Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Losing My Virginity Part 2

In the 4 days that we spent on Tioman (3 if you exclude the 4th day, i.e. travelling home day), all of us clocked in a total of 6 dives - 3 shore and 3 boat dives.

I honestly wasn't expecting much from the shore dives cos I figured the most damaged reefs would be the ones closer to shore right?

As to-be-certified Open Water Divers, we had a set of skills to complete over the course of a few dives. There were probably about 8-10 skills in total, and my only gripe is that we cannot complete it all in 1 dive. I mean, you get everything over and done with, so your next few dives can be spent ronda-ing the reef or other dive sites, instead of kneeling down on some sandy patch. Apparently PADI's regulation prohibits jamming everything into 1 dive. And Lynette was a very law-abiding instructor *grins*

Thankfully, a small group of us meant that we didn't waste too much time kneeling, instead of swimming. And because we were a smaller group, in between doing our skills, people still found time to pose and pretend that they are distant cousins of the mermaid.

That first morning itself, we had a briefing-cum-orientation prior to the dive. Lynette pointed out the spots which we will be heading to on the Swiss House Reef on the map. I looked, but know for a fact that it won't make any difference to me cos once underwater, I would have no freaking idea where we were :) I decided that my safest bet would be to stick close to her.

We geared up excitedly and I just cannot wait to make use of my new-found-technology-aided super power of breathing underwater! The sea was being very welcoming - sun up, the water was clear AND calm!

I made it sound like I very terror kan? But the truth was, in that very first shore dive, we started off with kneeling down in very shallow water (if you stand up, your head will be out of the water lah!). With the waves going back and forth from the shore, it stirred up a lot of sand. And with 4 new divers in there trying to get a grip of their buoyancy and being accustomed to water movements, heck - it was like a sandstorm in there! For a fraction of a second, I actually felt scared cos I couldn't see SHIT.

Our first shore dive was only less than 6 metres deep, but the novelty of being there for the first time was enough to get us all high.

A tuskfish swam in our direction and started poking its nose around. Literally. That bugger was quite fat and measured about 3 feet in length. He swam in and out, and in between the circle we formed, with no fear whatsoever, just coolly checking us out. If Lynette hadn't tell us how harmless he was, I'd fin hard and swim away fast cos he had nasty looking fangs sticking out of his mouth.

I constantly remind myself - I am in THEIR territory. So best not to cari pasal cos I'm just a visitor. Yes, I feel very strongly about the fact that we are merely visitors (or observers) under water, and therefore have NO right to disrupt, and yes, that means no touching, harassing or destroying anything. And watch where you put your fin!

During pool sessions, I had problems with my buoyancy and had this fear that when I go out into the open water, I'd be crashing into them corals and thereby destroying hundreds of years of formation. Nothing of that sort happened - thankfully! Somehow, things were easier in the sea *shrugs* Beats me too! Though I secretly suspect that because the fun factor was so high, it over-shadowed everything else, thus making things much, MUCH easier.

Our fourth dive was a boat dive, off Renggis, and I finally got to do a backroll - which was just super cool!

(EDIT: This video just won't seem to work. My eyes are getting tired from squinting at those HTML codes to see what's wrong! For now, the link is HERE)

Renggis was an awesome dive site, but Lynette took a giant stride into the water, went down the descent line with us, and forgot all about her camera.

Clocking a dive at Pirate Reef, we spotted a pair of cuttlefish not long after descent. As we swam closer to it, the (presumably) male one left, and we then got to witness the female cuttlefish laying eggs, and carefully depositing them in between the corals.

Seriously, how can you not love the sea?


Photo & Video Credit - Lynette Yee

Posted by Doreen at 12:18 pm