Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ma first scuba dive at Nethrani Island

I took some time to realize that I have no option but to dive now. The moment was scary but I kept telling myself not to quit. I wasn't too sure when I showed my instructor an "OK" sign and we dived few meters. Even though I dint panic I was sure that something wasn't alright. My ears ached. I signaled him "Not OK", he asked me why and I pointed at my ears.


1620783_680180902038398_1531388163_nHe pressed my nose and reminded me to clear off the block in my ears. I tried doing it. The efforts cleared one of the blocks but continued to ache badly. We continued after I said "OK".  He kept pressing my nose every minute and throughout the dive I remember I was totaling engaged in clearing the block inside my ears. It pained like hell.

And at some point I almost prayed that the dive gets over as quickly as possible. The water wasn't clear till we reached the bed of the sea and those brown corals floated. We moved slowly and quite effortlessly watching tiny fishes and the corals around.

The sea bed looked like a vacant house. Due to the over dosage of underwater shows I watch on NatGeo & other adventure channels, this sight somehow refused to wow me. Or it is also possible that in the course of making myself comfortable underwater I dint really enjoy the scene around. But with what ever glimpse I remember of it, it was pale and blank.

We turned back after a while. Few tiny fishes, a long and wide colorful fish stood right below us. A frail sting ray kind of fish which was so transparent that one could easily miss noticing it swan in front of us. My instructor kept pointing at several of those tiny fishes while I was busy pressing the nose.


I met Sumanth and we both posed together for the pictures our instructors clicked. I saw another diver approaching us and when we came almost close I recognized him, it was Manju. We both stretched out arms for a high-five but funnily we missed it.


There was several centimeters of gap between our hands which we could not perceive in the water. It was really funny.We saw a large fish which stripes of beautiful blue, yellow, orange standing still in front of us. I don't remember throwing my eyes beyond few meters around me. It never struck me amidst the helluva discomfort I was facing inside the water.












Its not that we all saw all of these fishes during our dive, its a collection of few wonderful shots I collected across several albums. A glimpse of how wonderful this whole new world is, deep inside.

When we finally reached the surface of the water, I was only happy for it was finally over. My first dive was finally done. I don't really know if I ever looked back before jumping onto the boat. I changed into warm clothes and soon surrendered to slumber. I sat giving my back to the sun to keep warm and hogged on some snacks. I retired to sleep on a bench and never woke up till we had reached the mainland.

Murudeshwara – Nethrani Island

I bit the mouth piece of snorkeling apparatus tight and consciously breathed through my mouth. It dint take long to have it on comfortably. I tilted my body to face the sea. What I just then saw was the hollow sea bed with rocks dispersed around. There weren't any living thing prominently visible at that moment of time. My mind was occupied in learning the skills to stay afloat. I failed to relish what was around until I saw a few tiny fishes swim below me.


A quick image of Finding Nemo flashed and then I saw beyond those moving figures, a picture beyond imagination, beyond any description was below me. It was picture perfect. To an extent the light rays penetrated its trunk revealing those never-seen oceanic colors. I let my body drift to the rhythm of the waves and after a short while I saw two divers one above the other diving close to the sea bed. One of them pumped out foam of bubbles which grew in size as it rose to the surface. I played bursting them like a kid. I loved being there. Just when I thought what I missed all these years, the whole story of how I finally made up to try this adventure was getting relayed inside my mind.


 On one of my previous trips to St Mary's Island I remember having a wonderful experience of floating over the water surface and hearing to the calm of the sea underneath. I laid on the bed of water for a long time sensing her on my ears and feeling her movements on my back. It was so pleasant & quiet that it still resounds on my eardrums at times. But contrary to this, there is this incident which happened couple of months back, which shook me badly. It gives me light tremors every time I think of it. I almost drowned and was saved by a friend. He teases me even today recollecting it. Even as a kid I used to panic every time I got into water. It scares me when my feet cannot touch the bed below and when I am floating I imagine creatures swallowing me into it. It sounds a lil dramatic, but its still the same dreadful imagination I have when I am in water. With this recent incident, it has become even worse. Having known that I am hydrophobic, I knew what I was missing. I could not brush aside this any more. I suggested the idea of diving to Suhas & we planned to dive in Nethrani Island near Murudeshwara.

998156_747293268615765_48460770_n Photo Courtesy: Harsha

Things quickly got freezed & a  big bunch 27 people got our train tickets booked way ahead of time. The world around me, knew that I was diving even before I even packed my bags. Thanks to umpteen check-ins & updates our fellow travelers made on FB. Train journeys are always fun especially when we are a good crowd of mad gang. We played games, recited stories from tinkle, screamed through dark tunnels, clicked crazy pictures, sang songs, danced with joy & not to forget we paid to eunuchs :P. It was noon when we got down at the murudeshwara station and reached the market road. Mid-day sun forced us to quickly reach our hotels facing the sea. With stomachs craving for food, we entertained ourselves to choose hotels and barged in some food into our tummy.

It was still hot sun to roam anywhere out so for a while we choose to fresh up and relax back in our rooms. With evening setting, the sun getting milder we planned to play Lagori on the sea shore. A gang of about 25 people running helter-skelter, throwing the ball far away across the sea shore and helluva screaming. We played till our muscles ached.


We freshened to visit the temple almost close to its closing time. We wanted to watch the tall statue of shive illuminated with lights of the night. The statue with its back to the sea was lit from the shore. The shadow of it thus falling on the sea in the form of long rays of light portraying shiva's grace spreading over the vast ocean. Suhas made some last minute announcement before we dispersed for dinner. A visitor around us seemed to assume Suhas to be a tourist guide and listened to him for couple of mins. LOL :P May be he dint understand a word of it and he left. We dinned at Naveen's hotel which is built over the sea water with the waves constantly lashing its pillars below us. Our aching body deserved some good sleep.

10004069_609331665817853_422761555_n Photo Courtesy : Hazil

I always dream of doing yoga on beach side with the sun throwing at us its first few rays of energy. Few of us woke up for some warm up and yoga on the shore. I decided to carry a mat for my further beach treks to do some full fledged asanas which is otherwise not a great feeling on a not-so-clean shores like this one. Back in our rooms, boys were out having their first round of beverages. Not having much time to spare we cleaned ourselves and took seats in a hotel for breakfast followed by Avomine to avoid sea-sickness. We signed an agreement and packed for the dive. The instructor spoke as the boat made way on the waves towards the island. The tablet quickly had its effects on me and I don't remember a single word that was uttered during the journey. After reaching the island, the boats were anchored close to the island bank, while every one grabbed a snorkeling kit and dived into the ocean water with the life jackets on. As always my heart pumped hard due to the stress. After having every one calling me to join them, I remember I was the last one to jump.

923512_751284144896966_2135408421_n (1)Photo Courtesy: Harsha

I was too tired when I got back into the boat after snorkeling, it made me almost fall off. May be I was just too sleepy. I grabbed some bread crumbs and nutella and waited for my turn to dive. This time I made sure I dive early which will otherwise demotivate me. I was loaded with the cylinder and necessary gears before I could say anything, I was thrown into the water.

My first underwater experience is here

Back in the mainland, I stepped down from the boat and could hardly manage to stand. I was still sleepy. We refreshed in our rooms with a cold bath and searched for a hotel before boarding the bus. Gang towards Bangalore had already left and we headed back towards Mysore by an overnight bus.