(Mis)Adventures of Yin & Yang: Scuba Newbie (2)

Phi Phi islands

As promised, a guest blog by A, a leading protagonist of my travel tales!

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Let yourself go.

Easy to say, not so easy to do. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t always difficult. Somewhere, somehow that changed; the how and why now lost in the hurly burly of corporate life, that has been the last decade.

Kan and I are vastly different people in a curious way – on the surface, I am an extrovert whilst she is somewhat reserved.

Scratch the surface, however, and the tables are turned, she is bubbling with life, has a creative streak and is one of nature’s natural born explorers. I am not a doorknob, but let’s just say I have a penchant for the tried and tested.

So it was that for her birthday, both of us had vastly different plans in mind. She wanted to go scuba diving (of course, she can’t really swim) whereas I was thinking about spas and pools in a Rajasthan palace or a Paris shopping weekend.

Yeah, you’d wonder how we manage. The answer is here if you can find it – ‘we’ decided scuba diving was the chosen one!

Water. I love water. I am good swimmer and don’t pass up an opportunity for a dip in the pool. But scuba presented a problem. (a) It is not swimming (b) it is not ‘in’, it is ‘under’ (c) I don’t do adventure sports (I have a driven an F1 car but that’s a different story).

So it was not with a tiny amount of trepidation that I set off for the little birthday celebration. Our resort was in a secluded part of Phi Phi that could be accessed only by boat. We had a superb (and massive) villa. To aid the celebration they had laid out champagne, a cake, flowers, et al – we decided to hold off the former till after our dive 😉

Truth be told, I was still harbouring thoughts of not going through with the dive (more fool me as it transpired), but there we were, bobbing in a ridiculous looking boat towards the dive centre. I couldn’t help but wonder how the world below those choppy waves would be, and whether it was best that we left it alone.

P.P. Aquanauts (the dive centre) is an excellent place to dive with, the people are warm and keen to help you have a great experience…they are really into trying to do the best they can.

Speaking to Hugo (the manager) and then Raz (our instructor) left me for once thinking “Hey, this is something I really should do”.

And so, after doing some tossing and turning in bed through the night, we found ourselves on a boat heading towards the dive location.

Now, as it turns out, there is quite a bit to diving gear…(a) dive suit (b) BCD (bouyancy control device) (c) oxygen tanks (heavy) amongst others…and I thought, “Boy, the dive itself is hard enough without having to remember a bunch of things one needs to do with the gear”!

By the time it was TIME, I had tried to get the adrenalin going and told myself that if I really was going to go through with it…I was going to go through it, in style. The confidence was up and I was keen.

Unfortunately, once I was in the water it rapidly evaporated! The gear was cumbersome and I was thinking “no way am I going to get the hang of this”.

But then I did get the hang of it (a lot of credit to Raz).

“Let yourself go”. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

I let myself go.

The world under the water was as fascinating (and more) as I had expected. The colors, the tranquility, the vibrancy…this was a whole different thriving and happy world which had opened its doors to me and welcomed me in.

I wanted to be the perfect guest. I said hello to a lot of beautiful creatures, some in dazzling blues, others in magnificent magenta, some in pristine white.

I swam in the middle of a shoal at a depth of 35 feet. In perfect unison the little creatures parted to make way for me, and silently re-formed as I swam through.

Exhilaration is putting it mildly. All the pebbles in my life dropped away and for that half hour, it was just me and my new friends.

It made me wonder, why can’t the world above also be tranquil? Can we not swim in a shoal? Can we not play our part (as Shakespeare would have said) and exit gracefully?

Truth be told, I didn’t want the dive to end. But we ultimately had to return to reality, and life on the surface.

I can’t wait for my next dive. Hoping Kan will be there with me and make it even better.

Let yourself go. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

But if you do, it’s worth it.

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P.S. So now that you have read both points of view, tell me what you would do. And if you have done scuba before, how was your first experience?