My introduction to OUUEG came when I went along to the weekly OUUEG pub social. I had heard it was a super friendly club and a great place to learn to scuba dive which interested me. That evening I found a super friendly bunch of people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities, brought together by a shared love of diving. I spent hours listening to wonderful stories about shipwrecks and marine wild life adventures and by the end of the evening I was itching to try it out for myself.

So, two days later, a friend and I met up with a couple of friendly OUUEG members at Iffley Sports Centre — Kirill and Xianming — who had kindly agreed to give up their evening to give us an introduction “Try-Dive”. We spent about half an hour going through all the kit we would need and why. Xianming explained how it all worked from a mechanical perspective which helped put any nerves at ease. I felt very safe and in experienced hands. Next we loaded up the car and headed off to Radley College Pool.

The experience itself was fantastic. The tanks are pretty heavy but when you dive you are wearing special “life-jackets” called a BCD (buoyancy control device) which means that you can control exactly how much you want to float or sink by pressing one button to fill air into the jacket and another to remove it. In addition to the tank and the BCD, you also wear glass mask which give you a fantastic view underwater and big fins on your feet which allow you to easily move around. For this dive, as it was in a pool, we didn’t need a wet suit or a dry suit. My friend and I both went one-on-one with an instructor, so we felt very safe. We spent some time learning the underwater communication signals (you can’t talk underwater!) and got familiar with breathing through the mouthpiece.

It was such a surreal experience.

Even just being three meters deep, it felt like a whole different world. I can only imagine how magical it must be to go ten meters deep or deeper in open water. It feels as though you have unlocked a whole new realm to explore. You are so unrestricted by the need to rise to the surface to breath so you can relax, take a look around and soak it all in(pun intended). I was imagining seals and coral fish swimming all around me and I began to get really excited. We spent about fifty minutes underwater but it felt like ten minutes because the time flew by so quickly! I knew then that I was hooked on this activity. It appeals to an intrinsic desire for adventure, let alone the fact that it makes you the most interesting person at a dinner party!

I can’t wait to get started with my OUUEG scuba lessons and go on diving trips and I recommend it to anyone who wants to make new friends, share new experiences and go on new adventures!

Kieran Desmond, 5th year Medic.