Thursday 19 March 2015

Certified Open Water Diver!

I've thought about getting a diving license for quite some time but I was simply too lazy. So it was fate that I met Gary of GS Diving and he welcomed me to learn with his school. I didn't have to go to Malaysia for my open dives, I just needed two days during the weekend to dive at Pulau Hantu to get my certificate. Good news for me since I was extremely busy recently. I grabbed a friend and started our diving journey.

After registration, we downloaded the PADI manual and started reading up on the diving theory. The application works better on tablets so we had some trouble when we tried to read it on our phones. We ended up going for our first pool session pretty clueless. Bad example, please do not follow. Luckily Gary was extremely patient and went through with us step by step on the equipment names and what we were going to learn. After putting on the full gear, we had to kneel down on the bottom of the swimming pool but we just couldn't do it! Haha. We kept floating around and Gary had to grab onto us. He said that we were breathing in too much which happens to a lot of beginners. When you breathe in, your lungs expand and you go up. When you exhale, your lungs collapse and you go down. After a few more attempts, we got better. We learned quite a few things during our two pool sessions and we were tested on them during our open dives. 

Then, one fine weekend, about two months after our second pool session, we woke up at the crack of dawn and headed down to Singapore Yacht Club to go for our open dive. I couldn't open my eyes but I was feeling panicky so I decided to do a last minute revision on what we had learned. We took a 40 minutes boat ride out to Pulau Hantu and we were the only newbies on board. The others had huge underwater cameras while we had our hearts inside our mouths. 

After gearing up and doing a buddy check, we were ready for our first dive. We pulled ourselves down using the anchor line to about 5 meters underwater. Then we had to descend. And... guess what? I lost my dive instructor, Gary and my friend haha. I couldn't descend and Gary disappeared from view. The visibility was around 5m, it felt less to me since I was not accustomed to the murky water. I started panicking slightly and I guess I took in more air due to that so I floated upwards. Finally I felt two pairs of legs above me and surfaced to find the missing two. Turns out my friend lost us too and she went up LOL. Gary said we had to breathe in less and exhale more to sink. He gave us an extra weight on our weight belts too. We tried again and this time we succeeded. We had to do fin pivot, removing of regulator, removing of mask, hover, and many more underwater. Then we went for a dive around. I swam super close to Gary because I was afraid of losing him again haha and got hit by his fin a couple of times. :x

It was pretty cool to see the marine biodiversity around Singapore. The regular divers came almost every weekend to dive at Pulau Hantu and they said that once you conquer Pulau Hantu, you can dive almost anywhere hahaha.

I wasn't allowed to bring my GoPro with me during the dives because I was on course so here are some photos taken by the other divers with huge cameras. Amazing underwater life isn't it? I didn't manage to spot all of them due to my untrained eyes but who says Singapore has no underwater life?

Here are two videos about diving in Singapore! Enjoy :)

Thanks Gary for having me!

GS Diving offers recreational dives and diving courses. Course can also be conducted in English, Chinese, French and German. Other languages on request. They run local diving trips in Singapore Southern Island every weekend and they also have a Live On Board (LOB) vessel that operates in Indonesia. I might consider going LOB diving trip during a long weekend next time. :) Go to to find out more!


  1. Hi:
    Nice pics! Wondering what camera are you using for the underwater pics and videos?

    1. Hi!

      The underwater pics were taken by another diver on board, published here with his permission. It's a huge underwater camera that's all I can say haha.

      Sorry for not being able to help!