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The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

Experience of a First-Time Diver

Reagan Bouchard

Off the coast of Aruba, underneath the clear ocean and soft waves there was the most incredible reef. It was the first time I went below the surface and immersed myself side by side with hundreds of little fish. 

Sure, I’ve been snorkeling and swimming in the sea for years, but scuba diving was an entirely different experience. It felt like I was taken from Earth and I was put on an entirely different planet. Under the water is peaceful, calming, and an amazing sensation. 

I’m not currently certified, but the great thing about scuba diving is you don’t necessarily have to be! I mean if you plan on going regularly you definitely should. What we did was take a beginners’ class and get a quick tutorial on how everything works before jumping in!

The place we attended was S.E Diving Aruba Fly ‘N Dive. Which I totally recommend. We had two experienced divers with us the whole time. The first step was just sitting and talking about what to do and how not to panic. Then we got into our gear and hopped into a pool. They gave us small exercises to perform under the water. 

That was probably the most helpful part. We learned to use the regulator, air gauge, backup parts, how to clear the goggles, hand signals and so much more. We practiced situations that could happen underwater. For example, if your regulator fell out of your mouth and filled with water. We learned to clear it and how to quickly put it back in our mouth. 

The 2 instructors were calm and very clear in their instructions. They walked us through it and made me ten times less nervous. I was more excited than scared at the start, but it’s hard not to be a little worried about going 50 feet below the surface for the first time in a foreign country. 

50ft is pretty deep for a beginner’s class. Usually, you start off at around 10-20 ft deep. I didn’t realize how deep we would go, but I enjoyed it anyway. 

After our lesson in the pool, we went out on the boat. We went pretty far from shore and the water was still super clear and the perfect light blue. Once we arrived at the reef we would be diving and our instructors gave us one last speech and off we were!

On the way down, one of the instructors brought each one of us down slowly. We would make stops every couple of feet to equalize the pressure. To do this you have to plug your nose and pop your ears. This will stop the pressure from building and stop barotrauma from occurring in the ears. Before I knew it I was at the bottom.

We were the first of our group in the water, so we waited below for about 10 minutes. We just sat there at the bottom in silence. I’ll never forget that feeling, the feeling of fish just encircling us not scared one bit. It was like we were one of them. 

It feels like you are weightless. You are just part of the water. You can bounce up and then slowly sink back down. It’s awesome. As a bonus, the water in Aruba is not cold one bit and the visibility is perfect. 

Anyway, once everyone was down we began our actually dive. We gradually made our way along the reef. We saw hundreds if not thousands of fish. Many different species too, and the reef itself was so pretty. It was far enough out that it was perfectly preserved. No damage has touched the reef yet, and it was gorgeous. 

We slowly descended as we made our way and I hadn’t realized because I was too focused on the sights around me. I hadn’t been clearing my ears as much as I should have. It started becoming very painful. Luckily, we learned all the hand signals if we were in any situation like that.

The number one thing is to not panic and I didn’t. Well for the most part. I just swam up a bit and kept trying to clear my ears. At one point I almost blacked out, which is not good. I just kept swimming up and eventually, the pain went away. 

That didn’t ruin my experience for a second. In fact, it almost made it better. Yes, it was scary, but it just proved that I shouldn’t be afraid of diving. I made it out fine and it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. 

One by one, they guided us back to the surface. They helped the decompression process as we made our way up. You hold onto a rope up to the top and don’t have to worry about anything except breathing at a regular rate. 

If you are interested in scuba diving, a beginner’s class is a good way to get started if you aren’t sure you want to get certified. It helps get the feel for diving and it made me want to take lessons even more!

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About the Contributor
Reagan Bouchard
Reagan Bouchard, Reporter
Reagan Bouchard is part of the Class of 2026 at Oakmont Regional High School. This is her second year being part of The Oakmonitor. She was in spring track last year and is also a part of the club SADD. Reagan works at J.R. Briggs as part of the extended day program and occasionally babysits others. In her free time, she likes to go on walks or bike rides with friends and family. She enjoys swimming in the summer, baking/cooking, and traveling to new places. Reagan loves to spend time watching movies, playing board games, and shopping. She is excited to learn more things while being a part of The Oakmontitor.

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