One With the Water

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A lot of people have asked me time and again about my first diving experience. And then also, why I decided to start diving. Ah, I am sure some of you probably don’t want to know, but I will write anyway, because I can. 😀 (I bet you’ll keep reading anyway, for lack of a better thing to do..)

Why.
I saw a diver in chain mail feeding sharks on a Discovery Channel video. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I think what attracted me most to it was the fact that I could invade the ‘fish universe’ and pretend to be one of them. Ah, and that video revealed that Jaws was all wrong. Not that I believed that Jaws was real. It just bothered me that most people feared the ocean because of the sharks. I had never seen one before my diving. But almost everyone I know is convinced that a shark will come out to eat them. But I digress.

My First: It was in the icky Celebrity Sports Plaza pool. I hate swimming pools. They gross me out. Honestly, it feels like wading in everyone else’s sweat and oil and piss. And I hate that I can see hair at the bottom of the pool if not clinging to my skin. But hey, I have been known to enjoy the icky-ness sometimes. (mostly when assisting classes). On top of the regular grossness of being in a swimming pool, I saw dollops of snot suspended in the water. Ah, but there’s the proof of how much I wanted to be a diver. I saw the gross stuff before Dave asked me to remove my mask. In spite of the uneasiness, fear and all out ick factor, I did it. Most of the Diveshoppe babies (students) will never believe that I had a hell of a time swallowing my fears and icks to get that Open Water Diver license.

It was well worth it.

I always say that when you relax you will see more, be more and enjoy more. More is fish, skilled and being one with the water. Diving is living your life too. There are things that you can and cannot control. And it makes a difference to know when to ride the current and when to propel yourself out of it. Sometimes, things do get out of hand and choices need to be made in the grip of tide changes or freak currents. Ah, but it’s always good. It clears my head. Something about being part of the vastness of the sea fixes broken things inside me. It soothes me, in a place inside me that I can only free when I am weightless.

But the diver in you knows that the weightlessness is you being neutrally buoyant. And it does take a while for some divers to understand what it is, some are lucky to learn it so quickly. It took me a long time. But I can do it now. 🙂 And I can help people learn how!

I was lucky my aunt found out about Dave E. Santos and the Diveshoppe. But you know, Dave was lucky too..see, now he has me to assist his classes! 😀 *kidding* If it was any other instructor I probably never would’ve finished my course. I remember seeing Sepok Wall the first time because there was a slight current and I clung on to his tank for dear life. While hanging on I took advantage and drank in the scenery..now that I have to be the responsible one, I realize, it was not easy for him to drag two divers with bad buoyancy. But Dave is like a superhero. He can do anything underwater. 😉

Sometimes I wish I could stay down there forever. But dives must end with No-Deco at best. I like strong currents best because they bring out the fish. I like deep dives too. Sometimes I wish I could let myself go and drift along to where the current is going, just to see if it will really sweep me out to sea. But that’s really not responsible. And I don’t want to spend an hour or so waiting for Poly to find me. (I have no doubt he will) Then again, I could also spend an hour in the shallows looking for tiny baby cowries and critters in the brown sands of Mainit..

I could drone on and on about diving.. the truth is I was already in bed but I couldn’t sleep because I started thinking about diving after I saw the reminder for the Equipment Seminar this Thursday. That doesn’t make sense, really.

I’ve only ever seen a shark in hunting mode once. It was the most breathtaking (literally) scene I have ever witnessed. I went diving with Elmer Mendoza. Just the two of us. We were at about 80ft going shallow from a dive we began on Kanto 2, both of us looking into the blue waiting for something big to show up. It happened. A fish about 2 feet long went rushing from the deep a few feet ahead of us, on a vertical ascent. As if on cue, a huge grey reef shark went charging after it. The shark had a dazed look about it, like it was being consumed by a desire to catch that fish. Elmer and I turned to each other and shared a look of disbelief. Sad that I had no videocam. Not that I would’ve been able to film something like that. I tend to get caught in the moment which makes me not good with a camera..

I wonder when we can stay underwater for as long and as deep as we want. Diving without tanks even. Like that thing Obi Won Kenobi used, to go to Jar Jar’s underwater world, which looked like a tiny bamboo flute..or Harry Potter’s Gillyweed..or Kevin Costner’s gills! But that’s the stuff my dreams are made of and maybe the universe thinks I’m insane.

I wonder how long I can keep diving.

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