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The Gap Year Blog

Just Keep Swimming!

26 Feb 2020 12:25 PM

I never thought I would dive - I never even wanted to dive in the past - and so I simply told myself it was something I wouldn’t do. One day, as I was telling a friend about my upcoming trip to Madagascar, he advised me to take a dive course if I was able to. I didn’t take the advice lightly and did a lot of research into it, but the more I read, the more I became convinced that I should try it out!

The life-changing trip to Madagascar begun, and with all its newness and excitement, I had all but forgotten about diving. Forgotten, that is, until I first arrived at camp and met “The Ocean Daddy”, Tom Brown. From that moment, I knew I must discover the immense world that lies beneath the water. With the confidence Tom gave me and the encouragement from family and friends abroad, I decided to sign up for it.

The first sessions in shallow water seemed simple and easy from the theory, but they were definitely a challenge and tested my stress management skills more than once! Once I had built up some confidence - even if it was only 2 metres of water - I was able to officially say that I could breathe underwater!

Doing the open water dives, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game! On the boat heading towards our designated dive area (chosen thoroughly by Tom), we see three turtles – and that’s before even going under water! At this stage, I’m excited and with butterflies in my stomach, we gear up and go through the safety checks. I’m given all the reassurance in the world and as I sit on the edge of the boat, letting myself fall back into the water, I am reminded of how amazing this is.

Down by the Nosy Komba coastline, I feel like I’m flying through a whole new world as I discover beautiful and colourful creatures who aren’t even bothered by my presence. Halfway through our dive, as if waiting for us, there is a puffer fish who we pass quickly, hoping he doesn’t blow up as we swim past! As I am kicking along, admiring everything, I hear the attention rattle been shaken vigorously by Tom, who is pointing. I turn around, and there it is - a relaxed and very chilled looking sea turtle, swimming around the corals, having his lunch. We are dazzled and try and stay close and hover to keep him in our sights. He turns and faces us and slowly makes his way up to the surface, at which point we both just melt.

What a discovery diving is! Just keep swimming!

By Anna Brophy - Frontier Madagascar volunteer

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!