Scuba Chicken by Alison Day 2014
Scuba Diving on Crete was a hit with my son both last year and this. Each time he had a great time and impressed his instructors with his natural ability for the sport. Now, he wants to train for his Padi. If he does, there is the option to do the final qualifying tests abroad—so Greece could be on the cards next summer too!
We were picked up in the cool early morning air from our hotel and driven down to Plakias on the south coast of Crete. We were with six others in the minivan and were driven by Costos—aquiline nose, curly haired Adonis, from Thessaloniki and one of the diving instructors. Along the journey, we skirted round and through Tuscan red and peach coloured, rugged hills, dotted with dark green vegetation. Through small villages with flourishing pink bougainvillea and past Kafeneons filled with old Greek men, staring and drinking coffee.
Our destination, the Calypso Diving Centre was based in a cove next to a resort called Kalypso Cretan Village. The diving instructors came from all over the globe and were led by a very fit lady—Bear. Classes were in languages of what the majority understood— in this case English and German. The enthusiasm at the diving centre was infectious and the 'how to' was clearly explained. Photos were shown of the kind of marine life we could expect to see, as well as those to keep away from. For a fee, photos could be taken during your dive and copied onto a CD for posterity.
Last year I was one of the first time scuba divers too, thinking because I loved snorkelling I would like this too—I didn’t. This year, I was contented to watch my son's enjoyment and go for a swim in the amusingly—impossible to sink in—salt water pool of the resort.
I had to laugh at the wetsuit fittings of that day's scuba pupils, remembering my own—where the suits are tried on for size—dry. A nigh on impossible nail breaker, where everyone dances the fandango, as they wrestle into the suits. Later, you are introduced to the far easier option of a huge, wooden slatted tub, filled with water. Then the wetsuit slides on— in dance moves more akin to an expressive tango.
I can honestly say I only enjoyed the scuba process up until we had to get into the sea. Although the gear is lighter in water, I hated being trussed up and carrying the equivalent of concrete shoes around my middle. From my sealed in state, I felt as though I was viewing the world from inside my own private goldfish bowl. Then there was walking backwards into the sea because of the flippers— an awkward experience and why—ducks don't?
As I swam part way along the cove, with my instructor towards the open sea, I tried to distract myself from the inevitable open water dive by admiring pretty fish and avoiding the stinging tentacles of translucent, shocking pink jellyfish. It was then I decided that this experience wasn't for me. Fear and claustrophobia took over and I flatly refused to continue. My instructor sympathetically tried to appease my fears, but once my mind is made up . . .
Not to waste the diving experience completely, I floundered around the cove in a half dive-snorkel mode and followed shoals of fish.
Next year—in my wetsuit—I will be snorkelling!