No better way to learn how to dive if you’re a kid. First, do your initial session in a pool in Singapore. Then pass your online exams. Next, book a trip to Rawa Island in Malaysia. Finally, pack your parents into a cab and set off for a weekend in the sun: sorted.
Having already taken his PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience with OrcaScuba at the Hollandse Club’s pool, 12-year-old Jonah started his real Open Water Drive training on a desert island some 16km off the east coast of Malaysia. Drive or take a cab or bus to Mersing town then a small boat across the water to Rawa Island Resort.
This desert island has 77 rooms, a large open-air dining hall under an arched Malay rattan roof, three big buffet meals a day and a brilliant dive centre, run by Orca Scuba. From here you can learn to dive, join existing divers on boat trips, or simply snorkel off the beach. For non-divers there’s a hill climb to work off the buffet noodles, a trampoline for kids, pool and ping-pong tables, a TV lounge, small on-site shop and a huge slide going off the jetty into the sea. The white sand beach has plenty of cabanas and loungers to lie back and read, and there’s even a small spa.
And the diving? Jonah passed his online exams before we travelled to Rawa, which meant that within three hours of our arrival on the island, he was in the sea on Dive No 1. By the second day he had done two out of four dives, and as we already had our second visit booked we relaxed and snorkelled through the rest of our trip. Instructors are enthusiastic, well-trained and extremely safety conscious – you really can’t move up a stage unless you’ve thoroughly completed each module, and instructors will tailor the tuition to the student. When Jonah was chilly, it being monsoon season and the waters cool, he was brought out of the sea to run up and down the beach and drink hot Milo. Teachers made sure he felt calm and in control and enjoyed himself, and it paid off – we have a potential diver in the family and unless the author decides to learn too, she is looking at a new future of holidays spent with book and iPod, waiting for the dive boat to bring her boys in.
Click here to read up on the PADI Discover Scuba Diving course with Orca at the Hollandse Club’s pool, Singapore.