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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

My First Dive

COOK ISLANDS | Tuesday, 11 February 2014 | Views [1356]

Today I went scuba diving for the first time ever! The roosters woke me early but I’m glad they did because I wanted to be up early. Thanks to Natalie and her husband I got to sleep in a private bungalow with a sea view!  Although I was up early I was very much on Cook Islands time: lazing back, preparing my brekkie slowly, chatting, and doing my thing. With my new camera was practicing shooting a coconut with the various modes At 8:30 or so I went into town. Avarua is the only “town” in the Cook Islands. It wasn’t before long that I hitchhiked into town. There are buses but they cost a whopping $5 per ride and only pass once per hour, and when I rode yesterday the driver was extremely rude. For lunch I called in at Raviz Indian restaurant and got lamb madras for takeaway. By Rarotonga standards it’s a cheap lunch ($7); add some naan bread for an extra $3. For a wee while I was wandering by the wharf in the blazing sun with no shade. At roughly 1:00 PM Ian, Clare’s husband, picked me up for my first ever scuba dive! My underwater camera gave out a few days ago but for $20 extra Ian could take photos and video and upload them to a CD. I’d be the only person on this dive. Ian said “you should have been on the earlier dive, there were loads of girls in bikinis.” As a result there was nobody else who could film me from land or the boat with my camera but I was able to leave it at the dive office. Several people have told me theft happens far more often than you’d think here; Ian told me it’s a result of poor wages on the island. Ian went over the basics with me: how to view the regulator, how to sink and surface, and most importantly, breath through the tank. Before your first dive, it seems like rocket science with a million things to learn but once I entered the water it was very simple. The scuba tank air is just like the air you breathe only drier, similar to air on an airplane. The basic things whilst diving are knowing how to read your regulator and how to inflate and deflate your jacket. It’s very easy to inflate and nearly just as easy to deflate it. Beneath the surface I had access to a whole new world!

Colourful fish, coral, sea cucumbers, and various other sea life awaited me! Fish in yellow and black swam by me, and then I used my flippers to swim between walls of coral.

Rarotonga’s underwater scape isn’t nearly as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef or Fiji but it’s the perfect place for an introductory dive. Here’s an important piece of advice: even if the water is warm, I strongly recommend wearing a wetsuit. Even with warm water they protect against sunburn, coral cuts, and in certain places, jellyfish. In Australia, my wetsuit was my “stinger suit” since we were in bluebottle territory. Coral cuts can lead to nasty infections and I hit an exposed part of my leg on coral today (thankfully I didn’t get cut). To play it safe, wear a wetsuit. For nearly an hour Ian guided me along, getting photos and filming me! Wow! I’ve been scuba diving! One of those things I never thought I’d accomplish but I finally did it! Now I’m ready to dive deeper and even become a PADI certified diver. You feel weightless in the water but once you exit the water the equipment feels extremely heavy. What a day! What a day! What a day! After the dive is was nice to take off all the equipment but I'm ready for more diving. Ian was nice enough to allow me to run into Wigmore's Superstore for some veggies since I planned on making curry tonight. Wigmore's is great for stocking up on fruit and vegetables but very expensive for packaged stuff. At the dive office, Ian put my photos and video onto a CD so I now have official certification of diving. Another spectacular sunset was on tap for tonight, and Daniel, Vanessa, and I all took turns shooting photos of the magnificent sunset.

Where we’re positioned on the island, you’d think there’d be an elite hotel with gorgeous sunset views from a stylish veranda. However, it’s the cheapies that get the best views. With dozens of photos I even got a few black and white photos; I love black and white island scenes.

For dinner I went out and got stuff for to make curry. It was a sweet and slightly savory curry with tomato, eggplant, onion, and papaya. It came out excellent, and after eating I made Turkish tea for a few other travellers. Kia manuia. What a day! Now it's time to get PADI certified.


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