Learn to dive in the Red Sea


Helena’s learn to dive story

Helena Possnett is a former member of staff at Responsible Travel, who learned to dive in the Red Sea at Dahab, Egypt. Here is her diving story…

“My brother is a keen scuba diver, and had been urging me to learn for years; but as a nervous snorkeller (I hate the water flooding down and the feeling of claustrophobia), it was never high on my priority list. But that was all to change...

Learning to dive took me far out of my comfort zone. I had to concentrate 100 percent, slow my actions, trust my equipment, trust my 'dive buddy' (also my instructor) and overcome the basic human drive to surface. Learning to dive was all consuming and I'd fall asleep listening to my breathing with the sensation that I was rising and falling underwater. But the hard work and early nights certainly paid off, and I knew that I'd progressed when diving was becoming second nature and I could finally appreciate the incredible marine life on the reef. This trip was truly life-changing and opened up another world to me. Weightlessness is an extraordinary sensation, and diving brings you closer to ecosystems few are privileged to encounter.”

What is a PADI course?

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors are better known to their friends as just, PADI. PADI provides a worldwide network of dive centers offering courses for beginners through to professionals. Starting with an Open Water Course you’ll combine video learning, reading and self assessment, with tutored instruction, five confined dives (exercises in shallow water), and four open water dives (exercises in deeper water, and time to explore).

For European waterbabies, Dahab in the Red Sea is one of the best places to undertake PADI training as not only is it accessible, but it has warm water, great visibility – and a phenomenal range of coral, fish species and even sea turtles.

What do I have to do?

Trust – your ‘dive buddy’, instructors and equipment

Concentrate – slow your actions and learn to breathe

Work hard – reading your PADI manual in advance is just the start

Swim – at least 200 metres or 300 metres in mask and snorkel.

Top tips for learning to dive in the Red Sea

Choose a well-established PADI tour operator that strives to be safe and make a positive difference to their local community and to the environment.

Only use a tour operator who insists on keeping group sizes to a minimum, preferably less than four people or, even better, one to one tuition.

Read the PADI manual and complete the online learning course before you leave.

Take a refillable bottle as it’s essential to drink water before and between dives.

Take an underwater camera (or find out if your vacation company makes one available for guests!) and don’t be afraid to ask your instructor to take some snaps while you’re getting started.
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