I guess being a citizen of Indonesia—a country well-known as a scuba diving heaven—it’s about time I learned how to scuba dive. I’ve snorkeled before, and sure, some people might say snorkeling is enough, but I beg to differ. To use a (really) terrible analogy, it’s like competing in a race and winning 2nd place, only to jealously watch as your good friend takes 1st place. Snorkeling merely shows you a glimpse of the beauty that lies beneath the surface, and to actually behold the underwater world in all its glory, you kinda have to dive deeper. And yes, I know, weird analogy.
I’ve wanted to learn to scuba dive for quite some time. My parents both got certified five years ago, and ever since, they’ve been telling me that I should get certified too. With all the moving around I’ve done in the past five years though (from Singapore to Auburn to Providence and soon Cambridge), I haven’t found a time to do so. However, I’m spending nearly three months in Indonesia this summer, and we’re visiting Raja Ampat (an area known for its scuba diving) in late July, so this summer might as well be the best time for me to get certified.
I got certified with Scuba Schools International (SSI) and the lessons took about four days; two days spent learning theory and practicing in a pool, and two days of scuba diving in the actual open water (I am getting an Open Water diving certificate after all). The open water lessons for us took place in Kepulauan Seribu, which is a group of several hundreds of islands off of Jakarta. I took the certification with my siblings, cousin and aunt and uncle and my parents and grandparents also came along.
Honestly, the reefs we saw weren’t really that pretty. As you can see in the featured photo above, the visibility was also really low. It was a fun trip nonetheless because of the company, and of course, because of the scuba diving. A big part of learning to scuba dive is learning to control your buoyancy. You don’t want positive buoyancy because you’ll keep floating up, but you also don’t want negative buoyancy because you’ll keep sinking, and if you’re not careful, you might accidentally kick the reefs and ruin them. If you want to be able to see the reefs and pretty fishes, you’ll want to be able to stay in one place, which is why achieving neutral buoyancy is key. Keeping neutral buoyancy is harder than it sounds, but I think I finally got the hang of it. To finally be able to scuba dive felt like such a great accomplishment. Besides, I think it’s pretty badass, haha!
Now that I’m officially certified, my mind has been thinking of scuba diving destinations non stop. After Raja Ampat, where should I go next? Perhaps the Red Sea? Or somewhere closer to the US, like the Great Blue Hole in Belize? Or maybe Bunaken? So many possibilities, and hopefully I’ll be able to explore more of the underwater world. Our world is 70% covered by water after all, and I think it is only fitting that we get a look of what this earth has to offer us. Of course, the coral reefs that are present under the sea take years to form, and scuba divers need to take proper precautions to make sure that they don’t hurt the environment, and of course, to make sure that they themselves are safe.
Before I end this post, I’d like to wish everyone a Ramadan full of joy and blessings. Ramadan mubarak!