Pre-Sipadan Scuba Diving Part 1

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January 14th 2012
Published: January 14th 2012
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I will be in Sipadan, one of the hottest diving spot around the world, next Saturday. I am so excited in scuba diving there because 0cean is always an intriguing wonderland, the playground and battle field of magnificent corral reefs, colorful tropical fishes, elegant marine mammals and some unexpected and surprising lives.

That’s the reason I gazed the aquarium obsessively.

Still, I could remember the first time I went to an oceanarium in the south of Taiwan. Various aquatic creatures flied in a gigantic water tank. Rays were always like birds, flatting their fins and hovering above, while other fishes, as a group, flied and glided gently one by one, passing through. I had to raise my head to take a glance of their elegant and magnificent movement behind the thick safety glass.

The most entertaining part was the feeding show on that day. Jumping into the gigantic aquarium, the diver was orbited by colorful fishes and, all of a sudden, a group of fishes became literally a barber’s pole. This dizzy phenomenon probably the embodiment of oceanic collective consciousness, “just keep swimming,” as ory’s lines in “Finding Nemo.”

Couples of years later, in my first trip to Guam, I booked my first-time scuba diving. At the day before scuba diving, I saw at a glacne that whales on my parasailing. Sitting on a blanket of the parasailing, flying in a blue hemisphere, I saw two indistinct black figures emerged in the gentle waves. “Mother and her child,” the captain of the powerboat yelled. Actually, it’s hard to distinguish from them in the sky. The only clue was the vapor and spray they gave. For an ocean enthusiast, it’s glad to appreciate the marvelous migration of marine mammals, although, in that case, I had to low my head to have a glimpse of the whale spray.

That’s why we are enthusiastic about the ocean because, for most of us, it’s always hard to observe the marine life in a proper distance. Their lives are as mysterious as comets flying by, or as precious as exhibition, barred by thick safety glass. Commonly, they are on our plate.

Picking me up in the hotel, the diving master gave me some papers to sign and told something and gestures about scuba diving I had to know. Being a retired marine with a clown fish tattoo, he insisted that he made his tattoo before the “Finding Nemo.” This inner joke made me relief.

After about twenty minutes of briefing of scuba diving ABC, with BCD (buoyancy control device), mask, fins, snorkel and some gears, I was ready for my first scuba diving.

"Breathing and relax are the most important things in scuba diving,” said the diving guide, “and do not forget to equalize.” Pushing the deflator button, according to the textbook of nervous system physiology, my mammalian diving reflex began when I descended. Literally, I was now on the trip to the wonderland, just like Alice fell straightly down into the rabbit hole. Unlike her, although I doubted, I had to constantly pinch my nose shut and blow against it to equalize the pressure in my ears.

Now I was on the seabed, about 3 meters below, surrounded by coral reefs and sponges and everything you could see in an aquarium though this was a lonely place, where fishes were rare. This wonderland was really a dynamic environment, where everything was changed and moved. Even beams of light, penetrating waves, seemed to come alive, magnifying everything.

I kicked my fins slowly and gently with the sounds of exhaling and inhaling and bubbling. All of these became the harmonic structure of Richard Wagner’s overture of Das Rheingold. Some truly unexpected treasures were be found.


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