Y’all know me by now – im not one to shy away from new experiences. BUT, when it comes to animals… ill pass. So when my cousin Hassan suggested we go scuba-diving, i almost choked on my coffee. Why would anyone put themselves in the middle of the sea and be surrounded by fish?
Yet, for some reason, i found myself waking up the next morning at 6am to go to scuba diving. The drive to Fujairah was as fun as always with Hassan, being the energetic, crazy man he is – we were already blasting out renditions of old school RnB.
We drove through ever-ending deserts before arriving at the hotel. Truth be told, I never even heard of Fujariah before this trip. It was the youngest emirate and gained independence from Sharjah in 1952. It is separated from its neighbours by the towering Hajar mountains and is the only emirate not to have access to the Persian Gulf. It is however, the best place to do snorkelling and scuba-diving in the region.
Hassan gave me a quick half-an-hour safety lesson and we went through the PADI booklet. At this point, i was still questioning what on earth i was doing with my life. I have a phobia of fish guys! 😦
After him signing the section off, we practised the main techniques in the swimming pool. I learnt the hand motions for “im okay”, and “lets go up”. I also started getting used to breathing underwater and remembering not to hold my breath. It sounds weird but it takes a long time to get used to the idea that you won’t be swallowing in water if you breath.
After Hassan was satisfied that i will be okay to go into the sea, we got the swimsuit and equipment on and walked to the boat. Swimsuits are the most uncomfortable (and unflattering) thing ever, but i grinned and bared it.
We got onto the boat and was joined by other scuba divers who were either taking lessons with their instructors or just very experienced scuba divers going for fun. Hassan seemed very popular and well-loved there as everyone came up to greet him and told me that im being trained by the very best.
Finally, after the boat stopped and people were falling, back first into the sea, i kicked back my nerves and followed my cousin in.
We went down 12m and after swimming a while, we were slowly getting surrounded by fish – and A LOT of them! I was starting to panic and if i could, i would’ve been sweating buckets. My breathing was getting shorter and i was holding onto Hassan’s hand for dear life. He noticed that i was not normal and at that point, i was kicking myself for not telling him sooner that i have phobia of fish. I was trying to get to the top asap, but then he hugged me underwater to calm me down – which helped. He then took my hand and swam to the bottom so that we could kneel on the seabeds. It took a while for my breathing to be normal again and so after doing all of the hand techniques he taught me, we slowly carried on swimming around the riverbeds and looking at the different types of fish. I gotta say guys, he handled the situation SO well and i couldn’t be more grateful.
We then went up after an hour of swimming so that we could have a break. The boat took us to another sight where there was a shipwreck and so we started exploring around the ship to see the different types of fish. It was just such a surreal experience! One thing to remember though if you do go scuba diving – make sure you go to the loo beforehand as it ain’t so easy holding it in while swimming!
After a few hours of scuba-diving, we took off the swimsuit. Its amazing how quickly time flew by. Hassan then treated me to a very authentic Yemenese restaurant where groups would sit in their cubicles and eat their dinner in a very traditional way by sitting on the floor. The food was absolutely delicious and we definitely worked up an appetite.
It was just the most amazing experience and i would definitely do it again. Thank you so much to my most amazing cousin for letting this all happen and for of course putting up with my shenanigans.
Hassan made me feel so relaxed during this whole experience – i HIGHLY recommend you trying this out if you are ever in Dubai. Check out his page here: https://www.facebook.com/FantasyScubaDiving/
Do you have any questions about scuba-diving that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂