Monday, July 16, 2012

Once a chicken...

I chickened out of scuba diving. With all my gear on. 12 metres underwater. I refused to do the 2 basic, very crucial exercises that would have opened the door to an amazing world. The regulator recovery and the mask clearing.

I am still the chicken that developed a fever just thinking about the next day's swimming lesson; ran around the swimming pool, being chased by the instructor. I closed myself, refusing to let the sea water seep anywhere near my mouth or nose. I was mortified - forgot the basic swimming skills.  I gulped in the water like an ignorant,panicky fool. My first hour in the sea - 6 metres deep - holding on to the rope - I let panic set in heavily to the point of feeling like throwing up. Even the few, cute fish swimming around failed to distract me from my inside war. I had passed the test in the confined swimming pool - why could I not do it in the huge, endless expanse of salt water? I tried thrice. Every time I got out of the water, I felt so terribly ashamed at my inability. But when I got back in the sea to try again, my phobia-clogged brain failed me.  The sea overwhelmed me - scoffing at my attempts to conquer my fear.

The rest of the trip I spent snorkeling - enjoying the unpolluted beauty of Pulao Dayang- I even caught sight of the humphead parrotfish,solemnly lurking near the coral (fringing) reefs close to the shore - a rare sight,even for divers. Those were the most beautiful moments of my life - to be floating above the corals close enough to touch - looking in awe at the little fishes swimming in and out of the corals. It reinforced in me what I was missing by not diving. But I felt thankful for whatever that kept those fringing reefs undamaged and the visibility so good in the deeper places. And that is why I would not recommend you to visit Pulao Dayang - let it stay unpopular. Let the corals flourish. Let the huge schools of jack fish stay under the jetty. Let the halfbeaks,jellyfish pay occasional visits close to the shore. Let me snorkel to enjoy their beauty. May be that way I can forgive myself for not diving.