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Tuesday
May232017

Tenerife  Diving

I arrived in Tenerife excited to begin my volunteer experience with Frontier. As a newly qualified marine biologist, what could possibly be better than spending almost every day out at sea looking for whales and dolphins. Nothing. Except perhaps finding a dive centre. Diving is, to me, the best thing in the world. Literally nothing can compare to submerging yourself in the underwater world. See the ray, BE the ray (if you ever find yourself diving with an over enthusiastic red headed girl who follows sting rays with her arms outstretched coping their movement then you’ll understand).

 Of course, there was the fact that I had only been diving for a month, having just completed my Open Water course in the Maldives. After asking around, and probably talking WAY too much about diving (sorry guys!) I found Ocean Dreams Tenerife. A quick email and I was set up to start my Advanced Open Water that weekend. The advanced course consists of 5 adventure dives, which must include a deep dive and a navigation dive. Excellent, I was taking the plunge (pun intended) in a matter of days, or so I thought… One phone call later and I’m being thrown in at the deep end (literally). Dive number 1 was to take place that night. Yes, Night. A night dive. My 6th dive ever. At night. So yeah, freaking out was the most natural reaction.

Kitted up, and in possession of the all-important torch, we descended into the very dark depths. Huge shout out to Rense my instructor because I survived, and even had a few laughs and a beer back at the surface.

The next day we headed to the north of the island to do both deep and wreck diving. The hardest part of these were putting on the wetsuit, still damp from use the night before. It took blood sweat and tears, but like the early mornings, the long drives and tough walks with scuba kit on your back, once you’re 30 metres deep, it’s all worthwhile. Diving on a wreck is a coolest thing you can imagine. Trust me, when I did my first course I was accompanied by mantas, whale sharks and green sea turtles, but this sunken ship was something entirely different. It was also the deepest dive I’ve done, at 35 metres. Quiet, peaceful, any worries forgotten. With day 2 successfully completed, I left with a huge smile on my face (and a lot of homework for the next day).

All that I had to do next was navigation and buoyancy dives, and then I was qualified. Easy right? You would think. We started with buoyancy, which for me has 1 rule. Almost like fight club, the first rule is don’t talk about it. Seriously though, if you don’t mention it I’m excellent and it’s easily done naturally with some thought and visualization (yes I know how that sounds) when needed. Ask me to focus entirely on that during a dive in very shallow water? Well the result is not all fun and games. Its more “Excuse me, I’m stuck upside down with my tank pressed into the sand, can you help?”. Try saying that underwater.

So, after a shameful exit from the water without making eye contact with the others it was time for navigation. Visual references? Easy. Compass? Well… let’s just say that after 20 minutes when I finally realised how they work, it wasn’t just me that was overly excited. The dive itself went great and there was only one instance where my sense of direction and mental maths failed leading us to be “in the middle of the (insert profanity) Atlantic” as Rense so accurately put it. Thankfully, it was only the wrong side of the harbour. No harm done.

That was me, I was qualified. As much as I’d seemed to have stumbled my way through it, I was no worse than anyone else new to diving. I dive with them every weekend, and they are always accommodating and eager to help me further my diving even more through more qualifications or just diving for the fun of it. We all now agree not to speak about buoyancy, and that maybe I should use a compass on land some more. A huge thanks to everyone at Ocean Dreams; Rense, Sylvia, David and Ariel especially for all their help. I can honestly recommend diving with them, whether you’re a dive master or trying it for the first time. While you go to submerse yourself in the underwater world, which has yet to disappoint me, there is always laughter and fun and new people to meet from all corners of the world. 

By Caitlin Allan - Tenerife Volunteer

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 70 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

See more from our volunteers #Frontiervolunteer

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