As you’d expect, our staff are extremely passionate about travelling and visiting new destinations. This passion seems to run in our team’s families and we seem to have a budding travel writer in our midst! Selen Owen, one of Billur Owen’s daughters (who is a senior travel planner), has penned this wonderful piece about her recent trip to Turkey where she completed her PADI diving course.

All the team loved reading it particularly as we are diving specialists – click here to see our range of diving holidays. Please enjoy this great piece from Selen!

 

Selen Diving 3“I’ve always wanted to dive, ever since I took my first breaths underwater in the Red Sea when I was 8. Once I was finally old enough to dive legally in Turkey at the age of 15 I decided to complete my PADI open water course with Bougainville Diving in Kas. On the first day of my course I walked towards the boat with excitement and nervousness not knowing what to expect, is this what I wanted to do? As soon as I came on board the crew where very inviting which calmed my nerves immediately. I had requested to do the course in English even though I had the advantage of also speaking Turkish. Everybody on the boat could speak English so tourists where not left out.

 

I began my diving journey as my instructor sat me down with a fellow learner who would soon become my diving buddy, essential for checking if my equipment was set up correctly and swimming with. Altogether there are 2 morning dives and at around 1:00pm you return to the marina for a lunch break and return to the boat at 2:45 for your next dive and return at 5:00. We sat out the first dive to learn about all the kit and equipment, no screw was too small to talk about its purpose in the equipment; everything was done thoroughly. Tim taught us how to put on our equipment and the buddy check.

Selen Diving 2As we set off to our next destination around the crystal clear waters around the many islands surrounding Kas I got ready. First finding a wet suit. Tim wanted us to wear a full body suit as we were going to kneel on the ground for our first confined dive. The crew helped me find suit, in the end I settled for shorties (a wet suit which comes up to the knees) my BCD (buoyancy control device) and my tank were already set so I was ready to go in. I was told to put one hand over my mask and one hand over my weight belt and in I went into the blue with one big step. As soon as everyone was in we deflated our BCDs and down we went. We all knelt in a circle in the 4m deep water. Our instructor motioned us to watch him. I watched him intently as he took his regulator out his mouth, let it float, retrieve it and then clear the water out in one big blow. My turn. I did the motion perfectly and got a high five. Nailed it! We were shown how to clear our masks and fill it entirely with water and clear it again. My first dive to came to an end and we ascended towards the boat.

When I arrived for the third dive of the day I felt comfortable coming back on the boat by myself, saying hello to Tim and the other members. We entered the water, this time we were using our alternate air sources in case someone was to run out of air. Once this was done we swam in a circle around the aquatic life to get used to hovering. My first day had come to an end and I was perfectly satisfied with how the day had gone. On my second day I set up my equipment confidently by myself. During our dives for the day we completed confined water dives objectives such as hovering without touching the ground or moving for a while (using your lungs), turning off our air supply to see what running out felt like and emergency ascents using a buddy’s alternate air source. For the second day we only did 2 dives and had the afternoon off the study and answer all the quiz questions in my diving manual as Tim wanted us to meet as at the Bougainville travel office to give us more quizzes and other work.

Selen Diving 1During the third day during our first dive we finished the confined water dive objectives finishing off with compass work, emergency ascent with no air, stretches to do in case you cramp while diving and ways to carry your buddy to safety in case they faint or are too fatigued to swim back to the boat. During our second dive of the day we did a normal dive in which we swam about admiring the fish and aquatic life. During my third dive my friend from England came to dive with me and we visited a wreck. An old military plane which had been put intentionally into the sea.

Because I was not yet an advanced diver I was not allowed to go inside it however I admired or from a distance looking at the wide wing span and a type-writer I could see through a small window, how long had this wreck been here? It was an exciting and interesting dive for me, the turtles that we saw was the cherry on top the dive. When I arrived back on land, Tim told me to come to the office so could do my final test, it went smoothly and not to brag but I finished the whole test before my buddy  (a 20 year old man) who was only a quarter of the way through. I passed with only a few mistakes, which were gone through until I understood where I went wrong. I was almost a certified diver….Tim gave me my log book and told me how to use it. As I left I thanked him dearly. I had had the most wonderful experience with Tim as my instructor and I made sure he knew. I can’t wait until next summer comes so I can complete my advanced diving course with Bougainville as diving has well and truly become a passion and something that is now a part of me that I cannot let go. I thank Bougainville Diving for all their hospitality and I hope they don’t forget me next year!”

Selen Owen