I had no intention of attempting a Padi Open Water Dive Course a month ago. I don’t even remember why I decided to do it, but I am so grateful that I did. The dive course has opened up an amazing world to explore on my retirement travels around the world. I find myself researching dive sites every night.

Although I have lived on the beach all of my life, I have been no deeper than knee deep in the ocean for more than 35 years, and don’t even think about getting my hair wet….. My fear of the ocean and its inhabitants kept me on dry lad for as long as I can remember.

I completed my Padi Open Water Course with Planet Nomadas Dive Resort Planet Nomadas at Nusa Lembongan on Wednesday June 17 – one month after I left Australia. Taissa, my dive guru was fantastic. My first dive however was with Jackie – who was equally amazing. Both teachers made me feel relaxed and safe at all times. The absolute bonus was I was the only student so the one on one teaching was important to me.

As I was walking along the beach to planet Nomadas I gathered a few brochures from other dive centres. I watched in horror as 30 people loaded onto a boat to go out diving. I don’t know how may of them were doing the Padi Course but a staff member told me that they were operating with a now to four ratio that day although the maximum was 8 students to one instructor. OMG that would be a nightmare for the teacher.

When I met with Taissa shortly after arriving at the office and she said it would be just me and her, I agreed immediately.

My first dive was at Manta Point, Nusa Penida. Wow! The first thing we witnessed was three Mantas in a mating train. Jackie had told me about the mating train on the way out there so I knew what I was seeing. A few minutes later a huge Manta swan so close to us that I could clearly see his tummy markings. Next thing I knew there were Mantas everywhere, so may it was impossible to count them. The Bamboo shark cruising under us didn’t worry me at all. That dive was 34 minutes including a few drills that I had to do as part of the course.

My next dive with Jackie was Crystal Bay. So many beautiful tropical fish it was fantastic and the visibility was sensational.

Diving makes you hungry and exhausted. I ate and slept like a baby that night. I felt different – like I was in a moving meditation all night after the ocean dives.

The second day’s diving was with Taissa. The first dive was at SD, Nusa Penida, it was quite a stressful dive as I had to complete some serious dive skills – the first being to get my gear on in the water. The currents were strong and the exercises were full on, but I managed to get through them. My final dive was a fun dive at Mangroves dive site. It was magic, great visibility and the colours of the fish and the coral are just mind-blowing. Angel Fish, Moorish Idols, Surgeon Fish, Trumpet Fish just to name a few. Of course the Nemo, Clown Fish was adorable and the Moray Eel was stunning. The Cool Turtle and the Great Barracuda cruising past was very cool. I felt like a fish swimming around with the cast of Finding Nemo. They were all so busy doing their thing and it occurred to me that we could learn so much from them. So many different species living together and just getting on with life in a peaceful manner. It truly was amazing. Dive time was 50 glorious minutes.

I am now a certified Padi Open Water Diver – Im planning my next Dive in Amed, Bali. So excited to be a part of the Global Diving Community