What to expect from your first diving holiday
There’s a whole world under the waves to explore and few people get to see it. If you’d love an up close and personal experience with colourful marine wildlife, to discover the tranquil sense of peace below the water, we can help you achieve that. We can get you to protected waters, coral reefs and exciting shipwrecks, with the additional benefit of a luxury beach resort base.
Many of the resorts we work with offer diving tuition. It’s usually paid for as an add-on to your package and tailored to suit your previous diving experience. If you have a particular destination in mind, please give us a call on 0161 755 3081 to discuss your options. In the mean time, let’s have a look at what you should expect from your first time diving.
Your first diving lesson
It’s exhilarating trying an activity as exciting as diving for the first time, but feeling nervous is not uncommon. After all, in order to see sights that will blow your mind, you’re going to have to learn to breathe underwater!
The first lesson will usually take place in a swimming pool or the extreme shallows of the sea. This is after having met your instructor, asked all the questions you need to ask and been given a comprehensive run down of the equipment and techniques you’ll need.
What you’ll probably notice straight away is that breathing under water is noisy and that the mask restricts your side vision. A great way to gain confidence using the regulator and the mask is by only half submerging your face until you feel comfortable to put all of you under the water.
It doesn’t take long to get used to the sound of your breathing, or to work out that to see around your blind spots, you’ll need to move your head from side to side. It feels strange being under the water though. Objects will be magnified and appear closer than they are, but embrace the strangeness; it’ll only heighten the experience. Enjoy the feeling of weightlessness; a sensation that usually only astronauts are privileged enough to know.
Your instructor will be keeping a close eye on you, so if you do forget a hand signal you’ve learnt, or feel a bit too strange, he or she will raise you to the surface.
Great tips for diving holiday novices
Your instructors will, of course, give you plenty of pointers, not to mention professional guidance, but to help you along the way, we’d thought we’d provide some tips of our own.
Listen and Relax
Two of the greatest tips you can be given when embarking on a diving holiday are to listen to your instructors and relax. When you relax and practise slow breathing, with full and deliberate exhalations, you’re less likely to hyperventilate and use up your air.
Move slowly through the water. You’ll experience water resistance. Moving fast will only tire you out.
Prior to diving make sure you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. You’ll be surrounded by plenty of water under the sea, but won’t be able to refresh yourself!
As Momma said, Be Careful!
Touching rocks and the ground will help give you a better sense of your spatial awareness, but make sure you don’t touch any of the wildlife, including fish or plants.
If you have any questions, no matter how trivial you might believe them to be, make sure you ask your instructor. It’s much better to know what you’re doing, than put yourself, or others, in danger. Get the right travel insurance. Diving is an extreme sport and although your instructor will guarantee your safety, your insurance needs to reflect this.
Best diving holiday destinations in the world
You might only be learning, but diving, once you get into it properly, can be an expensive pastime. For that reason, why not spend your money wisely and work your way through the very best sights first. We’ve compiled a list of diving sites that are considered to be among the very best.
The Yongala, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is a name everyone’s heard when it comes to discovering underwater treasures, however the Yongala off Queensland, in our opinion, holds even more appeal. This is a shipwreck with a protected status. It lies on a flat, sandy surface, with no other major structure close by and is a haven for a diverse array of wildlife.
Although you can’t actually swim into the wreck anymore (the bubbles you create could potentially erode the ship’s timber), you can get close enough to watch Maori Wrasse, tiger sharks, bull sharks, turtles, sea snakes, octopuses and manta rays come together and do their thing right in front of your eyes!
Given that Australia is the other side of the planet, our recommendation to you to make the most of your trip, is to tie your diving course in with an escorted tour of the region. One of our favourite Queensland tours is with First Class Holidays. Once you’ve finished your diving course, or as a prelude to it, you’ll enjoy an iconic Australian road trip, taking in cattle farms, a trip the world’s most enormous sand island; Fraser Island, and the chance to sample local wines in the Canungra Valley.
You’ll pass through rainforests and isolated shoreline towns, with incredible beaches, as well as sail past the uninhabited Whitsunday islands, where you’ll most likely witness kangaroos peeping at you through the foliage. Obviously, no holiday for ocean enthusiasts is complete without at least glimpsing the Great Barrier Reef and on this escorted tour, you’ll certainly do that. Combine your diving holiday with a tour of this vast and enigmatic sunshine state for maximum Antipodean absorption!
Richelieu Rock, Thailand
A half ring of rocky pinnacles in the water attracts more than just divers. Whale sharks are commonly sighted here, as are barracudas, manta rays, harlequin shrimps and ghost pipefish. Swimming here, in the warm waters, will give you a sense of the tropical marine life that lives in and around the area.
If you’re looking for a Thailand base, where you can enjoy an exciting itinerary of sports and leisure activities included in your package and diving tuition nearby, you’ll love Club Med Phuket. It’s family friendly and offers you the chance to both relax and unwind, whilst trying something new. The on site Club Med chefs will keep your tastebuds constantly tantalised via classic international dishes and a more local menu, while the kids’ clubs will ensure your little ones are thoroughly entertained throughout your break.
Combining your diving holiday with an escorted tour is also an option. We offer a number of luxury all-inclusive packages that will provide you with a personal tour guide around highlights of Thailand. You could experience the delights of the Asian ‘City of Angels’; Bangkok, such as the impressive canals, monuments and Grand Palace, before taking in the flowers and temples of Chiang Mai, among other places. View all our tours of Thailand here or send our Travel Specialists and enquiry here
Manta Ray Drive, Hawaii
Manta rays are beautiful creatures, but now picture them viewed underwater, close up and with lights located on the ocean floor lighting them up for our entertainment. Because these lights attract plankton; a food source for the rays, you can expect the rays to turn up en masse and swim close. It’s an incredible experience.
Should you wish to combine your diving holiday here with an escorted tour, you might want to find out more about Collette Worldwide’s tour of Hawaii, which will see you eating traditional Polynesian food and enjoying local customs. You’ll explore the infamous paradise that is Maui, discover coffee plantations, check out the surfing action in Haleiwa and stretch your legs across the North shore of Oahu. All this and a trip to Hawaii’s own version of the Grand Canyon!
Barracuda Point, Malaysia
This is the place to be to witness the big stuff. Barracudas, hammerheads, turtles and grouper all congregate here against a backdrop of colourful coral. Follow the wall down to 22 metres and you won’t be disappointed.
If you combine your diving course with an escorted tour of Borneo, you’ll get to experience wildlife on the land as well. Borneo in Malaysia is a haven for conservation. You’ll witness the wildlife along the Kirabatangan River, while you raft down it, as well as wild nature in the Sepilok conservation centre.
To take a wider escorted tour of Malaysia, you might prefer the Cox and Kings tour; A journey through Malaysia. You’ll get 2 nights in Singapore, before moving on to Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands and finally Penang.
For a diving-centred base, why not consider Club Med Cherating Beach in Malaysia? Aspen Travel is closely associated with Club Med; a leading international tour brand which offers a high quality resorts and a packed agenda of activities.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Discover the ancient caverns and colourful reef of this unique dive location. There’s a combination of salt and fresh water here, bringing with it an impressive variety of fish. You should see sharks and tuna!
Belize is a jungle paradise and if you’d like to travel the land, while you’re here, you could consider one of our escorted tours. Stay in tropical paradise accommodation, surrounded by dense, humid foliage and exotic wildlife. You’ll experience diverse landscapes; from white sand beaches, to wet and wild rainforests.
Whether you’re considering your first diving holiday, or your 51st (because trust us, it’s addictive!) Aspen Travel can help. We’ll be able to advise you on which resorts we offer that include diving courses and answer your questions as best we can about what you might hope to see under the sea!
Please get in touch to book your exhilarating diving holiday of a lifetime. We look forward to making your booking simple and being part of your first underwater adventure.