Scuba diving became a passion for myself and my wife after first getting the taste of it couple years back. A journey we started as couple of amateur Scuba divers has now evolved in to a full blown hobby making us going to places that we have only seen in Discovery, Nat Geo and the likes.
Underwater world fascinated me from the childhood, I was enchanted by the entire worlds that are hidden beneath the Ocean and always aspired to explore them.
Our very first Scuba diver took place in Unawatuna, an enchanting beautiful coastal town in southern region of Sri Lanka and hour an half from its capital Colombo.
“I am not sure I can do this hon, you go ahead I’ll stay ashore!”
I still remember these words from my wife getting after frightened during a training session we had before our very first dive.
“Urggh.. I gulped down some sea water” she was screaming coming up with her diving regulator in hand.
Despite her best efforts, she simply couldn’t stop breathing out her nose while been hooked to the regulator, so sea water kept getting inside her mask as she was trying to exhale through the nose that left a little opening allowing the water to seep through.
“Don’t panic babe, you’ve got this, let’s take it slow. Baby steps, come on let’s do this and you’ll thank me later you know” I tried to calm her nerves down.
So it was nothing a morale boosting pep talk couldn’t fix at the time. (wink wink)
Although it was her that was on the back foot at the beginning when it came to diving, now it has been the flip side, as she is the one who hunts down dive sites for us. She does all the research, talks to the dive site people and set the whole trip up, should tell you a lot about how one can get spell bound by diving.
We started the proceedings by getting a quick training by the PADI certified diving instructors in the shallow waters of the Unawatuna beach itself, which is a very famous tourist attraction and is always buzzling with activity.
Going for the diving site
My wife experienced some troubles under water(again) as she had some water coming in to her face mask so she used one hand to close her nostrils from the outside. Luckily she didn’t panicked and kept flushing the water out with a neat trick that was taught to us in the training.
As we descended over 10 meters i could feel that my ears getting locked due to the air pressure with a slight sensation of pain. Since this was expected and we were instructed what needs to be done to adjust the pressure, did not become a huge problem. We press our mask against the forehead tightly with one hand and other closing the nostrils while trying to blow as hard as we can until we feel that pressure gets released in the inner ears. Once we descend to a decent enough depth from the sea bed we adjusted buoyancy and started gliding towards the Ship wreck which is to be the highlight of our dive.
We were also taught some basic hand signs to communicate under water, ‘👌’ means I’m okay while ‘👋’ flapping our hands parallelly to the ground means that we are in trouble. Moreover, ‘👍’ says that I’m going up or we need to go up while ‘👎’ indicates that we are going down or need to go down.
I was looking at my wife the whole time who came besides me and doing ‘👌’ again and again to make sure that she was doing fine.
As we started seeing the marine life all the memories from what I have seen in documentaries and films came crashing in.
“Damn, this can’t be true. There is an entire world out here” I was saying to myself.
Sea creatures of all sizes and shapes were there. Some went in to the little openings in corals as they saw us approaching. While more curious ones came in herds and started swimming around us in flocks. I was so overwhelmed with joy and excitement and I could feel a rush of adrenaline in my body.
A blue spotted ray whooshed passed me couple of feet’s away flapping its wings and sliding elegantly over the sea floor, the second I saw it I was waving at my wife pointing it to her, only if I could yell underwater!
“Hello, here, hello, Urrgh, look at this way hon” I was waving and making some funny movements like crazy.
She wasn’t looking at this direction and couldn’t get her to in time, before the ray disappeared. I guess she was also awe-struck to see the paradise underwater for herself with all the marine life buzzling around us.
Bright colored fish was everywhere, some were eating the see weed and other plant life that grew on the corals. Thinking back and reminiscing the events that unfolded under water right in front of my eyes, I can’t find any words that would justify the beauty of things I saw as the whole experience was so ‘dreamy’.
There were some big grouper fish(from what I could spot it was groupers mainly) who were going for their solo swims as well, while there were parrot fish who kept on eating dead corals and clownfish were going in and out of the corals was a sight that will stay in my mind forever.
As we glided towards the sunken ship the color of the ocean became much darker as the light didn’t penetrate that deep. It was more dark bluish compared to earlier, coral reefs disappeared instead I could see the sandy sea bed more clearly. Visibility was not more that five to ten meters in front. As we went ahead I could see a structure sticking out of the sea floor in the distance, it was the Lord Nelson ship wreck. As we came nearer I was astonished by the sheer size of the ship, most parts of which has already decayed while others have let marine life to prosper around them.
I dived under the massive structure of the ship (or what is left of it), I remember to have gotten chills down my spine remembering how great whites come out of hiding from structures like this and drag people in to the dark abyss of the sea in the movies. I was shaking my head trying to look around to make sure that I am not being hunted by one, as funny as it may seem now I was scared to wander in to the ship wreck it self.
After a half an hour going around and though some sections of the ship wreck we decide to head back.
On our way back we came to a site where there were some objects placed and held on the sea bed by the divers collective in Unawatuna to provide tourists an underwater attraction, which were solely meant for photo shoots.
Yes, you guessed it right. We had our fair share of moments in there as well!
It was a wonderful diving experience that made me appreciate and respect the oceans more and more, I could never fathom the beauty nor the scale of the world that are hidden by the oceans before I went in.
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