Although I was snorkelling and duck diving even free diving ever since I can remember I did not start scuba diving until later well later. I started diving in 2004 when I was in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) I used to work there at the time and diving was pretty much the only thing I could do in my free time. Sometimes I think that this is why I went there!!!
The whole thing started at my interview for the job. I went there fairly stressed and to be honest not sure that I wanted to do it anyway!!! I mean at the time I didn’t knew where Jeddah was on the map!!!
Anyway there I am and we are discussing about work and what I am expected to do and other boring stuff and at some point after we covered all the “important” bits I find myself asking:
– Right, that sounds OK. My only question is: “what do I do there on my spare time?”
to which I got a great response!!!
– “well, there is a reef outside Jeddah… you can go diving there.”
I do not know if anyone else would buy it, but it definitely did the trick for me!!!
I was thinking
So a month later I find myself in (very) sunny Jeddah in Saudi Arabia with my friends Alex and Theo looking for a diving centre. Now that was not difficult
there are loads around Tahlia and after a quick look around we decided to go with Dream Divers (purely based on the fact that
going to Desert Divers sounded wrong!!!) and Captain Hatim as an instructor. Strangely enough Hatim was not al all a Captain but everyone called him Captain Hatim so we went along…
Now I will skip the boring part of the classroom training for my PADI Open Water certificate and go straight to Confined Water Dive 1. Yes I know what is so exciting about a swimming pool dive??? Nothing really BUT I loved it!!! The fact that I was in the water and under water and breathing felt sooo good!!!
The second surprise of the day was that I could clear my mask underwater!? See as a snorkeller and a free diver clearing the mask was never a problem. I was always at the surface and if I wanted to clear my mask all I had to do was take it off, wash it and put it back on!!! Now that was not going to work underwater was it?
And I knew that and as silly as that sounds it kept me up until late in the morning!!!
Anyway the first day was over and although we didn’t make it to the open water I knew that that was it!
A few weeks later I finished my course and I was ready to go Diving.
Primarily it was easy and shallow diving. A fair bit of reef and boat diving. I did two dives with Theo and that was awesome!!!
the feeling of going diving without a school, not for training just me and my mate going for a dive felt and still feels:
G R E A T
Sadly that did not last for long. I got seconded to Jubail an small industrial city on the Persian Golf. Diving was restricted to summer months because neither the boats went out during the “winter” nor the locals. And to be fair diving in the Persian golf is not that exciting. So I left! I mean why would I stay there if I could not dive??? In the mean time of course I had completed my PADI Advanced Open Water course with Halid and I had got arrested by the Saudi Coast Guard for diving illegally at an out of bounds area (Nice!!!)