Monday, November 10, 2008

Gunboat Adventures (Part 1)

Coron, Palawan

The metallic hiss of my breathing was coming in gasps. The corals were gone now, and I was slowly being swallowed by the murky darkness around the ominous sunken gunboat.

I couldn’t speak- or scream for that matter to get anyone’s attention. There were only three of us diving, and both men were ahead of me. My bounding pulse sounded like drumbeats signaling impending doom as I struggled to catch up. I saw the bright yellow fins of the Dive Master a few meters ahead of me, and looking up I saw but slivers of light coming from the surface- but growing faint as we went deeper.

The muscles of my legs were beginning to ache. I tried wildly to signal to my Dive Master that I was having trouble, but he was almost beyond my reach and I couldn’t just inflate my vest to float to the surface suddenly- my ears had to adjust constantly to the pressure underwater and if I surface very quickly it might be harmful for me.

“Fuck! I’m going to die here…”


5 Feet

“Boss, I-try nyo mag scuba diving.” The man from the resort said.

“He doesn’t swim,” I told the guy of my beau. “I can, but I’ve never dived before, and don’t you need certain hours of training in a pool before they allow you in the open sea?”

“Ang Discover Diving, sa mababaw muna mag-start tapos dun kayo tuturuan ng basics. I-try nyo po, Php3,200 lang para sa dalawang dives. May kasama ng lunch yun.”

And that’s how it started. Early the next day, we found ourselves in a small outrigger boat speeding into the sea for an hour to reach the dive site: a Japanese Gunboat which sunk more than 60 years ago during the Japanese-American war.

The boat anchored near the shore. The Dive Master fitted the equipment and threw them overboard. I watch the tanks strapped to the backpacks floating despite its heaviness. “Take pictures of me.” I said to my beau as I got into the water. I was wearing a wet suit and I thought I was so cool.

The Dive Master taught us the basics in the shallow water: how to breathe using the regulator, retrieving your regulator, what to do when your mask gets foggy, and the most important thing: hand signals. You certainly can’t speak underwater, so you rely on hand signals to tell the Dive Master certain things- if your oxygen is low, if you’re ok, or if you’re in trouble.

We were ready.

15 Feet

We descended slowly. The British guy was ahead, followed by the Dive Master, and I lagged behind. The corals were stunning- an explosion of colors and exotic creatures (which you never really appreciate that much when you just snorkel).

The Dive Master turned to me questioningly, and I gave him the signal for “Ok”.

We went deeper… (to be continued)

1 comment:

Moshe said...

It would be a really hard time for you out there as a matter of fact for a moment I was frightened to and if I were in place of you I don't what would I do.

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