I was 50 and divorced then discovered scuba diving and it changed my life!

At Girls that Scuba we aim to encourage and empower more women to start scuba diving and when we heard Belinda's story about getting through hard times by starting to scuba dive we wanted to share it to motivate and EMPOWER. So, that's what we are doing; here's Belinda's story.

"I'm divorced and my two girls are young adults and no longer need so much of my attention. I was turning 50 and I asked my brothers and sisters to buy me my Open Water Course for my 50th birthday present."

I have always had a strong love, bond and respect with the sea.  Since I was a young child I have always lived close to the water and therefore have spent most of my summers swimming, surfing and snorkelling with my family and friends. In my mid 30’s I had my first trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  It was a 2 hour boat journey from Port Douglas out to the reef.  Once there I could not wait to get in the water and it was absolutely beautiful.  I loved swimming with the amazing corals and sea life.  I knew from this time that I really wanted to learn how to scuba dive.  However, I was a busy mum with two small children and somehow that dream and desire of mine was put on the back burner.


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Move forward 15 years – I am now divorced and my two girls are young adults and no longer need so much of my attention. 

 

I had had many holidays to Bali over the years and in December 2013 whilst on a holiday to Bali, some girlfriends and I decided to have a 3 night trip to Gili Trawangan.  I had never heard of this island and was curious to see what it was like.  The minute I was there I knew I had a connection with this place and knew that this is where I could fulfil my dream to learn how to scuba dive.  One day I did a walk around the island and chatted to a few of the dive shops.  One of the shops was Manta Dive.  I knew instantly that this was the place I wanted to learn how to dive.

scuba diving in gili t
Belinda diving into Gili T | Photo by Alfred Minnaar

In July 2014 I was turning 50 and I asked my brothers and sisters to buy me my Open Water Course for my 50th birthday present.  I then booked my flights and accommodation and I was off.  It was the first time I had travelled alone since I was a young backpacker and if honest must admit that I was a little scared.  I was recently divorced and also wondered if people would be friendly to a 50 year old woman travelling alone? Would I understand all the theory? Would I freak out under water?  This was all unnecessary worrying.  The people were really friendly, the theory was very important, but not difficult, but most of all I just absolutely loved the diving.  I just felt so relaxed under the water and the corals, fish and other sea life were just beautiful.  It was such a different feeling to snorkelling – So much better !!! Well, I knew I was hooked. Once back in Australia I booked my next holiday back to Manta Dive for Christmas/New Year that same year and completed my Advanced Course.  Once again, I loved the course and the diving, even more than Open Water as you can go deeper and see so much more, for instance my first large reef shark. 

 

 

I have now been to Gili Trawangan 8 times and during that time also completed my Rescue Course. It’s hard to describe how diving has changed my life, but it really has.  I have found a passion that I truly love and I can’t imagine my life without scuba diving. It has also given me confidence in myself and what I can achieve in life, no matter the age. I have also met so many amazing men and women that are a huge part of the diving experience.  So many interesting, fun loving, adventurous people that I can honestly call my friends.  We share this common bond and love of diving and that is something very special.  People that don’t dive, really don’t get it. 

mask straps
Belinda repping the Girls that Scuba mask strap!

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I have also become so much more environmentally aware since I started diving.  I have always been pretty green, but now more than ever, especially the use of plastic in our society.  I try to use as little as possible as we all know that most ends up in the ocean. The adventures will continue as I plan on doing my Dive Master once I get my long service leave and I can’t wait. I have to say that I am really proud of myself and so happy for having the courage to go on that holiday on my own at 50 and to learn how to Scuba as it was the best decisions of my life.


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