I’m on my way to fulfilling one of my biggest ambitions.
I’ve always fancied scuba diving, because I love anything to do with water – whether it’s swimming, going out on a boat or simply looking out at the sea.
Then I heard about something called a PADI course, which stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. It’s a course that teaches you to dive safely. I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do, so I thought I would give it a go.
I have never done anything like this before. I’m 22 and it’s the most daring thing I’ve ever done.
Gordon, my support worker at Mencap’s Richmond outreach service helped me to sort everything out. I began taking lessons once a month in the swimming pool close to my home in Hampton Hill, London.
I loved it from the start as it gave me the opportunity to try something new. The hardest part was putting on the fins and wearing the heavy breathing apparatus, but I soon got used to it.
It feels strange to breathe underwater, but it’s also exciting. What I love most about scuba diving is diving into the water and seeing the fishes swimming around you.
It’s been two and a half years since I started, and during that time I’ve done sessions in my local pool, completed the theory tests and done lots of quizzes. I then sat a written exam and got 100%. I had to do all this before I could do the practical exam, which is a two-day course.
I’ve completed the first part of the practical course at Wraysbury Dive Centre, near Staines. I was tested on a variety of skills, which included checking my kit and weights, doing breathing exercises, safety checks and two open water dives.
Frank, my instructor, at the Scuba Trust, which supports disabled people to get their certification, said I did a great job. I was chuffed to bits.
It means I can dive in open water. I’ve still got to do another session and when I’ve completed that I will be a certified open water diver and be able to scuba dive anywhere in the world.
I’m looking forward to receiving my certification so I can show it off to my family.
Now I’ve done my diving training, I hope I can go on a diving holiday with the Scuba Trust, who have all sorts of holidays lined up to places like Barbados and Egypt.