This is a continuation of the Coron blog on Island Hopping:
Off we went to the first dive site, the skeleton wreck, a little after 9 in the morning. En route, dive master Randy Yong, briefed us of some basic diving information we need to know. Like the level of the tank to our head, the inflation and deflation buttons on our buoyancy control device, that vest where pretty much everything is attached.
First we practiced how to flap our fins, how to breathe through the mouth and not through the nose, and then we swam in shallow waters using the real gear. We were also taught how to remove the water from the mask, should there be any while we descend the waters.
I was starting to get nervous and excited at the same time.
But before we could start, my companion already encountered a problem. And since we were already underwater, we couldn’t talk and I didn’t know what was going on. I got scared.
A few feet away from the boat, I turned around and found out that she panicked when water seeped through her mask at the beginning of the dive. And so we started again.
The skeleton wreck did not have a lot of fish unlike when you snorkel around Cap’s point where even from the boat you could see fishes and corals right away.
But that’s not why we’re there. This is the least scary since it is just the rusty remains of a fishing boat. It’s not like that of the WW2 Japanese fleet drowned by the American hell divers.
We stayed down for 20 minutes, including the intervals per depth. And even if I inhaled some sea water when we were about 20 meters deep, it was not enough to distract me and the dive.
After the dive, we stopped for lunch at the small nipa hut near the wreck. Sir Randy advised us that we need to rest for an hour after the dive, it’s referred to as the surface interval, the length of time of which, is decided by the watch-sized computer worn by our master diver.
After lunch we headed to our coral dive site, the twin lagoon. There was a boat nearby for a snorkeling activity, as I prepare for the dive, this time, from the boat, as there was no shore.
It became easier to dive, although it was scarier for me because the ocean I was seeing was so vast. I mean, I knew that. But the first dive involved coming from shore, so I knew somewhere, there was a place I could go had something happened. But this time, everything was just…deep.
Around 10 meters down, as the pressure started to build up, my ears hurt too bad and I couldn’t equalize much as I was foolishly filming using my right hand. I stopped the video and started equalizing and I might have overdone it a bit. Our dive master later said, on our way back to the resort, that our snorkeling masks would not withstand the pressure of such depths, that’s why water kept seeping in. Had it not been for the mask, we would have dived better, faster.
And because water found its way back inside my mask, mixing with blood that could have come out my nose when I equalized, I was looking through a mask with reddish liquid up to my nose. I panicked and signaled that we go up. I thought I was bleeding and my panic brought us all back up together.
I asked them to continue with the dive, and that I may not go on anymore as I got seasick after I saw blood (on hindsight, I wish I manned up to the challenge and went back).
In the end, we were advised by Sir Randy to buy diving masks if we wanted to take scuba diving seriously. It is more expensive that most of our new-found hobbies, but it surely is worth doing, maybe twice a year if the budget permits. He added that had we worn standard scuba masks, we would have made it deeper, faster.
As a beginner, I loved it. We may have had mishaps along the way, but as Sir Randy puts it, it’s a normal learning process.
It’s the same when I started learning to bike, I fell a few times. When we first started to surf, we fell butt first a lot of times before we stood against the waves.
(Author’s note: almost 4 years later, I still want to go into the deep and try scuba diving again – maybe in Apo Reef?)