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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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Scuba Diving...Good Luck with That!    

By Ken Silver About Asia
3994 Views | 6 Comments | 11/16/2012 2:34:00 PM

Sometimes, sitting on the tropical beach, you may hear the call of the sea. You might actually find yourself thinking…”I wonder what’s under those beautiful waves.” Stop!

Now…get up out of your beach chair, back slowly away from the water, never taking your eyes off of it for a moment…

Believe me; you don’t want to know what’s under the water!

Let’s just say there are no massage parlors or bars underwater, and leave it like that. Besides, it’s all so god awful wet down there! What’s so much water doing in an ocean, anyhow?

You know how I became a diver? It was the Miss Thailand Pattaya Dive shop sales staff. “Yes my handsome man, who I may very well sleep with tonight if you purchase a dive…, the ocean is very much like the desert. A happy desert with many colorful fish!”

That’s how honest salespeople are in tropical Asia. Dishonest. Kind, helpful, flexible, discount giving, yet total liars. They will try to sell you a mass produced glass ring from the treasury of King Solomon and if you point out the fake they simply shrug their shoulders. Sort of a “Didn’t you tell me ten years ago that this Afghan war would be over in ten days” shrug of the shoulders.

One giveaway is that the person who sells you the dive trip always remains on the dock when your boat goes out.

Readers know I dislike nothing more than Real Life. There is nothing more Real Life than the Laws of Physics Underwater. One honest dive shop (not in Asia ) describes diving as no more dangerous than driving a car. Just follow the rules. “If you drive on the wrong side of the road, you’re toast (dead). If you dive the wrong way and your little air molecules explode you’re also toast (dead). (For that matter, if you stick a metal fork in your toaster you and the toast are both (dead).

Yeah, but on some isolated Stinking Desert roads you can drive on the wrong side of the road for hours and get away with it. The Laws of Physics Underwater don’t ever take a nano second off, let alone an extravagant, lazy summer afternoon milli second. The Laws of Physics underwater make Great White Sharks seem like comic relief.

Which still doesn’t negate the great existential dilemma of diving - if God is Just and Good, then how could he have made a shark that big?

Anyhow, somehow, through a chain of unhappy coincidences, I’m on the boat for my first dive.

I gaze at the water. Scary! “There must be some mistake”, I said, smiling weakly. “Isn’t this the taxi boat to the casino?”

All the other divers look up from their “escaped death by a happy coincidence” stories. The dive master chuckles.” Suit up Ken”.

Frantically I show him my trip ticket.

Somehow the ticket – which I would have sworn earlier read “An hours worth of lap dances”- as a matter of fact, at this very moment I very much need it to read “an hours worth of lap dances” the ticket now inexplicably reads “Tiger shark feeding.”

The dive master looked at my ticket, grinned, and held it up for me and all concerned to see. “Mr. Dive master, sir! Things were different! This moment was in the Future when I bought that ticket! I was on dry land when I bought it.! This boat ride was entirely theoretical”.

There’s not much compassion or pity on a dive boat. The schedule is too tight, deck space too small. Scuba diving isn’t macho or manly. Its training and skill. They could-and did-send a dog and a monkey into space way back when. They were trained and skilled, and wearing fancy gear someone else bought. They could send a dog and a monkey underwater –the skill set is similar- except they could never find a dog or monkey stupid enough to go underwater. Wearing fancy gear they had to buy themselves, moreover.

Anyhow, I’m suited up –rubber duck and all –listening to the pre dive plan.

“These reefs …think of it as a supermarket…a reef shelf…an aisle of sand…reef shelf…aisle of sand…take your orientation from that.”
I nod, years of school giving me a pros’ ability to fake understanding. Unfortunately, I’ve taken so much seasickness medication that I’m having trouble figuring out where the ocean is just now.

My dive partner –always dive with a buddy, so you have someone to blame-says “No worries! You may not believe me, but last dive I actually saw…a fish!” Everyone on board gasps appreciably.

That’s another thing about divers. For all the gear, for all the physics talk and entrenched manly chatter, they are nothing but gawking sightseers. Perverts who like to look at marine organisms when they could be girl watching and drinking beer on dry land. (Of course they do that before and after the dive anyhow).

Which reminds me, if you must dive, for pity’s sake do it where you will actually see something. Garbage looks no better underwater than it does on dry land.

And, do your diving in the next forty years, cause thanks to Progress, within forty years all the fish in the ocean-even the one my dive partner once saw!-will be gone.

Kind of makes you look forward to dying, huh?

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2012-11-17 09:04:56 by Tyler72 @Tyler72

LOL, i love diving...

Just remeber the most important (mentioned above) safety rule. You should always dive with a buddy, because then you dont have to be able to outswim that shark... only your buddy.

#2012-11-18 22:07:15 by cotswoldrambler @cotswoldrambler

I went on a trip down to Hainan a few years back - as the only westerner amongst several coachloads. It was a fantastic if hectic trip. I had said that I would like to go for a dive if I could. In the queue I came across westerners once more - what a rude lot they are - pushing and shoving whilst swearing. We agreed to pay for a video of the dive. The whole experience was very slickly organised from a floating station out on the water. After the dive and we returned to land by the time we had showered and changed the disc was back on land ready to transfer to a video CD. We watched the video as the CD was recorded and suddenly realised that recording our dive had completely spoilt the experience! What appeared as wonderfully colourful tropical fish had been dull and grey when we were in the water - the cameraman had made sure we were on the wrong side of the fish so we all looked good in the video!

All in all it was not a something I would bust a gut to repeat - although it was funny when friends back home thought I shouldn't have done it due to the language problems. Since I have never been able to talk underwater I didn't find that an issue! Sign language works all over the world!

#2012-11-22 00:19:27 by QJM @QJM

my first scuba dive was in phillipine,it was fun experience for me,

but the diving club wasn't willing to make us the cd of photos and expenrice license as they promised because they have to give us more discount after we found they offer cheaper price on the street,

after we called them many time,they give us the photos cd,otherwise i could be losing photos from my first

#2012-11-24 13:22:32 by scubaguy14 @scubaguy14

I know I'm a late reply, but I used to teach diving in Malaysia.. I always included a little biology lesson and was happy to educate people on the fragility of the oceans as well that I got a few Chinese to realize eating sharkfin is simply wrong.. and a dive in a -3 degree ocean is always better than a 32 degree beach :)

#2012-11-26 13:01:39 by chrisfr2 @chrisfr2

I started scuba diving and passed the CMAS * when i was 15yo in corsica.
i passed the CMAS ** the year after, training in swimming pool and volcano lakes in center of France. I dived 20 years and finaly passed the CMAS ***, Nitrox , and Assistant instructor. I live in china since 6 years and each time i can have free time i go to thailand or philippines for diving. I also have a few experiences that can complet the member's stories.

Arriving in Hainan Sanya in 2007 for my first chinese new year vacation, i found a scuba diving center just on the main beach and asked for few informations for a dive there....
The dives are really too expensive for the service provided : 800 rmb (100 euro) for a dive at 15m on the reef 150m from the beach... for 500rmb (62euro) the dive master will walk you , holding your tank from the surface and let you try to see what's under you in the cloud.
The dive-master DON'T have dive-master level, they just call themselves "dive-master".. with my CMAS *** the guy told me i had higher level than the top diver of the center...
I finally gave up ; toke my mask and fins, swimm to the reef (ignoring the calls of life guards asking me to stay in the 100m x 100m limits of the "safe area") and went to see at -15m what was so nice to see there....
OK at -15m you don't see anything except sand and the guys who payed 100 euro to be there.
End of exercice, back to the beach, drink a Tsingtao for 5rmb !

OK you go to pattaya to visit museum and cultural places, and you want to try scuba diving... Just to tell you : Pattaya is NOT the place for museum and cultural sites, it's also not the right place for scuba diving. The Chao Phraya dropps his waste few Km north from there, and the temperature of the sea is so high the Plancton and micro-organisms developps too much to let any chance to have a clear view. Expect a 10m visibility maximum, and if you don't wear a swimming suit, you will feel some bites from micro-organisms every whre on your body, like mosquitoes...
Now you can see some blue spots stingrays on the sand... You can visit a wreck or two.. but thats all. So if you want to make a "discover scuba diving" and try to breath underwater it's ok, but if you really want to see something interesting, go anywhere except pattaya. if you like more experiences on scuba diving in asia, i advice phuket / phiphi / krabi (nice dives with white tiops sharks around phiphi dong and in philippines (greats dives with fox-sharks on CEBU-malapascua and sea-turtles on CEBU-Bohol)... next trip is planed for chinese new year : CEBU-Oslob and whales sharks...

#2012-12-14 10:56:16 by hello141 @hello141

Most aqueous animals only attack if provoked or if you look like food. I learned to dive in South Korea, but I most enjoyed diving in Mexico (due to all the beautiful fish). I think diving is an incredibly serene activity. I am in a bubble of peace and solitude. Granted, one must have excellent control of ascent or descent rates in order to avoid decompression sickness or injury.
Furthermore, reputable dive establishments will train you in an Olympic sized swimming pool prior to your first dive. I am very SHOCKED that this did not happen for you. It was unreasonable for them to allow someone with NO instruction to dive in the open water. This was incredibly unsafe!

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