Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Phi Phi: In the Water

Our long-tail boat. We're docked at the famous bay from The Beach.
My first experience snorkeling was in Phi Phi. The waters are crystal clear and warm. There is absolutely no cause for hesitation to get into the ocean. During the day, I saw black-tip reef sharks, hawksbill turtles, packs of squid, tons of fish (including clown fish), and an eel. I spent the majority of my snorkeling time by myself while my friends did their scuba diving training.

This big school of fish followed my friend and I through the waters.
Our boat captain steering the long-tail.
There are few things more relaxing than floating in a big clear ocean with no one but the fish.

The most memorable snorkeling experience was when I accompanied my friends on their night dive. They had all descended into pitch black water and I was left alone on the long-tail boat with the boat captain that could not speak a word of English. Did not matter - I shared a little smoking break with my new friend and put on my snorkel gear. I pointed out into the water and he took me to the perfect spot.

I dropped in and had just a brief moment of panic. I felt completely exposed by the darkness below me. But, I quickly realized why my boat captain friend dropped me off at this point. Below me I saw four rays shining along the underwater cliffs. My friends and their instructors were exploring about 20 meters below me. Suddenly the ocean did not feel so vast anymore. I was able to get a distant look of the reef and cliffs their gear spotted. Their lanterns illuminated their silhouettes and schools of fish swimming between us. I had a blast letting the glowing bubbles from their tanks roll around my body before reaching the surface. I followed them for almost their entire dive.

I lifted my head out of the water to de-fog my mask. I looked up and the stars were out and bright. I looked for the captain out in the distance before he turned off the lamp on his boat. What?! I figured that was a sign to come back. I put on my gear again and started to swim towards him.

It was a whole other world. I had lost the divers below so I had no real sense of direction. There was nothing I could see... except the tiny specks of green light that sparkled around my body. The more I waved my arms and kicked my legs, the more the bioluminescent plankton lit up like stars following my movements. Between the plankton and myself, we were putting on an amazing underwater light show for one. I danced around for as long as I could before remembering that I wanted to be back on the boat before the diving crew came up. My heart felt like it was doing a happy dance as I came up from the water with total appreciation for the starry night sky and the starry sea below.

1 comment:

  1. It must have been the most beautiful moment. I might add that it's only available to people with enough bravery to jump in dark water and let the experience wash over them with open, appreciative eyes.