The Basic B*tch Complete Guide to PADI

  1. Feel like a Charlie’s angel in the wet suite

There’s something about a uniform that makes you feel like a complete badass. Dive centres are packed full people so chilled out and laid back that one more verse of Bob Marley would cause their heart rate to slow down to a life-threatening pace. You’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t admit you wish you were that relaxed, therefore it’s an honour to put on their uniform. The sexy wet suit. Extra sexy if you half unzip it to show a bit of skin, complete with freshly salted locks. You feel like Demi Moore strutting out of the sea in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. And you know what girl, you are so Demi. WORK IT GURL.

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2.Have a panic attack on your first attempt of breathing underwater with the apparatus

Okay, this is so weird. Luckily they don’t just throw you into the ocean straight away, you practice in a pool. It doesn’t mean that the very real fear of drowning disappears. Luckily the dreamy scuba instructor takes this as a great opportunity to hold you with his ex-army, totally-manly and comforting arms. He slowly takes you under water whilst maintaining intense eye contact and helps you control your breathing. In fact, if you fancy your diving instructor I highly recommend you fake a panic attack whilst trying to use the apparatus under water for the first time. One of the sexiest moments of my life. *shivers*

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  1. Cheat on the basic science test

Like, come on. You didn’t travel all the way to the other side of the world to do some stupid GCSE level science. It’s not THAT important to understand how you’re able to breathe under water and why you shouldn’t go to certain depths under water / get on a plane / ascend up the water too quickly. Bla bla bla, too many rules. Whatever. Just know: you can’t do those things. You don’t NEED to know why. Copy the clever medical students answer next to you. You have pretty fishies to go look at.

  1. Be an annoying hyper mess on the boat ride out to your first dive 

Let’s be honest, this is so exciting. You’re finally out of the pool. You spent the whole of yesterday in the dive center doing bloody laps of the pool to prove that you’re a strong enough swimmer, the day before doing stupid science lessons. The boat is heading out to turtle bay, it’s going to be like bloody Finding Nemo down there, this is great. All you want to do is get down there but the instructors are getting all serious and military about things; trying to make sure you remember all the prompts, sign language and what to do in an emergency. but Also you want to flirt with the Australian under water photographer. You know, to ensure he gets you at your best angle. Duh.

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5.‘MY EARS HURT LIKE REALLLYYYY BAD’

No one has ever felt pain like this. This can’t be normal. This is like that scene in Alien, there is a literal alien inside of me, except it’s not trying to escape my chest, it’s in my ears. I’ve lived my whole life with tiny aliens in my ears and they can’t deal with this water pressure and they are literally killing me. I’m going to die. OMG OMG. THIS IS THE END. Tell my sister she still can’t have my favourite top and that I want to be buried with my iPhone (and a charger). Oh wait, just swallow, ascend a bit, now descend slower. Oh yeah no, this is bless. Easy.10550884_10204243502989329_3261168193814542638_n

  1. Ignore all the rules and touch a turtle

It is so beautiful down here. It’s the most magical thing I have ever seen. I would like to move down here. Can I buy an under-water house? I wish I was a mermaid. I have a small tear in my eye at how awesome this is. The fish are all so beautiful, swimming solo or shoaling. This ecosystem should be respected and observed from a distance. But that turtle is literally swimming up straight under me. He looks pretty mellow. I wonder what his shell feels like? The instructor is looking the other way, maybe just one gentle poke? Oh yeah. That was satisfying AF.

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  1. Classic under water floating Buddha shot

Here’s your time to shine, there’s a photographer down here documenting your first deep water dive. Do something original. Try and look cool. Turn my hands into a fake gun? Peace sign? Try and look intelligent? Ah fuck it, I’m doing the Buddha thing.

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  1. Become emerged in the dive school culture

Next thing you know, you’re spending all your time in the dive centre, going for after-dive drinks with the people who work there. Choosing to eat there at night. Going on dives every day. Going on NIGHT DIVES (so scary and fun and cool). You planned to move on to your next travelling destination after you qualify but there’s something so beautiful and thrilling about diving that you find yourself forming bonds with all the people who work there, who taught you how to do this amazing thing and who share a love for it.

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9.Have a lusty romance with your scuba instructor

Well this is hardly a shock is it? Oh Gorgeous George I will never forget your classic line: “the stars look even more beautiful from out in the ocean”. How we didn’t realize how sharp the rocks would be under our feet and, like a gentleman, you carried me in your arms back to the beach, causing your own feet to be cut up to such a state that you hobbled for a couple days. If your name is George, you’re from London and you worked at the Blue Marlin Dive School in Gili T, the summer of 2014, call me. I miss you.

10. Declare how you’re going to become a scuba instructor 

If you’re in a beautiful part of the world, with amazing people, seeing amazing underwater life, you’re going to want to that every day for the rest of your days.

Everyone declares the same thing.

I never took the plunge and actually went for it.

Maybe next year…

God I love Scuba.

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