Sometimes we are lucky enough to know that our lives have changed, to discard the old, embrace the new, and run headlong down an immutable course. ~Jacques Yves Cousteau~
One very important thing I remember and stirs inside me every time I sank to the depths is that I am part of the ocean, conditioning my inner self I belong there. Slowing down and being mindful is an integral part in doing my routines, after all keeping a relaxed state at the start will carry that state of mind all throughout the dive. Slowing down is the business down there, undoubtedly patience and enjoying subtle behavior as well as silence is important while diving.
Notes of Comfort
My moments in the depths are most special, feeling like I am in another world totally different from the terrestrial we are in. There is peace, harmony and great silence that penetrate my innermost being. It restores my equilibrium and sanctifies my feeble existence. Even if go back again and again in one site, there is always something new, seeing the underwater with fresh eyes. I always love it when a dive turns out to be an exclusive one with my buddy. Obviously the DM or dive guide had only us to attend to and I can do my own thing without rushing, and watching in awe the subtle ways in the depths.
In few months, I would be a decade in this journey and spending most of these times with my favorite buddy had been rewarding, there’s nothing dramatic I guess but I can always reminisce with joy those precious shared moments. I admit that diving with somebody during my solo trips was different, recently I was paired off to a Finnish lady and when we hit the waters we never communicated at all, she was too preoccupied with her go-pro camera. Rarely can you find a stranger whom you can trust as a good dive buddy.
Wait, I remember there is something dramatic I think! He cried (in his write-up) when I was lost whilst diving in Guiuan which is unlikely, I never saw my buddy even misty-eyed. But maybe, maybe for fear or terror that he would bring back with him a corpse!
Best of Buddies
The utter sense of freedom down there is overwhelming and the shared moments with my buddy, like witnessing something extraordinary together, seen by no one else. It’s just magical!
Being a good dive buddy involves understanding each one’s abilities and being friends on the surface is a good reinforcement. After nine years of diving, often with my buddy, we get to know well enough our capabilities and diving style. Angel has been a trusted friend and it’s true, diving with someone you trust is a very good idea. Having someone who can sense your needs and provide help while in the depths is a blessing.
Being mutually sensitive is the key. I always know that turtles excite him, so if I notice one and he didn’t I need to point it out to him. Once I went up to him and tug his belt to see the turtle. What about petting a friendly turtle (sorry!) while we were in the depths of Puerto Galera! Or when we were in Biri, his tank was off from its band without noticing it, obviously creating a drag so I came to him to fix it. Just recently while we were diving in Camiguin, fortunately we were at an arm’s length, I watched as he took shots of a critter and suddenly his precious dive computer fell off from his wrist, I was aghast he didn’t notice it. He was too surprised as I hand it back to him! I was trying to steady myself trying to shoot those elusive garden eels in the depths of Siquijor, he took my cam and took those needed photos. We always descend together and I can always hold unto his arm while doing our safety stop in times when I’m tipsy controlling my buoyancy.
Surprises also abound, I knew it when he is too happy and overwhelmed with our sightings, Angel would came up or down to me, held my hand and look into my eyes with no words and no such fuss. I like it, just being connected in a deeper way. For me, purest joy don’t need words, loud shrieks, boisterous laughter or any other forms of noise, it doesn’t need to be loud. He did it in Tubbataha, Mantigue Island and in Moalboal in the midst of the sardines run! And most likely, he would wash and rinse all our gears from wet suits to our trash net bags without me asking him. It’s reassuring that after I got lost underwater, he reminded that we should ascend together in every dive. And whenever I go alone in a dive trip, reminding me to be safe always. Pretty normal for a good dive buddy! 🙂
Summing it up, being a dive buddy is a responsibility for both. Thinking ahead for the rest of the dive, monitoring gauges and checking signs for distress or equipment snags. Over-dependence though is never an issue and being on alert to act in a detached manner in case of any problem is always in mind. The mantra – Stop, Breathe, Think, Act – is every diver’s lifeline! Needless to say, I can trust my dive buddy will always be around for me while in the depths or even on the surface.
Do you have a favorite dive buddy? Do you share treasured memories? 🙂
NB. This post is dedicated to Angel, my favorite dive buddy.