Diving in Seychelles? Yes, please! And here's the story of when I dived in Seychelles for the very first time. Most of you know me as Cory but my full name is actually Coralia. Yes, it's a derived from Ancient Greek κοραλλιον (korallion) meaning "coral", which mom was always fascinated with. As I grew older, I too started becoming more intrigued by these marine creatures. Mum used to tell me bedtime stories of underwater worlds, which to me, were everything. And so, I started visiting aquariums and spend hours looking at the beauty of corals, until one day, I decided that I want to visit the great barrier reef, dive, and see them for myself.
Now the concept of diving has always been quite foreign to me. To a certain extent, I'm rather afraid of deep water, despite the fact that I am a good swimmer. How could it be possible to just jump in and breathe?
If you are inexperienced like me, you can actually chose to live abroad a ship for a while, and do daily scuba diving sessions. Since we were on our honeymoon, we chose not to do this, but you can learn more about what it's like to experience liveaboard diving in the Maldives. Like Seychelles, Maldives is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean.
During my Seychelles adventure, I came across a company called Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre. Almost like fate, the universe was telling me it was time for me to take a leap of faith and dive in... no pun intended. And so, I contacted Glynis, the owner of the business, to book my very first diving experience. I took the plunge.
The Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre is located in Beau Vallon, in Mahé. Beau Vallon is one of the most popular beaches in Seychelles due to the sheer amount of facilities, hotels, shops and nearby restaurants. It was only natural that a diving centre could be found here. For days before my dive, I've been twisting and turning with an amalgam of emotions, ranging from excitement to fear. Alas, the day has come for me to meet Glynis and the team and find out what diving really is about.
I arrived at the Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre at around 9 am, packed with emotion and anticipation. Glynis made us a cup of tea and started telling me a bit more about her business. She came to Seychelles with her husband, David, more than three decades ago, on their honeymoon. Naturally, they wanted to dive and see the secret underwater word of the Indian Ocean. In love with Seychelles, in awe of the sheer perfection of the marine life present in the area, they decided to sell everything, buy the Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre and move to Mahé. I couldn't believe that what started as an idle honeymoon experience ended up being the basis of Glynis and David's lifestyle for years to come. This to me was clearly a sign that the Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre has been functioning out of love and pure passion.
Glynis introduced me to Mike, a PADI divemaster with a true Seychelloise sense of humour. He conducted the Discover Scuba Diving training package, in order to ensure that I am fully prepared for the actual dive. After going through the theory, he took me into the ocean to practice breathing under water. I must say there were times I panicked, there were times I was mesmerised. Mike helped me overcome my fears and relax as much as possible. He was really patient and fun to be with.
After a couple of hours of theory, practice and finding the right size scuba costume, everyone was now ready to dive. A handful of us carried our gear and oxygen tanks to the boat. In a few minutes, we said goodbye to the shores and embarked on a sea adventure of a lifetime. Was I nervous? Oh God, yes! I was about to voluntarily jump in 10 m deep water.
With diving, you have to be all ready and then jump in the water backwards. Once in contact with the water, breathe normally through your mouth. Start descending slowly, making sure you pressurise your ears. This was my mistake, as I didn't allow enough time to pressurise my ears, hence I ended up taking longer than expected to descend under water. At this point, Sabrina, a PADI Master Scuba, took the time to help me out and make my diving experience as enjoyable as possible. Once we got to the bottom of the ocean floor, Sabrina took my hand and showed me a new universe.
Being underwater is an incredibly alien feeling. You feel like an intruder in a new world, where against all odds, you managed to find a way to explore. They say that you will never forget the first time you dive, and right they are. The moment you relax, the moment you let go of all your fears and open your mind to seeing and understanding the beauty of the ocean, nothing can beat that. I can't express the joy and emotion I felt when I finally saw corals in their natural habitat. There was a sheer amount of marine life, of colours and shapes, all looking almost too beautiful to be true. In fact, being underwater is indeed like being in a dream. Not quite sure how else to put it. To me, it was a dream come true.
Exhausted and excited, I made my way back to the shores. I couldn't help but contemplate on my incredible experience. Seeing this underwater world, made me realise once more of the importance of preservation and the fragility of the marine ecosystem.
Would I dive again? Absolutely. I cannot wait for the next opportunity to dive and experience new underwater realms. Beyond corals, clown fish and beautiful turtles, my aim is to see giant manta rays. Ultimately, I can't help but be forever grateful to Glynis and her fantastic team for opening up a new world of opportunities for me. I feel lucky that I stumbled across the Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre, a true family business which is geared towards making novice and skilful divers alike, have a fantastic experience tailored to their exact needs.
Thank you, Glynis and the team for being awesome and offering me a discount in order to experience my first ever dive. As always, all opinions are my own.