It wasn’t a very hard choice when Qiqi messaged me to ask if I wanted to go diving. After all, I had been considering going SCUBA diving for quite a long time but just never got around to it.
She had been out with her Chinese friends for the evening and happened to come upon one of the booths selling a diving trip.
For RM 220, I had to ensure that she meant SCUBA diving and not snorkeling. I didn’t want the words to have been lost in translation.
As it turned out, other people paid RM 150 for the same SCUBA diving trip, but in this case, it was all last-minute so it couldn’t be helped.
It was my first trip under the sea, “but down here is better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me!”
I was a little pensive at first about my ability to dive. I can hold my own swimming in a pool, but almost died on two successive days swimming in the “ocean” (really, a lake in Canada). So I hardly dare to swim in the ocean, much less to go diving.
Yet, curiosity got the better of me and I reasoned to myself: “If I have a tank of air on me, how can I drown?”
The same thing I thought when I went bungee jumping entered my mind: if it’s my time to go, I will go, but have fun doing it.
So into the water I went.
My first instinct after being hauled under the water by the dive master was one of panic. It took me two seconds before I remembered how I was supposed to breathe: through my mouth, not my nose.
Some water got into my mask, but I solved that problem with the techniques the dive master taught.
After that initial incident, it was the most relaxing almost 20 minutes of my life.
Akin to bungee jumping, and probably sky diving, the feeling of weightlessness was one I could quickly lose myself in and get accustomed to.
If there was an after life and a cycle of rebirth as the Buddhist believe, then being in heaven must be being born a fish – maybe a big fish.
I got to see and attempt to touch everything from sea anemone to Nemo like clown fish.
Suddenly, I felt a tug on my tank and my dive master pointed to the side. I turned around to see a pretty big three foot long fish swim by.
The feeling was surreal. Usually, there is a pane of glass between me and a fish that size. But here I am, sharing the same space with such a magnificent, though rather ugly-looking, creature.
I also went to class, joining a school of fish as they swarmed around a spot like a tornado.
My dive master pointed to my left and there was a Moray eel. Another ugly, angry-looking sea creature.
Curious, I moved in for a closer look. It then opened its mouth. Being in such close proximity to a quick-moving creature with razor-sharp teeth wasn’t quite my cup of tea.
When we finally surfaced, I felt like I had awakened from a dream, one into which I would gladly slip back.
If you are considering but unsure about diving for the first time, here are a few helpful factors to consider.
- You have a dive master with you, so if there are any emergencies, he can take care of you.
Do not panic. Keep your head and think things through. People go SCUBA diving all the time.
Don’t forget your hand signals.
Pop your ears often.
Hope to see you under the sea!