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Lara on boat
Lara with camera
Lara started diving with us in April 2005 when she completed her PADI Open Water Diver course, returning at Christmas the same year she completed her Advanced Open Water Diver course and started specialty training gaining Reef Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy. Returning in the Autumn last year to complete her Rescue Diver course and another 5 specialty courses with us (Clean Up, Boat, Fish ID & UW Naturalist) and of course her Digital UW Photography course of which she now has a special interest. Along with here two sisters Erin and Chloe she gained her Master Scuba Diver with us last October and was featured on the PADI worldwide website.

Lara is deaf with a cochlea implant.
She is now a regular visitor to Dive Aqaba and has completed Search & Recovery and Drift Diver specialty courses with us this year already as well as a special underwater photo assignment. You will find many of her photos in our archive Photo of the Day galleries.

Below is her story in her own words written after her first visit to us in 2005.
My name is Lara, I am 15 and I am deaf with a cochlear implant from a young age. My story started last year when we went on holiday to Holland, during our stay my mum decided to treat us so she arranged for my sisters (Erin and Chloe) and me to do an introduction to Scuba course. I loved the idea as I love the water. Beforehand we told the centre that I was deaf also we got all the paperwork that we needed to ensure that I could do the scuba course. However when we got there the instructor would not take me as he thought that it was not safe.  We were all disappointed and even though we got some free passes for night time swimming, I decided that I would give up the idea of diving.
However, this Easter we went on holiday with my aunt and cousin (who both dive) to beautiful Jordan. Just before we arrived my mum had spoken to the dive centre and they said that it would be fine for me to dive as long as we had the medical information that confirmed it was safe but I was still not sure. On the first day, Ash, our instructor at Dive Aqaba, took us snorkelling in the Red sea, it was great. we had lunch on the boat before once again snorkelling over some different coral. At the end of the day we all wanted to do more. So on the second day Ash took Erin, Chloe and I down for our first dive one at a time. I was first so I was really nervous as I didn't know for sure what it would be like. When I had all the gear on, it was so heavy that I felt I would topple off the boat! However, when we jumped, or rather walked, off the boat the suit and the gear felt comfortable, so down Ash and I went to the bottom. The only concern I had was what did I look like! My sisters were snorkelling over the top of us, watching our every movement. About half way, a funny tragedy struck, Chloe had lost her flipper! I was nearly choking as I was laughing so much underwater but I soon calmed myself as we turned around to look for it. Thankfully, we found it was worth it! Then the time was up, I felt it went past so quickly yet I had seen and achieved so much during that short trip. So when we returned to the boat, I didn't want to go on it but to go under once again. I loved it so much that the disappointment of last years holiday was all forgotten and what's more I had no problems with my ears. Over the next three days we had to do swimming (which was tiring as we had to swim around a big boat in a rocky sea four times!), exercises to ensure that we could cope if our masks filled with water (caused by smiling!) or our air ran out (you share with your buddy) and of course four more dives. During these brilliant dives, we saw coral and loads of fish... lion fish and clown fish (like Nemo) which were my favourite. However the last day was the best, we saw a turtle and my aunt didn't so she thought we were playing a trick on her as it was the first of April that day!
When you are under the water you can only communicate through sign, gesture or writing which was really easy for me and anyone else. Some of the diving signs are even the same as BSL. Each day we went to different places on the boat making the diving more exciting. So on the last day of the diving, we made the most of it, eating a lot of food, being under as long as possible and also jumping off the boat from the top deck! On the Saturday we had to spend the day in the classroom which was boring but worth it as if you take the test and passed you could dive more! So you could imagine the happiness on our faces when we found out that we had all passed and are now qualified PADI open water divers. I can do everything that the others can do but because of the implant I will not be able to go below 25 meters, but it doesn't matter as Ash (our instructor) told me that the best diving is above this level anyway because when you go deeper you start to lose colours.
In December we are going to go back to Aqaba to do our Advanced open water course and then I want to learn to do under water photography as I might want to be a photographer.
Guess what I want to do in my gap year? We will just have to wait and see!
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