I was excited for my first international beach vacation with my girl pals. My passport was to get its first ever visa stamped in and I was super excited. We were going to Thailand. My friends and I were to fly in to Bangkok from our respective cities from where the vacay would begin.
Though we had a rough itinerary planned, we were quite open about recommendations and exploring new places, restaurants etc. But the highlight of the trip was scuba diving in the Andaman Sea – also my first ever dive!
After reaching Phi Phi Island in Phuket, we went looking for dive shops and finally settled to go diving with this one group which sounded professional and considerate (since most of us didn’t know swimming well). As decided, the following day we gathered at the dive center, jittery yet excited, geared with scuba equipment and wet suits.
We took a ferry to the dive site, which was in the middle of the azure water with a huge rock jutting out on one side. It was beautiful but somehow the fear of water and the fear of unknown got better of me and I was super nervous. I was panic-stricken, yet I gathered courage and jumped in the water with the diving gear on for the practice session. Luckily for me, my dive instructors Chris & Fabrice were the kindest people who patiently dealt with my anxiety. Slowly I calmed down, relaxed and felt comfortable going underwater.
As the surface closed overhead, I forgot the atmospheric world. I could only hear the quietness of water and the sound of the air bubbles that escaped as I breathed slowly. I could feel something had changed. I felt calm and peaceful in spite the rough waters. As opposed to the panic and stress I’d experienced just minutes ago, I immediately felt at home as I was welcomed to witness a beautiful underwater world that coexisted with the world I knew so far. It was the beginning of the most beautiful feeling I had ever experienced.
I was weightless, gliding and free of thoughts. I forgot everything the minute the underwater world unfolded its beautiful scenes before me. Surrounded by innumerable pink, purple, orange, green and more brilliantly coloured marine life in the clear blue waters was some sight!
As I glided by slowly, a sea turtle quietly swam across the sea floor. Next minute I found myself in the middle of a school of shimmering silver fish. They swam away as quietly as they came near. There were creatures of colours and patterns I had never seen, of shapes I had never imagined. It was a colourful, vibrant and tranquil world – a rich, rich underwater world.
I, like many others, had perception about the underwater being an alien world, that which we seldom know about, that which still holds so many mysteries. But this dive changed everything – I no longer saw it as an alien world. Sure, it is way too different than the world we live in and is not easily accessible, yet it is most soothing in many ways. And my personal experience says it’s definitely worth all the troubles and challenges. You have to experience it to believe it.
We took a lunch break after the first dive and couldn’t stop discussing the experience while munching on the food, accompanied by the sound of waves and salty sea breeze. We then dived again to experience more of the amazing marine life.
After 2 dives, we started back to the land with hearts full of joy. By that time the sun was about to take a dip into the mysterious waters. I closed my eyes only to see the vivid images of the mysterious world that silently existed somewhere below the turquoise waters, now turning dark.