Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Diving addict

Diving this week I've seen three sharks - two black-tipped sharks and a leopard shark that swam right underneath me, about two meters away. I saw a sea-cobra (10x more poisonous than any snake on land), got stung by jellyfish, watched a giant sea-turtle eating coral, and swam through a school of barracuda - but by far the scariest creature I've encountered in the ocean so far is my new diving instructor. The cute young Dutch guy who gave me perfect scores on everything and flirted all the way back to land has left on vacation. He's been replaced by an ex-military German tough guy who thinks that all vegetarians are weak from lacking essential amino acids, and that women, also weak, have no business being dive leaders.

I've realized that for some reason, no matter how much I thought I wanted or needed to, I seem to be incapable of taking a relaxing vacation. I've finished the diver rescue and progressed on to the divemaster course now, which is the first professional-level certification and the course is quite tough. I passed all the written tests with flying colors ("so now you *think* you know how to dive," the instructor-seargeant remarked), passed my timed swimming test on the second attempt (400m in 11 minutes - not exactly an Olympic record but I was pleased) but made a few mistakes on the practical tests - dropped a weight belt and lost sight of the instructor underwater (caused, I am almost certain, by him rapidly swimming away from me for no reason). In my defense, I was drugged out on the weirdly potent seasickness pills that are almost required on the monsoon-season ocean waves at this time of year.

A few pictures from my one photography dive follow, but they are not that great. I was floating, the fish were floating, there is nothing to hold onto, the fish panicked as they thought the camera lens was a giant predator's eye, and I was trying to look at the viewfinder through several thick layers of plastic. With these excuses as an introduction, I must admit that the first picture, of a moray eel, was taken by my Dutch instructor:



A wall of barracudas:


A puffer fish:

A nudibranch (if you see a nudibranch underwater, the scuba sign-language indictor is to mimic a flasher opening his coat)


A strange, frog-like, amphibious creature:















Hey guys, wait for me!


1 Comments:

Blogger JennC said...

Awesome. I'm a diving scaredy cat. Last summer I did my "baptême" and I sort of felt panicky underwater. I had this irresistible urge to cough while 5 meters down and I swear that I thought that I was going to explode.

11:23 AM  

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