Tossa de Mar was the 4th stop in our week long trip in southern Spain. It is a small village located on hills with fantastic beaches on their feet. That is where the day began and ended for our lot. Every morning we headed down in our shorts to swim in clear waters. There would be no one else, just us, the waves and sunshine. The atmosphere was so good that we regretted not having done this all seven days.
First Scuba Dive in Spain
There are 3 main beaches there – The Tossa Beach, enclosed by a castle on the west; The La Mar Menuda which has the major water sports equipment hire and El Codolar which behind the walls. The coast offers a few possibilities for water sport, scuba diving in particular. There are also boat cruises and sailing opportunities.
There were around 7 of us and we wanted to go diving, of course. We decided to just go to a dive shop and ask around. No one really paid attention to our questions (probably because it was crowded?) and we ended up booking just one dive without having researched much. After all, it looked easy enough on videos. We had no idea of the different levels of certifications, or that what we had booked was the PADI Discover Scuba Dive (which is what we later learned when I did a full course and went on to explore the various diving locations in India). The dive shop should’ve probably told us about all of this, but the owners/instructors were too busy minting money and herded us like cattle.
The day of the dive began with us filling out a detailed form with some personal information and medical history. Easy as it may seem, there is some risk associated with the activity. So the school weeded out candidates who were liable to medical issues. Those left were given wetsuits and shown three hand signs to communicate under water, standing for “I am okay”, “I want to go up” and “I am not okay”. With these instructions, we were driven to the diving spot.
Every dive begins with getting used to breathing through the regulator. It is a lumpy mouth-piece and one has to bite down to hold it tight and breathe in. The whole exercise felt unusual, so it is good that we were given the time to become accustomed to it. At this point the rituals were complete and the instructors were ready to take us under the sea.
The oxygen tank and life vests added up at least 20 kilos to our body weight, literally sinking us to the floor. Any attempt at flapping with the fins did not help get us up. In retrospect, it was only when I went diving in Puerto Galera, did I realise how hurried our experience was and what a big mistake it was to not research well about the dive shop. The whole experience could’ve been so much better had I gone with better and caring instructors! Also, it was not easy as it seems on the videos. We had to struggle to cover every meter, but it brought us closer to the alien world that exists under the sea. Sadly, this one time dive only gave us about 10 minutes further in the waters, and we came out having seen just a couple of schools of fish. But it was good enough to make us want more.
A piece of advice for first timers – book a few dives in succession to taste the real adventure that scuba diving provides or better go for an Open Water course! You will never regret it!