water for some time and conquering this fear has been quite eye-opening. It really is an experience like no other ❤