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I’ve just come back from Tenerife (about two weeks ago), where I experienced what I can only describe as a truly magical time during my first ever scuba dive in the sea.
I feel fortunate I was taken to Tabaiba, a beautiful place located on the east coast of Tenerife for my scuba diving baptism. The baptism (el bautizo, as Spanish locals call it) is your introduction to the water, not in a pool but into the beautiful clear blue waters of the Atlantic. The name baptism obviously has religious connotations and, as I was being explained the safety procedures by Manolo (the Scuba Diving Club El Pejín's owner who has over 30 years diving experience), I muttered a prayer to myself even though I soon learned that I had no need to worry.
After going through all the safety procedures and answering all the questions we had, I was then given my equipment. I’ll be honest: the most strenuous part of the day was putting on my wet suit. If you are slightly bigger than the average, I suggest you turn up an hour earlier. Once kitted out with weights, bottle, mask, etc., we were ready for our walk to the beach (not as easy as it sounds when your carrying enough weight to sink 90 kilos).
Picture below: Three instructors (Manolo on the left) and three first-time divers (I’m the one next to Manolo)
My heart was racing as we entered the water because I was so nervous and excited at the same time. While my instructor (Manolo) fitted my flippers, he kept saying ‘breathe normally and relax’ and so I did, surprisingly easy. It was then when the true wonder of the experience began.
We entered the water in the shallows and I was guided down by Manolo. His hand always on my back and his hand signals confirming that I was ok at all times. After about 2 minutes, I was lost in tranquil world of blue. The thoughts and stresses dissolved into the water and my deep subconscious. Shoals of fish swimming in front in all colours… It was truly amazing. The feeling of weightlessness was wonderful, like flying underwater. We moved deeper and deeper encountering more marine life than I had ever seen before. Then in front of us the dim shadow, unrecognisable at first but, as we swam closer, the sunken boat appeared resting in its final place. We were now at a depth of around 25 meters, swimming around the boat. It was surreal.
Picture below: my girlfriend during her scuba diving baptism with Ricardo, her instructor.
The resident trumpet fish patrolling the bow and guarding its home. It was spooky to look into the cabin of a once working boat. My mind wandered imagining the captain standing on the bridge. Okay, it wasn’t Titanic but for a first time diver, a truly fantastic experience, something I’ll never forget. After leaving the boat behind, we headed towards a rock face. As I looked up, I could see the legs of swimmers high above me. It was still so quiet… just the sound of the bubbles from my breathing, deep below in that tranquil world where all my thoughts and worries evaporated. Gradually, we came up to the surface and into the lovely afternoon sunlight. We climbed the steps and walked back to the club. My adventure was over, but I have not stopped smiling since.
Manolo and his staff are both relaxing and calming while thorough in their safety checks. I was very lucky to be invited back to do this all again before I left and I can’t wait until I take the one star course next year.
If you are thinking of diving in Tenerife, make sure you do it in the beautiful Tabaiba as you will then enjoy an adventure and experience you will never forget. What I did forget was to take my Marmite with me for an underwater photo. The locals however, enjoyed their own adventure when I introduced them to Marmite ;-)