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Published: August 13th 2013
My first activity upon arrival in Borneo was to complete an Open water PADI course with Scuba Junkie. This started at 8:30 the day after I arrived, so there has not been much time to look around Kota Kinabalu and see what it has to offer.
Day 1 was a day of theory - 5 videos, 5 knowledge reviews, 5 tests and a whole book full of information to try and retain. There were 4 of us in the group, so it's a nice small class, and everyone's really friendly which is a great bonus if we have to spend 3 days together! We all passed the theory easily, ready to start getting in the water on Monday.
Day 2 - Slightly nervous about everything today, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - it is a pretty strange idea to swim underwater for ages with a tank of air strapped to you. The first thing we had to do was a 200m swim, followed by a 10 minute float/treading water. This was all done in a sheltered part of the sea - much better than the normal swimming pool environment for these things, although the fish were slightly distracting. After we all passed the fitness tests it was time to learn skills with our scuba gear on. This involves tasks such as clearing your mask, dropping and recovering your regulator - breathing mouthpiece - and using your buddy's regulator. We also had to practice towing our buddies in case they were injured or too tired when diving. This ultimately gave us a taste of what it is like to be underwater, and what diving feels like.
Our first dive was a little nerve wracking, however once we started it didn't feel as strange as I thought it would. Also because the visibility was only 1-2m I was mostly concentrating on not losing sight of the fins in front of me! By the end of the second dive I was quite tired and starting to get a headache, so was a bit unsure if diving is really for me, however I thought I may as well finish the course, as I was 2/3 of the way through, and had paid for it!
Day 3 - The visibility underwater had increased to 5-6m today, and I was much more relaxed in the water both from the extra experience and because I could see further so not constantly worried about keeping up. We saw loads of cool fish today, including clownfish, parrot fish, blue spotted rays etc.
I'm quite excited now to go over to Semporna and dive more, as the diving is meant to be much better there, I just hope the visibility is better! And I hope I see turtles as I've practically been promised them by everyone I've spoken to!
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