My First Atlantis Dive Discovery Experience: A Dive to Remember!
A flutter of excitement moves through me as we reach the Atlantis Dubai Diving Center. I am about to cross something huge off my bucket list; my first scuba dive in the largest open-air aquarium in the Middle East and one among the top five in the world, The Ambassador Lagoon of The Lost Chambers Aquarium in Dubai.
We reach the assembly point where we are greeted by our qualified scuba diving instructors; a designated instructor for each one of us! We gather around our instructors for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Discover Scuba Diving program, which allows a diver of any swimming ability to dive under the supervision of a PADI professional and also learn the basics of scuba diving in a traditional classroom environment.
In the dive briefing, we take a closer look at the scuba dive gear essentials and a rundown of all the equipment we’ll use during our dive. The instructor shows us how to assemble the gear, how to use them, basic hand signals to communicate underwater and the safety rules in the interactive briefing session.
We learn everything that is essential for a new scuba diver to explore the aquatic realm of The Lost Chambers Aquarium:
• Using a breathing apparatus underwater • Equalising our air spaces (ears and sinuses) • Equalising our mask as we go down • Basic hand signals to communicate underwater • Using our Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) to adjust buoyancy – to alternatively float at the water surface or go down underwater • Using our Scuba regulator – to breathe through our mouth • Using our fins for swimming
The practical lessons discussed during the demo are followed by Discover Scuba Diving Knowledge and Safety Review, a short certification test that is specially designed to gauge the level of understanding and knowledge of the dive program for new divers; we get all the answers right and complete the necessary paperwork for certification.
Our instructors assist us with the assemblage of all the pre-checked scuba dive equipment.
- Wetsuit – check
- BCD and Scuba regulator- check.
- Dive boots and fins – check
- Scuba tank – check.
- My instructor by my side – check!
As we walk towards the dive point, my heart starts pounding. I am not quite sure if I will be able to scuba dive like I am supposed to, but my instructor (more like my dive buddy) gives me a little bit of sense of place and gives me the assurance that I will enjoy it. He tells me that I should focus on my breathing underwater and swim like a mermaid; I trust him and prepare myself to do so.
We sit on the steps leading down to the Ambassador Lagoon, and my heart starts to pound even harder. We descend slowly but carefully. My dive buddy guides me through my anxiety as we sink into the water and reminds me to keep breathing through my Scuba regulator. At first, I am struggling, I swallow some water and try floating in the shallow waters. Then I gain some confidence and decide to sink down a meter or so into the lagoon. My throat feels dry and I try to blow air through my nose. After making many conscious attempts, I convince myself to breathe through my mouth. He holds my hand so I don’t get swept away while we practice breathing through our mouths.
Enchanting Scuba Dive in The Ambassador Lagoon with 65,000 marine animals and fishes
Nearly seven minutes into bobbing around in the water, I take my first deep dive. My dive buddy and I keep swimming, deeper and deeper. He keeps checking on me If I am OK; I give him the right-hand signal to assure him so. I equalise the air pressure as I go deeper down in slow motion. Everything is quiet and moving at a snail’s pace, I could hear my own breath getting louder and louder. The beautiful sights of schools of colourful fish leave me feeling serene and mellow. I go into a Zen mode; this brand new feeling of weightlessness underwater is the reason I am swimming involuntarily, in awe of the sheer magnificence of the fascinating beauty of the Ambassador Lagoon.
Emperor angelfish, Zebra Sharks, Giant Eagle Rays, Napoleon wrasse, Grey Reef Sharks, Moray Eels, Giant Groupers and of course, the colourful Coral habitat are some of the marine fauna that catches my attention and I cannot help but throw myself overboard where shoals of guitar fish gliding past me.
The Atlantis aquarium is 11 million litres of marine habitat for nearly 65,000 fish and sea animals from more than 250 species – a surreal display of marine life with bright shades of blue, yellow, orange, pink and light green.
I want time to stand still in these surreal moments and just be there. Be one with the water and its fishes, just like a mermaid! I don’t want to go back; It feels like a beautiful dream I don’t want to wake up from.
Twenty minutes or so into our dive in the Ambassador Lagoon, my dive buddy and I swim back up. I realise that the experience is over when I am handed my Certificate of Completion! My mind still reminiscing the magical underwater experience and transcendent joy that is the Atlantis Dive Discovery, one of the best things to do in Atlantis Dubai!
Book your Atlantis Dive Discovery and make it just as magical as mine.