I started this year with a trip to Malvan. I went there to play cricket and do marketing for my company. Malvan is a small city in Maharashtra situated on the coastline of Arabian Sea. It is a beautiful city. People do the farming of coconuts and cashews there. Thus, you will find lot of coconut and cashew trees in Malvan. Malvan is rich in nature and surprisingly, it provides an opportunity to do water sports. The moment we landed in Malvan, people started approaching us (cricket team) for water sports. After listening completely to couple of approaches, we decided to try scuba diving after finishing the tournament.
Unfortunately, we were out of the tournament after loosing a close match in the quarter finals. And that loss gave us a whole day to try water sports. On the day of finals, we decided to go for scuba diving. We were given different rates by different group of people and the rates were in the range of Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000. After doing the bargain, one of our team members finalised it in 800 bucks. On the day of finals, a boat was waiting for us at Tarkarli Beach. Professional divers took us 4 kms away from the beach in that boat.
They dropped the anchor in between the three very small islands and started giving instructions.
- You have to wear the mask and jacket with the oxygen cylinder and shoes.
- Breathe from mouth, not from nose. Breathing from nose will bring water in mask which will ultimately cause lot of problems.
- Don’t touch anything down in the water, it may hurt you. There is pole down there. Hold the pole and we will take the pics and will shoot the video.
- You have to use signs to communicate in the water. Use 👌 for OK. 👍 for coming up. 👎 for going deep in water and 👋 for not OK.
- As you will go deep in the water, there will be pressure on your ears and you will feel the pain. You have to release the pressure by pushing the air from your mouth through the ears. And the pain will be gone.
- We will take your breathing test here, near the boat, before going deep in water.
- If you are not able to go for the dive for any reason, money will not be refunded.
The moment instructor gave second instruction, I started breathing from my mouth instead of nose. Third instruction was a surprise for me as I didn’t know that they will shoot the video and take pics as well in 800 bucks. Signs to use were seen in movies before. sixth and seventh instruction brought grim expression on the faces of most of my teammates. We had to go in the group of three for the dive as there were only three professional divers. Out of eight people, I stood up (out of excitement) to go in first. I was excited as well as nervous.
I was nervous because I didn’t know how to swim. I went in the water after wearing the jacket with oxygen cylinder holding two life savers. The moment professional diver came around me, I started feeling confident. I passed the breathing test. After passing the test, diver (underwater) asked me 👌? And we went deep in water.
The world underwater was amazing. Fishes of different colours were moving around, there were corals around. Underwater, I was not able touch anything, I was not able to speak, I was just seeing through my eyes and admiring the beauty underwater in my head.
He (diver) took me to one point in the water and I started feeling the pain in my ears. The pain was bearable so I didn’t do anything. I saw the pole and diver instructed me to hold it. As I held the pole, he went away to grab the camera and some food for fishes. He grabbed the camera and started shooting and fishes were moving around. He was throwing the food through his hands to attract the fishes. I was holding the pole and accidentally, my knee touched one of the fishes and straight away I felt the pain as the fin of that fish struck my knee.
When the diver was not around for too long, I started panicking. My eyes widened in caution and I started breathing faster. There was a fear of drowning. Before he could finish off the shooting, I started signalling “not ok” 👋 and “take me up” 👍. He calmed my nerves once and went back to shooting. After few minutes, I started feeling the fear again. And I started giving him signals of “not ok” and “take me up” again. While going back towards the boat, I saw the rays of the sun from inside water and felt relaxed.
“What happened? You were doing good inside?” Professional asked me after bringing me out of water. “It’s enough. I didn’t want to go deeper than that.” I answered him with that scary feeling.
“How deep was the pole?” I asked instructor after getting on the boat. “It is 15 feet deep. If you can go that deep then you could have easily gone another 10 feet.” That answer made me realise what I did. I started feeling happy about going 15 feet deep and I wished to go for another dive. I wanted to explore the sea beneath that pole and corals.
It was a great experience. I went for a dive as an excited soul. I saw the life underwater. I got clicked underwater. I sensed the fear. And I came out. All those feelings made the experience worthwhile. I will never forget the time I spent underwater. The water in Malvan was not as clean as it is shown in movies. It won’t give you 100% satisfaction but considering 800 bucks (including video and photos), it was a value for money dive. After this dive, I will never leave the opportunity of scuba diving in my upcoming trips.
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