Monday, April 23, 2012

Keep calm and fail...

What had happened? Nothing particularly urgent, if I could say that. 

It’s not about the work or romance, it’s neither about some humiliating moments. It was merely my another Saturday’s scuba on Bone Bay, Southeast Sulawesi. 

I might have told you that rolling into the deep was not my favorite. But after getting encouragement about drowning myself and swimming innocently in the water, I have been fine. Then I enrolled myself the open water diver certificate... and voila!, I’m a licensed diver eventually. 

Credit all the“daring myself to get into the water” to my mischievous bf, who is evidently very fond of water (whom I suspect he has gills while diving in the sea). I learned to be confidence moving myself in the water as well as believing that nothing bad would happen. Hell yeah, I’m doing pretty darn good for a noob in the deep down – at least not until last Saturday on my second dive. 

This time, nine fellows from the workplace and diving club joined for the fun dive session and the salt-water diving introduction for several new divers. This could be the biggest number ever to go to Tolala for diving, not for chilling in its white sand beach. 

 Fast forward to the dive, my first one was beyond my expectation. A few days before, I had trained my buoyancy and breathing in the Lake Matano – FYI: This deepest lake in Indonesia is the perfect place to train diving, while the freshwater is great just in case I am thirsty, swiftly. But, I had no idea that it’d affect my performance right away. During my first dive in the morning, it was something I personally felt: everything was beautiful and calm. I handled my breath slowly and deeply, also my buoyancy and movement gently. 

After more than an hour of SIT, I remembered I did not lose my attentiveness towards the basic gear-check before ready to dive for the second session. Then I was thinking that possibly the glee of my smooth first dive was just too much, and I should have not done that. 

 For the first 7 minutes underwater, I had water entering my mask through the nose side. This is normal for divers and scuba diving activity. I always have this moment whilst diving and they have been not a big deal as I could manage to clear the mask. This time it was slightly different, as the water kept coming in. Although I had my mask cleared, it didn’t the stop the water from going in. 

The next 10 minutes was a nightmare. I sent signals to my buddy – happened to be my bf – telling him that the water entered my mask, my situation was not fine. That was it! I told myself to keep calm, breath slow and deep and convinced that everything was actually okay. Swimming forward next to the wall of corals, I could feel how the nose part of my mask was actually placed a little bit higher that it should have been. This caused the water came into mask slowly and nose was clipped by the mask. The dive wasn’t relaxing after all. 

Realizing that something was wrong, I could hear my heart bounced like crazy. Clearing my mask all over again until I felt the water finally went through my nose; I grabbed my buddy’s arm and told him that the mask clearing failed whatsoever. 

At that moment, he showed me how to pull the mask down my face and set it precisely. I was encouraged to follow him and kept calm – but the practice scared me more. More water came in and I did clear the mask again and again, and got panic. 

Trying to tell my buddy to get me out of the water a.s.a.p. by doing the “please” hand gestures a few times, I sensed the intimidating, undersea feeling which jailed me in stages. 

He signaled me, “Okay, we ascend now. But we’ll make it slow and safe. Safety stop has to make, too. Understand? Keep breathing slow and deep, you’re doing fine…” (That was things you told me, wasn’t it, my dear buddy?) My eyes were hurt of both the salt water and tears. However, I tried to calm down and trust my buddy. I held my mask to protect it from the water and kicked the fins as unhurriedly as possible. 

After 20 minutes, I emerged and inflated the breathing system jacket. Whispering billion thanks to God for the bright blue sky I could still see, I took out my mask and started to cry. Oh yes, I was so emotional that I cried myself a river and my hands even shook. My buddy told me to inhale and exhale for calming down as he held my hands. He yelled at the katinting (Sulawesi’s traditional boat) boat driver to get close so I could  step in to the boat. 

In the end, this experience taught me not to blame myself for everything that happened to me. I tried to be friendly to myself and understood that both bad and good things would give me strength for my better, stronger life. No matter how vulnerable I am, I’ll double my determination and persevere what I’ve started. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the fight. My life’s worth it.

Have a pretty day!

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