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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Virgin Dive

Yay! I think i overcame my fear of water. I used to be afraid of the sea, the water. Because i have near death experiences in the water twice. Once, i was a toddler, i slipped and sat down into the baby pool and i suppose my legs weren't strong enough to stand up.

Second, was when i was 12, and my friend's Super Soaker was too heavy. I didn't want to let it go, because i know i won't have money to pay back my friend if i lose her Super Soaker.

My mum use to wash my hair by putting on goggles (on me, not herself) and tying me to the water pipe in the bathroom.

But i still learnt swimming (although Mr. Loke said i swim like a chicken, and i looked like Rudolf (red nose)), i still went to dive with the sharks in Sydney, and i always pretend i'm Ariel (the little mermaid) when i'm in the swimming pool.
So, scuba diving...i picked it up not because of choice (i'd rather spend the $$ on more clothes) but because my uncle who wanted his wife to pick it up, decided that she didn't like it. So me, always game for anything (and everything free) , carried on the course.
To overcome fear, you become the fear (Batman).
Besides, in case my future husband want to propose underwater leh? Like hide the ring in a huge clam or something?
Can you tell if the above picture is an arriving one or leaving one? We look like 2 backpackers, about to be on a nightmare trip. You know like all those Hollywood horror flicks. Arrive at beautiful island, end up being chopped and organs sold illegally.
Oh, the picture was a leaving one. We arrived at 4am, 2 hrs bumpy mini van ride, 4 hours ferry. Slept like a baby on the ferry, the rocking motion was sensational! We did this speed boat transfer thing to the ferry. Boy, we felt like illegal immigrants. Dodgey boat in pitch black darkness. Everyone was silent.
Arrived 4am, the first dive was immediately at 7am.
And i was caught not paying attention!
A scene from Jaws?
Can you see it?Its a cuttlefish!! It's so cute! I always thought octupus, squids, cuttlefish are ugly. But this one is so cute! It's actually luminious red. But once underwater, colours are absorbed so pretty much everything looked brown on camera.
I gathered up courage to stroke it. Was afraid it'll sting or spray black liquid in my eyes. Then again, only squids do that. Besides, i've goggles on.
And it stayed motionless for all of us to stroke it! It's slimey.
In between breaks of our dives, had to cam whore. My instructor is so tickled by my love for taking pictures. He kept saying , "Don't pose until you forget to come back and dive ah!"

We did 5 dives in total. I was nervous going down. But after going down, there's so much things to see, you forget your fear. Besides, my instructors were very patient and kind with me. I was the weakest diver. I couldn't descend fast enough (ears felt like exploding due to water pressure, i can't equalise as well), i couldn't maintain neutral bouncency (kept floating up and down), i couldn't fin well ( i bicycle kick).

See, i feel so sorry! I kept crashing into corals. I'm glad nothing poked me.

Schools of little fishies all around us. That's my dive buddy. Times when my instructor wasn't holding my hand, he was. Either i'm the slowest (because i fin poorly), otherwise i'm floating up up up and away. So they have to hold me down, also to stop me from crashing into corals. Hahaha...
As my instructor said, "Christine! You're everywhere! Who have you NOT kicked?"
I've erm..even kicked my instructor. I think the only person i did not kick was my dive buddy. Because he was beside me most of the time. Friends who i kicked were either behind or beneath me. My legs definitely don't go sideways when scuba diving. So the safest place is beside me, if you decide to dive with me. Otherwise, stay away.
I even pulled my instructor's hair. Because i was above him, and i felt myself floating up towards the surface (which is a no, no. something bad can happen if you ascend too quickly), i panicked and just want to grab something to hold myself down. So conviniently, my instructor was beneath me and his hair was just you know..floating within reach.
That was a cuttlefish bone i was looking at.

I HATE taking my regulator out. But for the camera's sake, i did. Haha, see what a cam whore i am?
That's his sea cucumber. Hahaha..i was laughing when i took this picture that water went up my nose.
I was salivating actually, not because of him! But i like sea cucumber because it's expensive and it makes you beautiful. I wanted to smuggle home to cook!
Don't understand why sea cucumbers are expensive. It's so easy to pick (from the seabed), it doesn't fight back, and you don't have to fear it (unlike sharks). So why is it the same price as sharks' fins, if not more expensive?

I have to say my heart fluttered when my look-like-dawyne-johnson diving buddy held my hand underwater. He figured i would be terrified because of my fear for water and thus took special care of me! He is a virgin diver too! Haha. What an attempt at chivalry..trying to save me when he can't save himself.
 And this is the biggest fish we saw. A parrot bumhead. On camera it looked small but in actual fact, it's almost as wide as me, and as long as me (ok, maybe shorter but abit).
There were 2 of them. So cute, they move around together.
And this is probably the most colourful creature ( i dunnoe what it is) taken by camera. And it wasn't taken by me. Hahaha, it was on my instructor's night dive. They brought down spotlights to capture photos.
Jelly fish is everywhere! I was so terrified i was going to bump into them. but i found out resisting is fruitless, because there're too many. And i felt silly because second dive, i found out these don't sting. Some do, but the ones that are around us then don't. I didn't believe (kiasee), so my instructor grabbed one to prove. I still didn't believe (kiasee) so avoided at all cost.

So unglam right! Couple of times, i came up with mucus flooding my mask. Hee hee.
Samantha, the seaweed princess. Found out she's in my company! And she's with a scuba diving publication (just joined), therefore she picked up scuba diving. How serious she is about her new job!
I seem to be scolding some vulgarity.
I look like a pro diver here right?
See, you get what i mean about grabbing my instructor's hair? Thankfully, i am the weakest diver as well as having the longest hair. So no one's pulling my hair. Haha!
That's some starfish thing.
By the 4th and 5th dive, i was practically a water baby already. I knew how to put on my equipment without help, and i love jumping into the water.
Giant clams.
The yatch we kept going out in. My dive suit has fleece in it! But ok, i think it only kept me a teeny weeny bit warmer than the rest only. But still, it rocks having my own high class wet suit! (courtesy of my uncle)
The beginner divers on to be super divers!
Met alot other cool people on board from other dive schools. Largely expats. The culture's really different. These ang mohs actually sign up scuba diving together as colleagues! I think in most places, after work colleagues do not hang out.
Having a muscular dive buddy is a huge advantage. He helps you carry your dive bag, helps you carry your luggage, helps you loosen the tight air valve. So i complimented him with a " I'm glad your muscles are not for show only." Hahaha.
All in return for me taking pictures of him underwater. Because his dive buddy has an underwater camera! Haha. I couldn't do rescue with him though. Highly doubt i will be able to rescue him. I'll kill him instead. Haha.
The beach is so gorgeous, i'm surprised this is Malaysia. It was a fantastic feeling for those 3 days. I walk around everywhere without slippers, the sand was so fine. The resort wasn't fantastic, the bathroom was so small to bathe in. Sand everywhere in your room, but all that didn't matter.
We eat, we dive, we cam whore, we sleep. That's all we did during the 3 days.
I expected to return to work drained when i first heard the itinery was arrive 4am, dive 7am. Dive again 10am, dive again 4pm. Next day, dive 7am, dive 10am, go back Singapore.
But it was rejuvenating. Absolutely a fantastic weekend trip.
My dive watch look very cool on me right. Very BOND girl. It's actually a very lok-kok compass.
Now i understand why people are into scenery photography. Such takes your breath away. And you marvel at the wonders of God. But still, i'm a play + scenery person. You cannot just give me scenery in a trip. I will be bored to death!
I think my dive buddy was trying to show me how full he was.
And so i was like "Oh my gosh, you've been sucking in all this while!!"
Was his six pecs all just a front? Haha.
And he kept insisting he's the only one who has this very cool function on his Canon camera. I have one at home, i tell ya!!
I initially loathe walking on this boardwalk each time we go out for our dives. Because it's so scary, you feel like its going to give way any moment and you will fall into the waters. But i practically prance towards it now.
That's me, my dive buddy and my instructor.
Totally Bond girl now.

My very animated instructor.
I don't know what we're doing. But when we got there, we were all so happy. Breath-taking scenery, sunny weather, fine sand, we just had to go out and do a dance.
Everyone just keeps telling me to pee in my wet suit. But i can't! So had to take out, put back, take out, put back.
The funniest was on our way back, we stopped at this restaurant for dinner. There was a wedding dinner going on, but we weren't turned away! So we gate crashed the wedding.
And for laughs sake, i asked this couple to pose as the bride and groom. We even yum-seng in chorus when the wedding crowd did.

Who's up for the next trip?

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