I enjoy being alone. It makes me feel like I’m in a world of my own. When I am alone, I am not obligated to do the unnecessary small talks, to awkwardly looking at my phones pretending I’ve got 126 unread emails, to pretend as if I am interested to the topics discussed although I am not. I’ll be the one who decide who can walk through my door and who should totally be banned from entering it. By this time, I have a guest list and my 2 imaginary bouncers already. No kidding. Just don’t get me wrong. I love being in a company of the people that I can relate with. Those who are really close to me will see the crazy talkative side of me. Despite the amount of time I spent being alone, I rarely feel lonely. Thanks to Whatsapp. There’s always something to talk about in the group chat- catching up with friends, endless amount of random memes etc. Despite different time zones and being miles apart, it’s not hard to know what happened to your friends. That makes being alone so comfortable that you don’t want to go out and socialize anymore. #antisocialalert I enjoyed being alone so much sometimes I feel like I am self sufficient and I can totally do things on my own.
Not until I am 6 meters under the surface of the ocean. I went for diving yesterday. With more than 30 diving spots, it’s only right to do my first diving here in El Nido.
Did my scuba diving exercise and practice in shallow confined water, along Bacuit Bay. Learnt how to inflate and deflate BCD, how to read the tank metre, breathing technique, sign language, to clear mask from water, and how to neutralize pressure in my ears. All went well. I’ve got perfect score for almost every element thought by the instructor. Come on, scuba diving is just a deeper conversation of snorkeling. I’m imagining myself singing Part of The World already down there. Except, I don’t have twenty thingamabobs and a fork with me to comb my hair with. #littlemermaidfanscanrelate
We then went to Helicopter Island for my first real dive. The name came from the shape of the island that looks like a helicopter.
I put on my wet suit, diving boots and fins. I was asked to put a weight belt around my waist, which is so heavy. The instructor helped me to put back my BCD and tank. Here I am, at the edge of the boat, about to make the first jump for my first scuba diving. I hold my weight belt with my left hand, the palm of my right hand stay intact to my regulator whilst two fingers keeping my mask from moving.
heard my dive-master queuing me to jump. I had the privilege of having Andy, a dive-master to myself, just because everyone else has a PADI certificate already. Clearly I have the least experience on the boat among 3 other divers.
I wasn’t listening to him. In my head, all I was thinking if I really need to do this? Why do I need to jump? Can I use the stairs instead? Whose idea to jump straight from the boat, I just want to be in the water. What if my head hit the tank when I reach down? So much pressure.
For all I know, I am in the water already. I deflate my BC and we both went down, deeper into the water.
First 30 seconds was still okay. As we go deeper, I could feel the change of pressure in my ear. I did what Andy told me to do to neutralize it. He swims faster than me, at one point I thought I wasn’t able to catch up. I quickly swim towards him. The deeper I go, the colder the water gets and the darker it seems to be nearing the seabed.
Then I felt water get into my mask, blocking my nose. Shit. I tried to calm myself. As I went deeper, more water came in. I panicked. Andy was still in front of me. He was looking away, doing some signs of type of fish he taught me earlier. I don’t care if you’ve found the gadamn Nemo now Andy, I AM DROWNING CAN’T YOU SEE? Turn back and look at me will you PLEASE! Magic word didn’t work underwater I figured. He was still swimming away from me searching for more fish. And then it hit me right at that moment. There I was, alone and helpless.
God I quickly grab my BCD and inflate it. I struggled my way up to the surface. It felt so long to reach the top I thought I was dying already. Finally. I breathed in the largest amount of air. There I was, floating on the surface, waiting for Andy to come up and get me. No way I’m going back down alone.
Soon I saw him came up to the surface. He asked me what happened. I told him everything. All I get from him was a scold. He said I should never ever inflate and go up on my own. There is likely chance for me to get hit by the boats passing by. He is right. Plus he said there’s no need for me to get panic if water block my nose as I still had the breathing device inside my mouth, that’s what more important. He is right for the second time. But hey, in my defence, I am still not accustom to breath through my mouth. We human breathe in and out through our nose! Of course I didn’t tell him that. Kau gila?
I asked him to teach me how to clear my mask again. I know how to do it, I just need more time to be on the surface. I’m delaying him. I’m actually hmm afraid? to go down again. To be down there, alone.
There’s still 30 minutes or so before we end our dive at this spot. He asked me several times if I’m ready. I said yes. Shit. Why did I say yes?
I put on my mask and the breathing device, deflate and I followed him. This time around, I followed him as close as possible. I don’t care if his fins hit my head. As we go down, deeper, I could see more reefs and fishes. We were approaching the sea bed. God, the view is so breathtaking. Yes, breath-taking, literally. It’s not funny guys.
With the underwater camera, I snapped some photos of the corals. And some fishes too. This moment, water managed to get into my mask again. But I ignored it. I swam, flipping my fins, with corals underneath me. I continued snapping photos.
It was so quiet. Very quiet that it feels as if it was only me there, despite the presence of, I believe thousands more ocean creatures. And slowly, I felt so lonely. For a second, it frightened me. I looked in front, Andy was still near me. But his presence did not help much. Because the loneliness doesn’t come from surrounding. It’s the feeling within.
We went for 10 more minutes and so, and then I showed him sign saying that I wanted to go up. We had lunch on the boat afterwards, while the captain navigated the boat to our second diving spot near Paradise Island.
Andy asked me if I am excited for the second dive. At first, I gave him a cold yes. Then I told him that I decided not to go for the second one. I had a long thought about it. I am just not ready to feel that same feeling I’ve got from the first dive. I don’t know how to explain.
Let me just stick to snorkelling for now. But hey, crossed out one more item from my bucket list!