During our trip to Andaman Islands we visited Havelock where my friends and I decided to do scuba diving with DIVEIndia. At DIVEIndia we were asked to sign a few forms and then given our diving suits to wear. We sat on a boat which would take us to our diving spot The Nemo Reef. When our boat reached the reef our dive instructor asked us to get into the water. It was at that moment that I suddenly had butterflies in my stomach. It was not that I didn’t know swimming or that I was scared of being in water, but the thought of going so deep underwater with only an oxygen cylinder that would help me breathe was frightening. Surprisingly, I learnt to breathe quite easily and was first among all of us who managed to complete the test of breathing underwater for 5 continuos minutes. Soon all six of us were geared up and asked to practice the pressure and routine exercises after which we would be taken for our Dive. I was so excited when my instructor said I was ready to go.
Scuba Diving had always been on my once-in-a-lifetime list especially
after the entire experience was so beautifully shown in the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Of course I was struggling at first but thinking about the reef and the fishes that I would now be able to see around me made me get over that little bit of fear I had. It was at that moment when I felt my body relax, I smiled and gave the thumbs-up to my dive instructor.
Being underwater is a completely different experience. You float in the water freely with no barriers whatsoever. As you go deeper down, all your thoughts, problems, irritations and tensions go away and suddenly you relax and experience a certain lightness. The world around me had suddenly changed. There were so many fishes swimming around us, where some did not seem to be perturbed by our presence the others swam in the opposite direction as soon as they sensed us. The coral reefs looked very fascinating because they still had some life in them which showed by the way they were breathing. I found colorful parrot-fish, Damsel fish, all kinds of Anemonefish (Nemos) which were nesting in magnificent anemones and a dozen other fishes which I could not identify. Suddenly I felt the sea bed below me and I was quite taken aback by its softness. The sand was pure white, I took some in my hand and let it pass through my fingers.
There was so much to see that by the end of it I was looking in all possible directions and rejoiced when I realized that I was breathing normally 8 meters below sea level from an oxygen cylinder . It was exhilarating. I was scared and excited at the same time. Scared because being so deep down under the sea was a daunting thought and excited because I knew that this was an experience that will stay with me forever.
“Between the air and the water a steel wave quivers.What people call the surface is also a ceiling. A looking glass above, watered silk below. Nothing is torn on the way through. Only a few bubbles mark the diver’s channel and behind him the frontier soon closes. But once the threshold is crossed you can turn back slowly and look up: that dazzling screen is the border between two worlds, as clear to the one as to the other. Behind the looking glass the sky is made of water. “
Philippe Diole. The Undersea Adventure. 1951
Photo Credits : DIVEIndia