Feb 12, 2007

Flying in my secret garden.

Pablo is the Spanish lad that I met on board during my 4D4N stay live-a-board. I put some special notes about this 22-year-old lad here because I was overwhelmed by his story. Pablo gave up everything in his hometown and came to Phuket to learn diving from scratch. He gives himself 6 months time to complete all the courses needed to earn him a DiveMaster or perhaps Dive Instructor license.

"So, what do u do in Phuket?" I asked.

"I dive, and dive, and dive. " Pablo answered with his Spanish accent, and smiled shyly.

This is Pablo. A dream chaser, and I felt so embarrassed before him for being a 'very-part-time' diver who only dives once in a year and still worried about the balance between my real passion about it and the expenses I've spent on it.

I have to admit that I have this kind of 'split passion' about diving. I don't really feel my enthusiasm about diving when thinking of setting the equipments up and putting up my tight tight tight dive suit and biting the regulator and carrying a oxygen tank on my back and sucking the throat-itching pure and dry 100% oxygen and walking like a duck with that floppy fin and then dunk myself into the middle of the ocean.... ....

.... but all the unpleasant feeling will suddenly disappear when i get myself sunk every inch downward, to the secret garden that lies beneath the sea surface. It is just like you're entering a different medium where all your behavior and even the way you think will turn differently.

Sometimes I even realize that I'm actually flying in this medium.

The moment I saw manta rays flying above me, one after one, flapping their wings gracefully, I wanted to join their march, and I flew towards them -- and the feeling of FLYING was so thrilled! GOSH that has always been my dream since I was 5, and if u ask me what kind of superpower I'd like to have, I'll straight away tell u this --


... ... and this is what, I guess, Pablo meant by 'very cool stuff about diving' when he started to talked about his passion for diving. We mingle with those marine creatures underwater, we share their flying life, we play hide and seek with them, we experience the other kind of medium the other kind of world when we put on our tight tight tight dive suit and biting the regulator and carrying the oxygen tank on our back and sucking the throat-itching pure and dry 100% oxygen and flipping our floppy fin like... erm.. mermaid.

ps.. I am lacking a waterproof underwater dig-cam and its supporting equipments, and also the skills (and license..) to take underwater photographs. All the underwater pictures posted here were taken by Chris and Charmaine, great job y'all! Thanks!

pss.. Happy 200th post to BloggerJannah. As promised, the picture of Nemo is for u as my gift for your great achievement in blogging! Congratulation!

Feb 3, 2007

Live-a-board, life on boat..

"I'm lying on the deck of the vessel,
closing my eye and facing the ocean; over the day we were studying her life and herself in a bright, scientific way;
under the starry night now I'm all alone,
no more a scientist but a little child she embrace,
indulging myself in her gentle sway... "

I was 19 when I wrote this in my "I-am-such-a-(eat-sh*t)-teenage-innocent" diary. This little paragraph entitled 'One of my dream', listed together with the rest of my innocent 'I-believe-I-can-fly' type of day-dreams.

C'mon for god's sake, it is such a shame to have this sh*t stuff reread and published here, but trust me, I just need to refer this back when, 6 years after that, I suddenly recalled it when I was really 'lying on the deck' of a boat 'under the starry night', and feeling the 'gentle sway' of the ocean, when I was having my 4D4N diving trip live-a-board during my last holiday.

The feeling was indescribable when you suddenly realized you ARE IN what you dreamt for. Look, this is not a simple 'dream-come-true' thingy, I felt more than that... .. it was like 'I-wrote-it-once-in my-diary' type of excitement, certainly much much more more more than 'I-'ve-ever-had-a-dream-come-true' stupid stuff....


Here we go. My life living 4D4N on a dive boat, in the middle of Andaman Sea, west coast of Thailand. The dive sites are located in Similan Islands National Park, and no mystery: 'Similan' is exactly our 'Sembilan' -- Similan Islands simply means nine islands they have all together in the national park.

..and since this is a dive trip, my life on boat is really simple. As our time table indicated, basically we dived early in the morning, came out of the water, breakfast, rest, sleep; then dive again, then came out of the water, lunch, rest, sleep; then dive, out water, tea-break, rest, sleep; dive, out, dinner, rest, sleep --- and the life cycle went on.

Sleeping was particularly important and taking up most of our time on boat during the first 2 days. Initially I blamed on the 'gentle sway' of the boat, but then I figured out it was because everytime we dived deep down, we were 'intruded' by saturated nitrogen gas in our blood and that made us sleeeeeepy.

Anyway, the resting part took over the sleeping time when all of us started to live with those nitrogen. We do some homeworks (yup, divers have homeworks to do), play chess, edit underwater pictures, study marine lives, play guitar, watch movie, mingle, learn foreign languages etc while we were resting.

The life on boat is such a leisure as we only found ourselves active and busy underwater. We even did not care about knowing what's going on out there. Live-a-board is a perfect way to cut-off from reality, and the cut-off becomes even complete when you jump off the boat and dive right in, straight to the ocean floor.

... and there's something clinking my mind after this trip. When you really ignore how today's world is shaped by all the 'ambitious' world leaders out there, when you really just shut your ear from listening to all the polluted news sending through any kind of mass media, having a common life on a boat with Germans, Thais, Japanese, Malaysians, Swedish, Finnish, Spaniard, and Australian, you'll feel that we are just a same species called Homo Sapiens, nationality and cultural sensitivity simply mean nothing. (...and yes, variation in languages only help to generate funnier and funnier spontaneous jokes).