I am doing a dive master.
Well, I was informed that technically this is a wrong way of putting it unless you are are in fact, sleeping with someone who is a dive master which I am not. Semantics aside though, I am doing the training to becoming a dive master. I am back in Thailand on Koh Tao, at New Heaven, where back in 2015 my love affair with scuba diving started in 2015 my love affair with scuba diving started.
The training is intense and taxing and I have no clue quite yet if this will be the start of a potential diving career or just a way to get better at a hobby that I love. Maybe a bit of both. For the time being the what then? is irrelevant to me, I am just excited to spend a lot of time underwater and to learn something new.
I think the learning part appeals most to me. Once you are done with college, set in a job, learning just takes a back seat and to actually immerse myself in books, become a novice at something again and to see knowledge building and skills improving is quite satisfying.
Truth to be told, it is also freaking exhausting, especially as I still have a job and need to earn a living. It's also taxing because even though I spend a lot of time underwater where it is always wonderfully quiet there are still other people involved. People that I help teach, people that are teaching me and a lot of egos – their's and my own.
Today was one of these days where seemingly everything felt wrong and it has left me feeling a bit meh... That's why I thought it the perfect day to accumulate some random scuba diving facts about me and to remind myself why I'm doing this.
1. My favorite fish is a yellow boxfish.
Photo by Scubabunnie
2. Porcupine Pufferfish are the kittens of the ocean (frequently making me want to touch and cuddle them).
Photo by Lisa Taylor
3. Nudibranches are like Pokemon – gotta catch them all!*
*And by catch them, I mean of course see them live or take a picture of them.
4. I think moray eels are rather creepy and I really freaked out when I saw one whose head was as big as mine once.
5. I am a sucker for air. Quite literally. I am still working on lowering my air consumption. High air consumption for divers is what braces are for a teenage girl – a constant source of embarrassment. (though funny enough, I loved my braces and couldn't stop giving every camera a very toothy smile when I had them).
6. I am probably the most inexperienced diver who has a sponsor. Scubapro sponsored my entire gear thanks to a post I wrote 2 years ago. I frequently have to ask more experienced divers to help with my equipment, but honestly, I don't care - I love having my own gear and sometimes call my BCD 'lovey'.
7. Seeing a whale shark on my lucky dive number 13 was incredibly and rather unnerving as it was me who saw him/her first and I didn't know what that big shadow above my head was.
8. With only 15 dives under my belt, I went diving on the one and only liveaboard in Sipadan. Everybody else had so much more experience and to make matters worse – on my first dive I got attacked by a trigger fish while I was still above the water. My fin still shows a bitemark and ever since I am terrified of them and will hide behind whoever is diving with me (this may or may not include students).
9. While I hate movies like Jaws, The Shallows and the latest Mandy Moore flick* for their unrealistic evil depiction of sharks, I secretly love them too. Though I do tend to cheer for the sharks.
*I have since watched it. It was bad, so very bad. At least I entertained Alex with my priceless facial expressions of WTF.
10. On the note of sharks – shark documentaries soothe me and I frequently watch them on the plane. I remember sobbing like there was no tomorrow when I saw one about a guy who finds fishes and sharks for aquariums. In the show, he took out a beautiful leopard shark and I was incredibly sad that I would never have a chance to see that leopard shark in the ocean.
11. I loved my visits at the aquarium in Dubai and Cape Town, but after seeing that documentary I made a conscious decision to not visit any zoos or aquariums anymore.
I get the fascination and I know I am privileged to see many animals in their natural habitat, but no. I rather watch Planet Earth & Finding Nemo.
12. That said, I still eat fish and seafood. But I am not sure for how much longer. Fish are friends now though I will admit that I love some more than others – can I just eat Triggerfish??
Jokes aside, I am getting more conscious about any animal product I put in my body and whether I can't just sacrifice the little moment of pleasure while eating for … the greater good for a lack of better word.
I love the taste of octopus for example but cannot justify eating them anymore once I learned how incredibly smart they are. This decision was made easy for me when I saw a clip of an entire octopus being cooked in tomato sauce while still alive. I almost vomited and still get a bit sick thinking of octopus on a plate now.
13. Muck diving is the Where is Waldo of the diving world and my absolute favorite. Sometimes you quite literally dive above muck or sand and you have to look hard to find something. But when you do the reward is so much sweeter. My highlight was seeing a Bobtail Squid that wasn't bigger than my pinkie fingernail.
14. I am terrified of the idea of free diving (using no Scuba unit aka no air) and that's why I think I should try it. Also, have you seen Guillaume Néry?!
15. I rarely get bored when I dive. If I do I am usually hungry and start to think about what I'm gonna eat after my dive (and not because the fish remind me of food!!).
16. Scuba diving is my meditation.
And with all that said - I think the Little Mermaid was a fool. I think walking on land is highly overrated.
Are you into scuba diving? What do you love about it? If you don't yet, but are keen to try check my post about Scuba diving 101 Scuba diving 101.
Photo of the moray eel and me by my awesome divemaster Tan at Zeavola - thanks for the shots!