UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Reporter goes scuba diving

w30c alex Jenkins diving for the Up to the Challenge feature
w30c alex Jenkins diving for the Up to the Challenge feature

EVER since I tried snorkelling on holiday, I have wanted to have a go at scuba diving.

However, I always think of it as a summer pastime to be enjoyed abroad, rather than a year-round hobby in England.

I have been proved wrong.

Brighton British Sub Aqua Club 007, based at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham, has a dedicated membership group which is always on the lookout for new enthusiasts to join its rank.

For my first try dive I was taken to Worthing’s Aquarena – not the most glamorous of places, but then again, diving is not a glamorous sport.

In my swimming costume, old t-shirt (to stop the equipment from rubbing) and a pair of old socks (to help keep the flippers on) I already looked “interesting” as I waited by the side of the pool.

Add to that, the goggles, flippers, and all the breathing apparatus and I definitely resembled an alien.

The breathing apparatus is surprisingly heavy and, at first, I was very intimidated by all the equipment.

Yet, open water instructors, Christine Bohea and Alison Dack, slowly took me through everything and explained what each dial and mouthpiece did.

I slowly descended the steps into the large pool and it was with great trepidation I went under the water.

With all the heavy equipment on my back and trying to remember how to breathe, I did suffer from a pang of nerves and claustrophobia.

It took me a while to get used to the air bubbles shooting in front of my face every time I breathed out but after a couple of dives I found it easier.

The next stage was to try to swim underwater.

By letting air out of my diving jacket I was able to sink to the bottom of the pool and slowly make my way along.

An hour later and I felt I was really getting the hang of it and it was only due to the cold water that we stopped.

Diving was not as easy as it looked but the try dive was certainly very enjoyable.

I had a few moments when I couldn’t sink – yes I am full of hot air – and there were times when I was almost stuck to the bottom of the swimming pool, but, overall, I felt I did well.

Scuba diving is a very sociable sport as you never swim alone, yet it was also very relaxing and peaceful.

The Shoreham dive club is very willing to help “newbies” become hooked on the pastime and once you have got the hang of diving in the pool the group carries out dives at sea both locally and abroad.

Buying the equipment does come at a price, but once you have got that you are ready to go.

I would definitely recommend scuba diving.

It is a lot of fun and, quite literally, opens up a whole new world for you to explore.

For more information, visit the website www.brightondiving007.com.

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