I Got My Hair Wet! #Help Malta Diving

Malta. I was inspired to check out this sunny European city after seeing one of my favorite vloggers on YouTube head there in a past video. With expectations of fun times, sun, sand and a chance to find a real beach this summer while staying in London, I made my way down to the island.

Unsure of what to do as this was one of my many solo trips, I decided to check out one activity that seems to be HOT on the island, diving.

After a bit of research into local facilities and places within walking distance of my hostel, I came across Divewise.

Divewise is located right next to party central on St. Julians, Paceville. The facilities are clean, easy to spot and the staff are quite friendly.

As a person who has never dived before and had no idea what to expect, I was pretty nervous about going through with it. The thought of chickening out did pass through my mind but within a moment’s notice, my instructor showed up at my hostel to pick me up for my morning lesson. Nice one! A personal valet for a diving lesson? Definitely threw some more cool points Divewise’s way.

My instructor, Lee, was very friendly. He chatted with me in the car about the island, the diving course and gave me some insight on what to expect but when we arrived at the facility, things got real.

Tanks, fins, masks – my belief in my ability to swim and not drown started to wain. I wasn’t confident about everything that was about to go down but then my instructor Lee reassured me with the help of a pamphlet and a diving skills overview.

When the other two students from my intro to diving class arrived (the class was only three people including myself, making it perfect to have a one on one skills session), Lee went over the four basics we needed to know while diving. He familiarized us with all the equipment, showed us how they functioned and then had us do a mini test to make sure we were fit to dive and were paying attention.

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He then came by and checked with us our sizing information and gave us wetsuits, boots, fins and even fitted us for swimming masks.

Let me just say, wetsuits are tight! It’s more than just trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans. It’s really hard to get into them but you can do it if you try. I eventually managed to do it successfully and then Lee came by to help fit us with our diving tank backpack.

IMG_2760.jpgWhen we were all ready, it was time to go into the sea to run through skills. Practicing clearing our masks of water, reinserting our breathing tubes, leveling our pressure, etc, we were doing everything possible to ensure a safe dive.

I must admit that for some reason, my brain had a hard time figuring out how to clear my mask of water but Lee made sure each us mastered it before we even attempted diving. I felt very well watched and taken care of, alleviating any fear of drowning.

When we were all set, it was time to go on a dive! We followed Lee, swimming through the sea and watching all the fish pass by. It was truly an amazing one of a kind experience. Seeing everything so close up and doing something I had never done before, it really was and is thrilling!

Again, I also felt super taken care of as during the dive, Lee kept checking with each of us to make sure we were ok. He helped us get our balance, clear our masks, and even added weight to my belt while in the water as I kept floating around and was unable to stay low to the sea floor.IMG_2735

Now there are a ton of diving shops on Malta but I must say that my experience with Divewise was excellent. They were super attentive and even offered to drop me off at my hostel once the dive was finished. If you’re looking to try your hand at diving or just try a fun water sport with great people (the staff are beyond friendly), then please go to Divewise. You won’t regret it nor will you mind getting your hair wet!

 

 

Don’t Fall In! Paddle Board Yoga in Malta

For the pursuit of new experiences, pushing myself beyond my boundaries and just for the fun of it all, I decided to try SUP Yoga while on a trip to Malta (more details and stories about this trip to come).

Trying my hand at paddle boarding.

SUP Yoga is an extremely fun workout that combines your love of water or paddle boarding with a passion for yoga. Taught by the founder Rosita, the class is about an hour long and goes through the yoga basics all while forcing you to really concentrate and use your core in order to keep yourself from flopping off the board and into the water. I admittedly don’t have a passion for yoga but have done it a few times and consider myself to be quite flexible. I also find myself to have relatively good balance or grace so if I do fall, it isn’t a sight. I thought, why not, I should be pretty good at this.

As you can see from my face in the photo above, terror was a REAL emotion.

Rosita starts you off giving a run through about the class, how to get on the board and ways to maintain balance. She is pretty thorough and makes sure you feel comfortable and assured that this is something you can do. I was somewhat convinced in my own abilities but knowing that there was a possibility that I might lose my balance and go face first into the open waters made things more intense. So much so, I opted for a life jacket just because it’s been a while since I last swam and I didn’t want to look foolish falling overboard and following it up with screams because I thought I might drown.

Even with all these thoughts running around, I got on the board. That was relatively easy. Also easy, paddling out to the spot where we were to setup and tether ourselves to a line so we wouldn’t go floating about the sea while doing our downward facing dogs. What wasn’t easy for me as a newbie was tying myself down to the line. I hadn’t realized to put my line on the back of the board where I could easily grab it and instead let it drag behind me. This proved difficult as one of my biggest fears was falling over and trying to get that line at the back of the board might have been a way to lose your balance. Lucky for me, there was an experienced girl in the class who tied me on. Following that, the instructor came by and made sure everyone was secure and that we had enough space for our boards to float about while doing yoga.

Once we were all secure, it was time for class. Rosita had us doing some deep breathing, bridges, stretches, happy baby, and more. All of these moves were items I had done before in yoga classes back in NYC but what made this more difficult was the fact that we had to really use our core to make sure our balance was engaged. One false move and it isn’t “uh oh, I slipped but let me reset.” It’s more like “oh god, I’m in the water. Let me get back on the board and reset with my wet hands and feet making things more slippery and increasing my chances to fall over again.” However I did like that we did have to concentrate so hard on our moves or rather, our balance.

As Rosita pointed out to me after the class, because we are on the water, we have to really leave all our thoughts on the dock. We can’t bring any baggage with us or let our minds wander on to stresses and worries because one, you aren’t suppose to do that in yoga and two, it’s nearly impossible to do when you’re consumed with nailing the moves and not falling over. I certainly am a firm believer of this because I do currently have something that has caused me to think a bit harder than I need to on it and that yoga class literally wiped it clean from my brain until I got on shore.

At the very end of the class, I had a chance to chat with Rosita who has been doing SUP Yoga for over 3 years in Malta (St. Julians). She’s told me that she really has been seeing the enthusiasm for the program  pick up out here because not only is it a fun workout but it really builds your core and helps out with balance. She’s trained athletes here in Malta and has also expanded the business to add on a number of new employees. All in all, people are truly digging the class and I am one of them.

I definitely had a great time learning more about SUP Yoga and also having the ability to workout while on vacation but not feel like I was working out. The class is a ton of fun and best of all, Rosita gives you a few minutes after class to just paddle on the boards for fun! This really made my Malta trip one of kind and I highly recommend if you’re looking for something affordable and fun to do.