Ok, so there were a lot of revelations this weekend, here they are in list form:
-I have moderately gotten over my fear of sharks
-The world is awesome
-Found Nemo! (seriously...)
-Koreans are awesome
Ok now for the explanation on everything:
We started 8:30am at the Dive shop here in Koror. Mr Song, explained all the gear we need and how to get it ready. Fun times. Then the downpour began, it was POURING RAIN (but still sunny out?) We left anyway. Kate and I were the only Caucasians on the boat, but everyone was still very friendly. We communicated in the little Korean we knew, and they tried their best to speak in the little English they knew. Most conversations consisted of: "Hello!, Thanks You!...,....,...,,...,,...Thank you!" And you would smile and walk away. Was all good though. We arrived at our beach where we would have our scuba lessons.
It was still early and the tourists haven't shown up yet, so Mr Song sat us down and gave us the run down on how to assemble our gear and how to use it all. We then assembled it all and did the buddy system check. WORST acronym btw (B.W.A.R.F.) Its barf with a W. LAME.
The tourists then arrived so Mr. Song said we should go snorkeling in the area while we waited. So we did. He said their might be some small sharks so be prepared. Mi and I shrug off the warning and decided to go snorkeling in the deeper areas to go shark spotting. As always there were tons of fish, Zebra, huge parrot fish, ones with long noses. And once and a while we would see some shark suckers (signs of sharks in the area) (They are the ones that hang out underneath a shark). Then Mi said she might have seen one and stopped and fixed her goggles, I went out a bit farther and in a flash, out of the dark blue I saw fins, grey skin, and a tail, and back into the darkness it went.
Now I had NO idea how petrifying it would be see a shark, so I scampered back to Mi and said I think I saw a small one in the distance. Then we looked up over the water and saw a fishing boat near us, and then went back under, and then THEY came.
Now the one I saw for a seconds was a pretty small pup. These were quite large, maybe about 6-7 feet long. They were just circling around the area where the guys were fishing. They were black tip reef sharks, pretty common reef sharks. All the Koren tourists started to flock to the area to watch them come out of the dark blue, circle around and then disappear again. I started to freak out. Its one thing to have a cage, or a plate of glass protecting you, but there was NOTHING. And let me tell you, when you see a shark for real, your mind it yelling at you to get to hell out of there. I decided to go tell Kate and Yixin that we are watching tons of sharks. After a while, my heart rate slowed down and you started to really admire them, but when one decided to come towards you, your heart rate jumps right up again.
It was time for lunch and then time for diving. The first dive was basically skills, like how to clear your mask, how to fix stuff under the water. Then we went a bit deeper for the second dive and did some more intense stuff like talking off your gear under the water and then putting it back on. And then all of a sudden the sharks appeared again. Sometimes one or two, or sometimes a fleet of 3-5 adults. Now its completly different seeing sharks un-warned, and un-protected several meters underwater. There is NO escape. You can't rush to the top, cause your lungs will explode, you can't swim that fast. You just sit still and pray that they are not in the mood to eat your legs. They just passed on by.
End of day one of diving.
When I got back to my room, the visions of the sharks coming out of the darkness and then going back in just kept racing through my head. It was petrifying. I was still afraid of them. *Kate was also startled by the sharks, which is saying something because it takes a lot to scare her*
It started off just like before except the family of the owners of the dive shop came along on our boat. They were talking to Mi and smiled at us. They dropped us off again and we got right to work. The first dive we went a bit deeper and did some more drills. In the distance we were again visited by our friends, the Black tips. They never came that close but they were there. After we finished our first dive, we found out we finished almost all of the skills needed. The next two dives would be exploration dives.
Lunch break and time for another dive.
We got in and descended into the water. Its such a thrill to scuba dive. The colors of the fish and all the strange creatures you can see. I picked up a sea cucumber at one point and it squirted its poison defense sperm things to me. It was nasty. Then we reached shark city. They were EVERYHWERE. All sizes. Big ones, pups. Instead of freaking out I kept my cool. I think I finally got over my fear. We then saw some giant clams and fish mating and lots of neat stuff. We ran low on air and turned back. Our last dive we turned the other way and went over the coral garden. This was our test of neutral buoyancy (not sinking or going up). It was awesome, tons of coral everywhere, then Mr. Song took us to a sea anemone where there was adult clown fish and a baby clown fish. It was adorable, It took me years, but I found Nemo! We then ventured off into the coral again and saw all the corals, fish, and the occasional shark. I had barely any air left and we came up just in time.
We packed up and the boat with the Korean family picked us up. We then went to Milky Way. (The place with the limestone mud and sulfur) We got our mud baths and jumped off of the boat. The Korean family and us played in the water. They were so friendly and offered us snacks and drinks. Much more open to conversation than our last trip with the Japanese to the Milky way. After some back flips off the bow, it was time to head home.
We cleaned up our gear and decided on the day for our final examination to get our scuba license. It was a truly eye opening weekend seeing a side of the world few people get to see. I can't wait to do some more scuba here in Palau. Mr Song took some pictures with his underwater camera so I will post them as soon as we get them.
Maybe I should finally start working today at work?
Have a good week!