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During an introductory diving course you also learn the most important hand signals of the diving language

14. September 2018 - Fiona Messal

Diving Course - Why It’s Worth Getting to the Bottom of a Lake


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Swimming, snorkelling, parasailing, always insisting on direct pool or sea access on holiday…. Actually all things that describe me, a former competitive swimmer, well. Why I haven’t done a diving course yet, I ask myself.

Even as a child, my father made fun of me and remarked that I would be more underwater with my head than above water on holiday. To make up for this omission in my water life as quickly as possible, I took an diving course. You can find out why it was definitely worth it here in my experience report!

With the firm intention of finally learning to dive, there was still one hurdle to overcome: Convincing my boyfriend to join me. To be really sure that this is something for us, we first wanted to do a trial diving course. In order not to travel too far, we (Berliners) decided to camp at Lake Helene in Brandenburg and take part in an diving course at the local diving school.

At 10:00 in the morning we had an appointment with the man who was to introduce us to the world of diving over the next 2.5 hours. He told us that the visibility under water was still a bit poor at the moment and that we could only see about 1.5 metres. However, since we didn’t expect a second Great Barrier Reef in Lake Helene anyway and we weren’t interested in the underwater beauty but in the diving experience itself, we didn’t find this particularly problematic.

But before the introduction could start, we had to fill out a questionnaire. In this questionnaire we were asked whether we had any illnesses, whether we were impaired in any way by medication or alcohol at that moment and whether we had any existing problems with pressure compensation. We completed the questionnaire to the complete satisfaction of the instructor and were able to start the induction. ?

Diving Course – First Lesson: Communication Under Water

Our course actually consisted of just the two of us and our instructor also started directly with the explanation of the communication signs under water. Although in an emergency one would certainly be able to communicate with each other with some finger signs, it is definitely an advantage as a budding diver to learn everything directly in such a way that one can be understood under water in other countries without any problems.

So after we had learned how to communicate (which is never wrong as a couple anyway), we were shown the breathing apparatus and promptly put on our backs. The bottle looks heavy – and it is! Because in addition to the tank, there are also weights in the diving backpack. These are important in order to reach the desired depth without any problems. After the breathing apparatus, the functioning of the altimeter and the art of pressure compensation under water had been explained to us, the only thing left to do was to find the right wetsuit.

In this case, “only” is a slight understatement. I’ve worn one before, but the last time was when I was ice snorkelling in Iceland, and they seem to have been a different size. But after a few fittings, we finally found the right suits and it was time to open the bottle, head down to the beach, into the waves and head under water!

Hurrah – Into the Water!

An introductory diving course at Lake Helene really excited guest author Fiona

Author Fiona had been dreaming of diving for a long time

Although there were only two of us doing the diving course, it was very important to our instructor that he only went into the water with one of us at a time. And I was allowed to be the first. (After all, I had brought the diving adventure to my boyfriend.) Let’s go!
Going into the water with a wetsuit and a scuba tank on your back is quite unusual at first. But after a few moments I already felt quite comfortable in my second skin. The instructor helped me put on my fins and goggles and we started the first underwater exercise.

The idea was to test whether breathing with the diving equipment would work, with my head only just under water. When I confirmed this after a short time, we could really start. Slowly I was pushed under water, I couldn’t really tell how fast we were going deeper, only the pressure in my ears gave me a vague idea.

The instructor had told us beforehand that as soon as he let go of us, we should start swimming with our fins and “just dive”. Ah yes, said, done! And as soon as he stopped pushing me in one direction, I also immediately started “just diving”. My instructor’s first reaction was immediate.

He started tapping my leg with his fist – his sign for: “You’re going way too fast, slow down”. I was probably so full of anticipation that I couldn’t slow down at all. But at his signal, I immediately slowed down and was then able to enjoy the diving to the fullest, because after all, that’s what this diving course was supposed to be about.

The Time Passed Far Too Quickly

An introductory diving course offers the opportunity to try diving without having to obtain a diving licence

There is also a lot to discover in German lakes during an diving course

Lake Helene near Berlin can have depths of up to 60 metres – after all, I dived 5 metres deep! Unfortunately, visibility was actually relatively limited, as there had been storms a few days before and the dust that had been kicked up had not yet settled. But I didn’t care – I had great fun just being able to try out diving as such. In between, I struggled with what felt like huge amounts of water in my diving goggles, but despite everything, the joy of this great experience prevailed.

I also saw various fish in front of my goggles and – probably one of the highlights in the shallow waters of Lake Helene – old GDR fitness equipment from a former exercise trail. For me, at that moment, almost as good as the wreck of the Titanic!

By the way, here is a diving video from YouTube of another diver in Lake Helene:

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While I was diving obliviously, at some point I was jolted out of my diving reveries and the instructor made it clear that it was time to surface again. I spent 20 minutes under water – and they seemed like just 5 minutes and just went by way too fast.
After this diving course, I am fully convinced that I will soon get my diving licence. The course explained the basic rules of diving to me. I was able to dive at my own pace and, above all, I could do it on my own and didn’t have to adapt to other people or be afraid of making a mistake. Because the instructor was always by my side, I also felt very safe and never had the feeling that anything could happen to me.

Diving licence – here I come! ?

A guest post by Fiona Messal.

Editor’s Note:

This beautiful experience report was the first (but hopefully not last) guest post by Fiona. If you, dear reader, also have something great to report about a leisure experience, creative or similar topics – we welcome new guest authors with good ideas and creative writing. So take heart and get in touch via our contact form.

At Abenteuer Freundschaft you can find excursion tips and many tips for indoor activities. You can also get inspiration for gifts and a variety of leisure ideas for activities with friends, family and your partner.

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