Wilderness Engagement – Okinawa Trip
As part of the school curriculum, I went to Okinawa; a week-long expedition outside of school. The Okinawa trip is a scuba diving expedition that allows students to earn PADI open water dive certification and engaging with nature under the sea.
This was my first time going to Okinawa and seeing the beaches there. Since I am a HUGE fan of the beach, I like seeing waves that shine as a crystal and listening to the waves “swish swish” back and forward because it makes me feel calm and relaxed. I was really happy about this expedition, however thinking about diving inside the ocean with a huge risk of our lives was terrifying. Even though I do interact with a lot of water activities such as snorkeling, banana boat, jet ski, and so on and scuba diving wasn’t my first time trying it out, I had a different vibe of nervous and fun before the trip because I usually Scuba dive with an instructor which gives me direct direction and follow my pace, however, I am diving with a partner which has the same level of knowledge as me which made me feel uncomfortable and panic before the trip.
The Okinawa trip was a 5 day trip with a group of 30 students and a couple of teachers and some PADI, a professional scuba diving instructing company; traveled to Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, where we trained scuba diving. We were given a textbook, from which we were told to study and learn about scuba diving, its risks, and the safety procedures. At the end of the trip, after demonstrating our scuba diving skills at sea and passing the textbook-based test, we would receive our ‘Open Water Diver Certification‘.
On the first day of diving, I was extremely nervous. My hands were shaking and I needed to hold my partner’s hand when I needed to dive into the ocean. My legs didn’t move as smoothly as usual and it was hard for me to catch up with my group. In addition, I really don’t like it when water enters inside my goggles which is my extremely fearful moment under the water, though the instructor taught us how to remove water outside until everyone was confident which made my fear reveal from the first day of diving. I felt more comfortable as I kept on swimming and being calm.
The trip was also wildly engaging from the test we needed to take every day and reading the textbook every morning and night to make sure we understand its safety and sign language under the water (most important)
As days passed by, I was able to enjoy the environment in the water and I was able to observe more than thinking about my risk of drowning. Moreover, I was able to let go my partner’s hand and was able to take pictures of the ocean. This gave me a sign that I am very confident and became mentally strong for my judgments ( when to descend and ascend )
Looking back now, I am glad I went on this trip and learn how to scuba dive ourselves. During this trip, I learned that It is good to rely on an instructor for confidence and safety, though, it was time for me to graduate and move on from that. This trip gave me an opportunity to be a risktaker and understand the fun and thrilling of scuba diving.