Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am now a certified scuba diver

I look like an idiot in this photo but yes, I have completed my PADI Open Water Scuba Diver course! Last weekend in Redang!

Went with instructors Dolphin Lee and Shaiful, along with four other students Wei Ling, Khafiah, Mr Yong and Rose Yasmin.

The youngest in the group was 16 years old while the oldest was 60. I guess you could say ours was a diver(se) group.

We did four dives altogether, the last of which was a boat dive at the Bahagia shipwreck about 10 minutes from our resort (15m deep).

Unlike last year when I went for that DSD thing in Perhentian and thought I was going to die, my confidence level this time around was at an all-time high.

Swimming through the ship's toilet without having to pay 30 sen.

Alamak, dah jauh dari toilet baru terasa nak buang air.

Checking on my buddy, Wei Ling. You ok, buddy?

She's ok.

Shiny happy people.

Good news all around as everyone in our group was able to perform the required skills.

Next step for me is Advanced Open Water. And swimming. I wanna get good at this.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I got married today!

Friends were utterly shocked when I put on my Facebook status update last night: Ridzwan A. Rahim is getting married tomorrow!

Adding to the controversy was a FB friend who claimed to be the person taking the plunge with me.

Of course, it wasn't at all what my friends thought it was. I wasn't getting MARRIED. I was just getting my scuba diver license done.

So what's with that marriage thing? Allow me to explain.

A month ago, it occured to me just how much my encounter with scuba diving has been something like a love affair. Consider the following:

1. Last year when I had my first taste of the activity, via discovery scuba dive (DSD), it was like a very memorable fling.

2. Since that first experience, and now that i knew it could be done, I kept coming back to the island for more. So it was becoming like a relationship. You're having fun. You know that whenever you want 'it', it's there. But you're not yet willing to commit.

3. Then, about a month ago, I bought a bunch of diving equipment -- mask, wetsuit, booties, fins. The first sign that I was taking this thing seriously. At that stage, I was getting engaged.

4. Today, I began my confined water scuba course. This will be followed by an open water course in two weeks' time which, if completed as planned, will make me a certified scuba diver. This is marriage. I'm saying my till death do us part.

I shared this observation a few weeks ago in Perhentian, with Ariel, a writer from Virtual Malaysia along with Meena from The Sun and my instructor Simon from Universal Diver.

So when Ariel saw what I wrote on my FB, she knew exactly what I was talking about. And it was true that she was taking the plunge -- joining me in the confined water course!

A year ago, I was convinced that I would never take up scuba diving. At the end of the Panasonic marine conservation project, I was just happy to come back alive, because that was a big achivement in itself.

I was convinced I would never take up scuba diving because I thought it would just take too much of my time and money.

So what made me change my mind? Three things:

1. Overcoming fear
I like it that this activity teaches me to overcome my fear. I used to be scared of large bodies of water. Not anymore.

Over time, I hope to also take up advanced open water scuba diving, rescue diving and ultimately swimming and lifesaving. I want to save people's life.

2. That magical sight
One of the sights during that first dive in Perhentian that I will carry with me for the rest of my life is when Charlie my intructor told me to stay on the sea floor while she went to help another newbie.

After waiting for a while, I looked up and saw Charlie descending towards me. The sun was shining behind her and she was surrounded by thousands of small fish. Definitely not something you can get at Aquaria KLCC.

3. Scuba diving is also where I met some of the most beatiful and confident women. Unfortunately, most of them are married.