My first Uk dive was in Plymouth. I was spoiled. The new experience started before the weekend as I'd never travelled in any way like this before. The club had a weekend booked and a space so I decided to bite the bullet and sign up. The months before I had put hours in underwater getting used to my dry suit as I'd been a warm water diver for years. It had been a bit of a challenge to get used to it, although I wouldn't be without it now!
We were roomed up - another new experience for me - and then made plans to travel down in pairs or threes. This experience has stayed with me and all trips I organise now include joint travel down. A later trip was a less pleasurable experience as everyone had planned out their travels and left me out. That experience stayed with me too, and was an example of the cliquey experience some people have when starting out in a club, so I'm careful to ensure everyone is buddied up for travel, where they want to be.
Back to the trip, we headed out for a meal on our first night together. Beer and curry seem to be a popular meal for divers! It was invaluable having a buddy to ask questions. I didn't know what to do with my kit, or what I needed on board. Seems natural now, but if it's the first time on a UK trip then it can be quite overwhelming.
We jumped on board and someone showed me where to put my kit and how to tie it up. I carefully bundled my other stuff underneath, my weights, gloves and so on, trying to be organised and not spread out too much! I kitted up way too early on that first dive but I was so worried about holding everyone else up. My buddy arranged for us to go in last so we could take our time. The entry was rolling in, which was new to me. I really dislike heights so I told the skipper to push me in!!! He didn't need to thank goodness.
Once in we took some time to settle and do a quick weight check. I'd warned the skipper prior to jumping in that it was my first sea dive. I was actually overweighted in my fear of not being able to sink. We descended slowly and my buddy led the way.
It was wonderful. I could not have been more spoiled during that whole weekend in Plymouth. I fell in love with the JEL and Scylla and I have happily returned several times to re dive the sites. I am happy underwater, be it wrecks or reefs or just tootling around seeing what's out there. I quite like a good drift too, so I am easily pleased.
That weekend made UK diving for me though. There were worse dives to come, poor visibility or weather that put paid to a weekend, but that weekend was superb. I had good buddies who looked after me and I learned how things worked, and I had a great experience in the water. We went out for curries and beers, ate full English breakfasts, spent the day on the boat or underwater... what else could I ask for?
Your first UK dive may not be as great as mine was, but if that's the case then it's worth pursuing. It's a great way to enjoy the weekend and diving is a natural leveller amongst people. I've been to places I wouldn't have imagined, seen things many others haven't and met people I'd never have done otherwise. Why not give it a go? It might surprise you and I hope you fall in love with it as much as I have.