Women who Scuba Dive – my diving adventures

Learning how to scuba dive was always a bucket list event, and my bucket list location to do this was in Thailand. So in January of 2016, I flew from Sydney to Thailand, and made my way to the island of Koh Tao. What was supposed to be a one week stay ended up a three week scuba diving pilgrimage, where I fell in love with scuba diving, attaining both my PADI Open Water and my Advanced Open Water qualifications at Master Divers.

So in honour of PADI Women’s Dive Day on July 18th, here is a reflection of my experience of when I first learned to scuba dive, and my scuba diving adventures ever since.

MASTER DIVERS on Koh Tao, Thailand is one of the longest operating PADI dive centres, first opening in 1992. I initially booked onto the Open Water qualification, but ended up progressing onto the Advanced Open Water, and adding night diving, wreck diving and peak buoyancy training to my scuba diving repertoire.

My experience with Master Divers as a training centre was excellent. Communication prior to my arrival was frequent, my dive instructor David was professional, patient and friendly, and the staff helpful and welcoming.

CORAL CAY CONSERVATION is a marine conservation and scuba diving expedition organisation based in the United Kingdom. Keen to further develop my passion and love for both scuba diving and marine conservation, I lived on the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat in the Caribbean for one month in May of 2016. For six days a week, and two dives a day, I honed my buoyancy while learning about fish, invertebrates, impacts, and substrates. With a slate in one hand, our team counted and documented the marine life, in order to map the marine habitat that was damaged during the island’s volcanic eruptions in the mid 1990’s.

DIVE AGAINST DEBRIS is a Project AWARE campaign where marine debris is collected from the seafloor, and the data reported and documented to drive change and create solutions to stopping more of it in our oceans. While on Montserrat, our conservation team joined Charley and her dive team on their monthly dive for debris at Carr’s Bay. In an hour, we collected 16kg of debris, including 13 bags of plastic, 31 pieces of different plastic disposable cutlery, 32 pieces of other plastic fragments, 152 aluminum cans and 29 cans (food, juice or other).

ARABIAN SEAS are not just for sailing, but some of the best diving is found on the East Coast of the United Arab Emirates. While visiting my friend who lives in Ras Al Khaimah, I booked three recreational dives with Al Boom Diving in Fujairah, to Martini Rock, Sharm Rocks and the hole in the wall. The average water temperature in the month of May is 26 degrees celcius. As a diver with Al Boom, you get a discounted meal voucher to Le Meridien Al Aqah Resort next door, making this a perfect dive day out.

DIVE BUCKET LISTS will be my next travel and scuba diving venture, once the world recovers from Covid-19. I’ve only dived in Thailand, the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, on Santorini in Greece, and the United Kingdom. But there are so many more underwater places and things I want to experience including the Phillippines, especially Palawan and Boracay, the Canary Island of El Hierro, the Silfra Fissure in Iceland, the Blue Hole in Belize, and Hammerhead and Whale Sharks. Where are your favourite diving destinations and why?

Happy PADI Women’s Dive Day this July 18 to all the women and girls out there who have experienced the wonderful world below the water’s surface.

Forget about Arabian nights – try scuba diving the Arabian Sea! 

They say some of the best diving in the United Arab Emirates is on it’s East Coast, so naturally I had to arrange 3 open water dives with Al Boom Diving  during my vacation here.

After emailing Al Boom in Fujairah, the booking process was easy, with a deposit or full payment to secure my place on what is usually a very busy weekend. So I definitely recommend booking your place ahead of time.

The organisation of my three recreational dives over two days was excellent, with equipment bags prepared for all the divers on arrival, and a short walk down to the beach and onto the boat. We were provided with water and fruit, with the option of paying for a sandwich from Le Meridien Resort. 

My friend and I dived across three locations, Martini Rock and Hole in the Wall on the first day, and Sharm Rock on the second. With the water temperature at 26 to 27 degrees celcius, I was comfortable in my 5mm long Fourth Element wetsuit, while my friend was comfortable in a short wetsuit. 

The visibility at Martini Rock and Hole in the Wall on Saturday May 19, 2018 was excellent. At a maximum dive depth of 19 metres at Martini Rock, we saw lots of butterfly fish, trigger fish, moray eel, stone fish and trumpet fish.

The second dive at Hole in the Wall was a great experience, with the dive instructor leading us through a tunnel or “hole in the wall”. At this second site, we saw more trigger fish, stingrays, trumpet fish and butterfly and angel fish.

Our third dive on Sunday May 20 was at Sharm Rock. The visibility wasn’t as good as the day before, but we still saw barracuda, trigger fish, butterfly fish, moray eels and clown fish.

Al Boom Diving In Fujairah are based at Le Meridien Al Aqah Resort. As divers at Al Boom, you can also collect a food discount voucher to be spent at the beach bar and hotel restaurant, which I recommend.

Pradeep Fernando, the manager of this 5 Star PADI Dive Centre is friendly, and his staff are professional, helpful and hospitable. My friend couldn’t complete the second dive on the first day, and was offered another opportunity to dive again. The service was excellent and I’d highly recommend diving with Al Boom Diving in Fujairah.

For more info, visit Al Boom Diving