Initially I never planned to take up for the course. I knew about it existence a year ago. Until in September a status on a friend’s FB wall posted about the course. Only a week before the course was held , I called the dive operator and asked about the details. Even on the morning of the course , I still hesitate to go for it. One reason was that it would only be me in the course. I didn’t know anyone in the course and the course main target was for the instructors.
Finally i pushed myself and just go for it. It was held at Seamonkey PJ Palms. The class started at 11am. I came and asked for Mr Sanjay or Mr Amin. Mr Sanjay greeted me and behind him was a tall Caucasion male. He introduced me to him Mr Flemming Thyge the CEO of DDI denmark. Sanjay told me that currently in Malaysia there are only 3 instructors available, him, Mr Shariff and Mr Putra. We were waiting for another participant by the name Cathy. Sanjay explained to me that the course will be running for 2 days at seamonkey and 2 OW dives preferably at Langkawi Island.
A few minutes later, Cathy arrived. We then proceed with our classes. It seem that there was only me, cathy and amin that joining for the course. On the 1st day of class we were shown a few videos about the programme held at DDI Denmark, the founder, and some comments given by students. Afterward we were taught how to feel like a blind diver underwater, how to swim like a paraplegic person and how to exit and enter the water. Now i know why the minimum requirement for the course at least a Rescue Diver cause many of the skills learned was taught in the rescue course. The next day, we got ourselves a real practical class of Discover Scuba together with paraplegic people from the Paralympic team. Sanjay together with another instructor DDI Shariff and the 3 of us got ready to assist them during the DSD. The team was invited by Ms Ras Adiba radzi, who actually is a celebrity in Malaysia and also a paraplegic DD1 1st Level Open water scuba diver. I was really thrilled with joy and anxious about it at the same time. Sanjay told us that once he gave the signal , we must be in the water fast to assist the DSD divers. I thought everything would be hectic like any of my friend’s DSD but not exactly like i imagined it would be. Those DSD able to breath comfortably. They didn’t panic. They clear the mask well. They able to swim smoothly and i didn’t have to work hard at all. They were very cool people. So the 2 days class ended well. Now for the 2 open water dives.
Coincidently Cathy has a friend who is a paraplegic name Henry. She together with her sister would like to help Hendry to take up DDI OW in Malaysia with the help from Sanjay. With this opportunity, Sanjay wanted me to do the OW dives together with them. So we set a date from 23rd Nov~ 25th Nov 2013 to Langkawi Island but since Henry wanted to do his OW so he has to do 4 dives and extend another 1 day so I decided to extend my stay too and did 4 dives instead of 2 dives. We took MAS airline to langkawi. It has been years i didn’t use MAS and it was really awesome compared to LCCT. In the group was Cathy and me for Assitant Diver Students, Henry and Mohd Aslan for paraplegic Open Water students, Cathy’s sister and Cathy’s fiancé as fun divers and Sanjay with Shariff as instructors. Once we touched down at Langkawi airport, we were greeted by Ms Ras Adiba. So happened she and her family has a gateway home in Langkawi. Me, Aslan, sanjay and Shariff stayed at ms Ras’s home gateway while the others stayed at Westin Hotel. Ms Ras Adiba’s home was magnificent!. Situated near the airport by at the end of a village. Really authentic in jungle feeling. Need to climb a lot of stairs though. Lucky for me, the guys was nice to give me a room for myself. For dinner, Ms ras had cooked us a hefty meal. I even got to cook together with her heeee… if only i could take a picture, me cooking Ms Ras Adiba our TV celebrity!!
Anyhow it was very nice of her to cook for us.
The next day at 8.30am we make our way to Kuah town cause the dive center East marine situated near to main jetty of langkawi. We arrived around 9am and the staff was already prepared for us. They took our gears and helped assist us onboard their boat. It was a big boat that can accommodate at least 40 people. There were not only divers but also most of the tourist were snorkelers. Our dive site was Pulau Payar located around 30mins by boat from Langkawi. Everything went smooth. We did all the buddy check and we finished 2 dives with no problem at all. Same thing the next day. Still with wonderful clear skies and good weather. Only that on the 1st dive we got ourselves a little surface current but we manage to overcome it.
I learned a lot of things within those 2 days. Sanjay and Shariff had been really great instructors. When they learned that i already enrol for DMT course, they never stop teaching me the things i should do and know as a DMT. They even gave me a chance to do some of the OW skills that i think i was not comfortable to do during the dive and they would help me with the skills. I told them that after i got my OW licence, i never did Open water BCD underwater. I told them, not that i dont know how to open BCD but normally when i go for a dive trip, open BCD underwater for nothing is not something that i want to do leisurely. So finally on the 4th dives which was the last dive, everyone was seemed enjoying with the dive and suddenly Shariff signalled me to open the BCD. Actually that was his 3rd signalled to me. I objected the previous 2 signalled he gave me hehehe. I took my time, i gave a deep breath and relax. Slowly i opened my bcd while hovering.I turned it around and put the BCD and tank in front of me. What do you know. It was easy and not too hassle to put it on too. Suddenly i felt amazing. Then once on the surface, Shariff told me that he didn’t see any problem with my skill. To him I look ok while doing it. Like i said earlier, i didn’t say i do not know how to open the bcd just that it was not something that i would leisurely do underwater while on my dive trips.
This course was an eye opening for me. As a person with no disabilities at all, there is no restriction for me to dive anywhere. I can lift the tank all by myself. My problem would be the money for the trip but for a disable person, money is just one of the many obstacles they have to get thru. They need assistance for moving from place to place. They need buddy that they can rely on. They have certain depth depends on the doctor’s advice. You guys might say, why? Why do they need to dive?? cant they find any other sports or hobbies? Tell me,.. why cant they dive just like us? What is our right to say who can dive and who cant, when even their doc seems to be ok with it? Water is one of the best therapy describe by doctors. It can even heal a soul. yeah its true that i may need a little extra work helping them during the dives but hey, helping someone will make me even a better person of someday. The things i learned not only apply to disable divers but also to other divers that have knee problems,back problems, and accidents. Not many divers know that divers with accidents and major operations are prone to DCS. Bubbles(nitrogen) accumulates around the surgical area in the body. Actually this info has been describe in the OW manual PADI book. Who can remember? This was the 1st time i need to change my d6i from P0 to P2. What P0 P2? Read the sunnto manual.
A couple of days later Sanjay tag me on one of his FB status. It was my official DDI Assistant Diver PIC card. I later than use the pix and posted about how i felt. Suddenly i got a pm from Flemming and he asked for my permission to post it up at DDI website.
Of course i said ok.
Taking a diver with disabilities is not as easy as a normal fit diver . Though it doesn’t mean that it would be a hassle for you to dive with one.
Any dive whether the buddy is disable or not , can have an enjoying dive if plan properly.
How is it any difference from the usual dive I practice against diving during the DDI course
In langkawi , you can rent a car or motorcycle ranges from RM70~RM300 perday. Depending on the type of vehicle rented. A tax free island.
Dive Center : East Marine Langkawi www.eastmarine.com.my/
http://www.seamonkeydiver.com (seamonkey @ PJ palms Selangor, the 1st DDI training center in malaysia)
by air : 60min from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi using MAS or AirAsia
by land: have to drive from KL to Kuala Kedah (kedah) or Kuala Perlis (Perlis) to get a ferry to the island.