Under the seas, in Phuket

Under the seas, in Phuket

Submitted by alvin on Sun, 2016-06-19 20:40 A long time ago, I decided that I wanted to see the depths of the ocean. I was turning into a couch potato of the first order when, one day, I sat in bed and decided that I would go scuba diving. I wanted to explore life – I wanted to see the bottom of the sea like how they showed it on the Discovery Channel. That day never happened until yesterday when I dived of a little boat into the yawning blues of the Andaman sea off the coast of Phuket.Phuket, a beach town located in the south of Thailand is the hub for scuba diving in the whole of south east Asia and I only was glad I could do my first dive from there. The diving boat, stationed a little away from the Racha Noi island was my base for the jump. My British instructor from Aussie Divers, an Australian diving company based in Phuket was all smiles as we geared up. “I hope we get to see the Hawksbill turtles today. They are endangered. But they are not easy to spot,” Emily told me. As I scanned the horizon, I knew I was in the right place. The sky was clear. The island of Racha Noi looked postcard perfect. And the turquoise blue sea beckoned me. I was all geared up – oxygen, masks, fins and all. The only thing left to do was jump.People say it is not easy to jump into the unknown – the sea, off a cliff while paragliding or off a high tower while bungee jumping. A moment of hesitation grips you before you make that giant leap. “Just close your eyes and jump,” said a nice lady on the boat. Soon I found myself in the ocean, floating, still alive, now only eager to discover what lay beneath my feet. As I followed my instructor to the ocean floor, decompressing my ears, I took in what I had never seen before – the world of water – a world where creatures lived like the rest of us on the surface. Only everything seemed to be in slow motion. And all I could hear was me breathing in and bubbling out. The rest of the world simply floated around me. Scuba diving, by far is the most calming thing I have done in my life. It relaxes you in a way you never imagine – almost like a massage for your senses.I saw things that I had never seen before – fishes that looked like rocks, sea snakes that slithered around the fishes that looked like rocks, corals that resembled jackfruits ready to be plucked, a shoal of fish so blue that it hurt your eyes and sea whips vacillating in slow motion that it almost hypnotises you. Then Emily clutched my arm. I could hear her shriek under the water. Right before us was a giant Hawksbill turtle. Gentle, magnificent and salient.  It hung around for a while before swimming away into the unknown. But our day was made. We saw something that the World Conservation Union has classified as critically endangered.As I made my way up to the boat, I realised I had learnt, in a matter of hours, what science or moral science classes could not teach me ever. I believed in what the American poet Muriel Rukeyser once said. ‘The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.’