Lana and Tim (The Canadians), have always enjoyed snorkeling. Swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans has always been a normal part of their lives growing up. That being said, Lana and Tim never even though about learning to scuba dive.
Having explored much of the globe, Lana and Tim are intrepid travelers who would say they are only 40% of the way through their travel odyssey in seeing the entire world. Despite their current enthusiasm for scuba, they still intend to rail, raft, bungee, camel, balloon and cycle their way to new destinations and adventures. Prior to learning how to dive, Lana and Tim had even been to some of the more popularized dive destinations in the world where they snorkeled. i.e., Thailand, Red Sea, Hawaii and Caribbean. Before the “call to scuba” in 2006, the notion of diving had barely registered a chord. This makes them wonder today: “How many other people out there, like us, love to see it all, but fail to make the giant stride into the big blue?”
Lana and Tim did not voluntarily start scuba diving. Tim’s brother, Brad, was registering for a class at Adventures in Scuba because his new girlfriend was a certified diver, and they were planning a dive trip to the Dominican Republic in April. Brad basically told Tim at Christmas 2006, “You would take scuba diving lessons with me, right?” Brad’s question seemed more like a command and Brad was, therefore, the catalyst in getting Tim to sign up for his PADI Open Water certification. Being the couple that does everything together, Lana signed up as well to join Tim, not thinking that she would even like it. The first day in a PADI classroom, everyone is generally asked, “Why are you here?” That is a dangerous question to ask because Tim is sometimes brutally honest, and shared, “Well, you see… my brother next to me got ‘Dear John’d’ and his wife left him last summer. However, after months of being alone, he has finally met a girl, she dives, they’re going on a trip together, he must learn how to scuba dive, wanted a classroom buddy. Therefore, here we are.” Of course, Brad turned red, their instructor, Norm, and the classroom, laughed… and Brad is probably going to turn red again when he reads this story online.
Their PADI classroom and pool instructor, Norm, is ex-military and also an avid adventurer. With over 10,000 dives under his belt, Norm’s focus on precision, respect for the sport and sense of humour, made their learning environment a positive experience. At the time of Lana and Tim’s lessons in Calgary, Canada, the outdoor temperature in January 2006 was averaging -30 to -20 Celsius. (For our American readers… REALLY cold). Although the pool area was room temperature, wearing a 3mm wetsuit indoors against the frosted windows was still very cold. Therefore, they opted to do their open water dives in a tropical climate in lieu of the glacial-feeling Lake Minnewanka (Google that), set in the Canadian Rockies, in late June when the lake finally thaws.
A month after classroom completion, Lana and Tim went to Malaysia and registered with Borneo Divers for their 4 Open Water dives on Mamutik Island (just off Kota Kinabalu). Something about Borneo Divers just seemed perfect to them. Their dive instructor, Clarence, was both knowledgeable and his patience was stellar. Better yet, he gave Lana and Tim the confidence to tackle Sipadan (widely ranked as a top 5 dive destination). Clarence called ahead to fellow dive master and good friend, Eljer, to take them under his wing.
Eljer’s crazy sense of humour and passion for diving cemented Lana and Tim into this sport. Eljer’s ability to have fun resonated with both of them. Especially Tim, as they always “horse around”. Lana recalls Eljer having to work with 5 newbies in his group (3 Brits had just been certified as well) and she said they were always astray underwater. It was almost like herding cats. However, Eljer successfully kept his eye on all of his novice divers through every dive. Tim and Lana have become great friends with Eljer over the years. They mutually stay in contact with each other and this has resulted in Lana and Tim continuing to revisit Sipadan almost yearly (equally motivated by the chance to just hang out with Eljer and the Borneo Diver’s team as much as the incredible diving at Sipadan).
Lana and Tim recall their first experience with Borneo Divers to be, in a word, magical. It has set the tone for future dive expeditions to Palau, Yap, Fiji, Bali, Manado, Rodrigues (Mauritius), Lampedusa and Lord Howe Island. But the magic has always led them back to their favorite destination,”home” to their friends at Borneo Divers and their favorite dive destination, Sipadan.
Lana and Tim feel very fortunate that they had such a positive experiences from the onset. The sport of scuba diving has become the backbone to Lana and Tim “Meeting People, Going Places and Doing Things”. They continue to look forward to new friendships throughout the world as they seek out their next adventure.
Keep on Equalizing!
As a side-note:
All of you are probably wondering about Tim’s brother. Brad would later obtain his open water certification and dive holiday with Scuba Caribe in April of 2007. He continues to dive once a year on his various trips throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific. And he is still with the same girl… All because of the diving.