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Lauren Stevens's Goal

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On 15th August 2014 I was on holiday with my friend Fatima in Santorini, a Greek island (See 'Visit Greek islands'). I booked a scuba dive with the Mediterranean Dive Club for 15:30 - 17:30, which I was really nervous about, especially because I was at the tail end of a cold. I had also spoken to Santorini Dive Centre, which was a bit further down the beach, which had similar courses and prices, but they didn't seem as friendly and passionate, so I chose the Mediterranean Dive Centre instead. The dive cost €55 (with a discount!) and the photos cost €15 extra, which was a bit pricey but probably not as bad compared to other places. I hadn't spent much money on that holiday other than travel, accommodation and food, so I thought spending some money on something I had wanted to do for a very long time wasn't so bad. In the morning Fatima and I parted ways, because she had been scuba diving before and, so decided to go to the north of the island whilst I went scuba diving and we planned to meet up in the centre of the island in the evening. I tried to relax with an iced tea at Vinsanto bar/restaurant on the beach, but I was so nervous, especially because of my cold.

I arrived early and mentioned my cold, and although initially there was some apprehension about whether I should dive or not, it was decided that it was safe. I went through the training and was tested on what I had learnt. I then put on the diving equipment, which was quite challenging. I decided to do an offshore dive, because I thought it would be easier and less nerve wracking than throwing myself off of a boat! We walked down the beach and got quite a few funny looks from people who were sunbathing and snorkelling. My instructor, Gerry, was very patient and reassuring and I was lucky enough to be the only person booked for a dive at that time, so I had Gerry and the photographer all to myself! It was reassuring when I was able to stand on the bottom and practice slowly breathing with the regulator before submerging myself.

After going underwater to about 5 metres depth and equalising (breathing out and pinching my nose to avoid ear pain), I started to feel at ease. I love swimming and I especially love being underwater, so I was in my element. It was difficult to get used to swimming without using my arms, though. I quickly realised that breathing was not the difficult part, but keeping water out of my goggles was, which I assume was due to the pressure. I did feel dizzy at one point and I had a few panicky moments, but on the whole it wasn't as scary as I had imagined. I saw Gerry and the photographer spinning around and lying on their backs, but when I tried one of my fins fell off and started floating away! The experience was amazing; it took my breath away (literally) to be underwater with such good visibility and to see all the sea life and I can't wait to try it again in the future.


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