Azura Mermaid's post

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How I got into scuba diving, or #originstory Like most of the women here, I grew up around the sea. My childhood was filled with island snorkeling adventures and fishing trips in Malaysia, so it was only natural that I picked up diving at the age of 19. But I didn’t take my first step into becoming a dive professional until 2013. It all began with a trip to SEA Aquarium in Singapore. I saw a manta in a tank. It was my first time seeing a manta, and I was shocked at how huge and graceful it was. And then I felt sorrow. I felt sorrow that this beautiful, humongous creature was trapped here forever, that it had lost all hope of ever seeing its ocean home. And I felt shame, for paying for the privilege. I vowed to never again step foot in an aquarium and resolved to observe mantas in their natural habitat. I recalled my foray into diving and started looking into diving careers. I joined Asia Dive Academy in Singapore, and spent the next three years learning all I could about dive centre operations, crew management, customer service, actual diving, etc. We had a large stable of crew and over a hundred full sets of equipment. We had large dive trips running every weekend, leaving Singapore by coach on Friday night, crossing the border to Malaysia, travelling another 3 hours to the jetty before boarding a 3 hour boat to Tioman Island. The logistics were extremely complex but well designed and our trips ran smoothly. It was a great environment to grow in, with colleagues who were each brilliant in their own specialized ways, and bosses who were accessible and fair. I was an intern, then a dive centre manager, then I joined the marketing team. I learned more about the business of diving. In the midst of all this, my dive training continued. I did my rescue course, my divemaster and eventually became an instructor in 2015. Later that year, I taught my dad and sister to dive on our liveaboard, MV Nautica. Eventually, I left my job and moved to Malaysia to live with my family. Since then, I’ve been through some ups and downs, but the sea has always been my one constant passion. Throughout my dive career, I’ve logged hundreds of dives but I never had the chance to dive with mantas. Until a month ago. In South Male Atoll, Maldives, I saw my first wild manta ray underwater. I cried. *** About me: I’m a professional mermaid in Maldives (IG:@azuramermaid). I wear a 15kg (33lb) silicone prosthetic that binds my legs together tightly and perform at an underwater restaurant 6m (18ft) under the sea while holding my breath. As anyone who has dived in Maldives can appreciate, the sea is fickle and unpredictable and I often find myself struggling furiously against currents and swells. No matter the sea condition, I feel safe in the ocean, and a huge part of that is thanks to my diving career. My dive training taught me to keep myself safe in the sea, and taught me about my limits and inculcated a healthy respect for the ocean and its denizens. Ps. Check out my other post for why I think all women should dive (: #scuba #girlswhoscuba #maldives #manta #mantaray #oceanlover #aquaholic #originstory
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