To the uninitiated, open water diving might seem unattainable – something only the experts can do. But believe it or not, you only need to invest a long weekend and a modest sum of money to swim away with a licence that allows you to dive for up to 18 meters deep.
All it took was five simple e-learning classes at the price of Dhs570 followed by five dives in the pool and four dives in the open waters at the diving centre and I was equipped to explore a new world.
NOMAD Ocean Adventures diving centre is located in Musandam Oman and also in Dibba Fujairah, opposite Dibba Rock. One of the most popular diving sites in UAE, the latter is where I got my open water diving licence.
Albert Einstein once said “it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”.
Me and Albert aren’t often on the same wavelength, but I have to say I agree with everyone’s favourite theoretical physicist on this one – I was fortunate to have a very organised and talented instructor.
Diving might be a recreational activity but to enjoy the depths, you must be disciplined, organised, experienced and also in possession of the right gear. My journey underwater started on land, and on line, with the e-learning course.
This course consists of five online presentations followed each by multiple choice questions. Once all questions are answered, students get redirected to the following session.
The lectures are easy and fun, combining information that everyone should know about diving with visuals that make you desperate to get started for real. In order to dive in the ocean, one has to first venture into a smaller version, commonly known as the pool.
After finishing three confined dives in the pool, students can then go for their first try in the ocean. The confined dives are simple and aimed to teach diving students basic skills.
I didn’t have to spend much time on those ones as my instructor’s no-nonsense technique made it easy for me to understand and repeat. Then, we headed to the ocean.
My first dive was at Dibba Rock. I could feel the warm water and see the sun rays under as I descend to a very shallow spot to begin my first diving class in the ocean.
How cool is that: a class with anemonefish swimming around you! After covering some basic skills, we started our dive. On that first dive we went as deep as 5.2m, by my last dive (Dive 4) my computer was reading 15.2m.
What a satisfying ending to a fantastic course.