Once in the sea it is a different matter. Within safety parameters the diver is free to explore, to cruise along weightless. Nowadays scuba diving has a large following and many head for the reefs. It isn’t surprising really, what better place to explore than a wild coral reef. Down in the domain of the fish, seeing more or less what they see.
I’ve had the good fortune to have had a look at reefs in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Red Sea etc and they truly are wonderful. But not as a scuba diver.
When in the Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean, for a holiday, I intended to take a training course to become a qualified scuba diver. Diving goes in stages, and the initial qualification is to dive to a maximum 60 feet. Then, if desired, further courses can be undertaken for wreck diving etc. Anyway, I wanted the initial course.
It didn’t happen though. I haven’t a problem with my ears until I get into the sea. I should say get under it to any depth. As the depth increases, say beyond 10 feet, the pressure causes considerable ear pain. I tried ear plugs to no avail. The instructors didn’t understand the problem, but of course – no diving course.
An acquaintance on the same course also had trouble, not with his ears but his face. No, he didn’t come out in spots – he had a ‘craggy’ face, deeply lined. When under the sea his face mask flooded and this happened every time no matter what was tried. So no diving course for him either.
I spent my time on the reefs with snorkelling gear. This gives a great ‘overview’ of the reef and everything is still wonderful to behold. I will always remember putting my head down for the first time and seeing powder blue surgeons, what a sight! An Emperor Angel majestically cruising along the reef face. Lots of memories.
I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out at all, I’ve seen some amazing things and got close up to a lot of them. A bit too close sometimes – waves pushing me onto sharp coral was a bit too close, or a large eel appearing in front of my face made me back off. I managed to dive down to perhaps 6 to 8 feet if something caught my eye.
So if you are a scuba diver, I’d have liked to have been in the club. If not or you don’t fancy it, if you’re going anywhere near a reef have a go with snorkelling gear.