Picture this – Turkey, beautiful blue skies, turquoise blue crystal clear water and golden sandy beaches. I am sat with my partner at the start of our holiday, looking at activities to do. I knew Glyn had done lots and lots of scuba diving, but as I have MS and also had a spinal operation, we were sceptical about having a go or if I would even be allowed. That is where my adventure began!
I was able to complete two try dives and was fortunate enough on the second to see a turtle, I was happily swimming around without a care in the world.
On our return to England, we looked into me taking my PADI Open Water qualification. Rec2Tec Diving was only 10 minutes drive away, and with Glyn having previously done his qualification there, many years ago, the centre was a good fit. As my MS affects the sensation in my body from my chest downwards, I had to have a dive medical, so I was allowed to dive.
I was worried having a disability would stop me from diving, but was told there are considerations and allowances to allow most people with a disability to dive. Glyn want to do a refresher course as it was a while since he had dived, but to reassure me, he took the whole course again – he must have been mad!
Rec2Tec Diving were fantastic, from helping me get in the water with the tank, to bringing two ladies in on my exam to dive with me. Since that date, I have now qualified as a PADI Open Water diver, completed 24 dives and completed the PADI Enriched Air diving course.
I have been to Antigua, where on my first dive I encountered three sharks. Did I say sharks were my biggest fear diving! One reef shark, one nurse shark and a black tip shark. The water was a beautiful 29 degrees, like being in a hot bath. It was crystal clear, the visibility about 15 metres. I have dived a wreck, where lobsters were hiding. A puffa fish swam past and a reef shark tried to hide in a porthole, but did n ot succeed because his tail was hanging out.
I have swum with stingrays on an island in the middle of the sea. It was totally weird the way they come up to you and almost hug you. On the final day, I still had not seen a turtle. The staff on the boat had promised they would find one for me. So they were up against it. On the 2nd dive of the day, the Dive Master motioned to me and pointed to a reef. I think it is the most momentous moment of my life when I saw the turtle looking up at me. I was finning about 2 feet above it – a fantastic end to a fantastic holiday.
Then COVID hit! And diving stopped! I am looking forward to getting back into the water, without the caring staff at Rec2Tec Diving, I do not think I would have ever qualified as a diver. Particular thanks goes to Dave, he gave me so much confidence, he is so patient and he needed to be sometimes.
So the moral to my tail is, just because you have a disability, there is always a way for you to do something, with the right team behind you. Rec2Tec Diving certainly made it possible for me.