One afternoon at a dive site

FOR a non-diver, an afternoon spent at a popular dive site means sitting on the beach watching those small red buoys bobbing up and down, like small flags in the far distance, indicating that there are divers beneath the waves.

I had the luxury of an afternoon off a week ago, and got the chance to sit on the warm sand, munching on a bag of chips and simply enjoying the occasional spray of waves on my feet while breathing in the salty breeze from the ocean.

The parking lot of the Laulau dive site was almost full, which means that a lot of divers were out enjoying the underwater wonders of Saipan. I and some friends found a small shaded spot on the beach and settled down to throw pebbles at the water.

From a spot where a red buoy was floating, a couple clad in wet suit emerged. With heavy tanks strapped to their backs, they wobbled their way across the knee-deep rocky waters, looking so tired. But satisfaction was clearly written on their faces, and it just made me green with envy.

Diving is one aspect of adventure I haven’t ventured into yet, but one that is on my bucket list. I’ve tried scuba diving at Mañagaha before — a giant leap for one who doesn’t know how to swim.  But I survived, and found the experience exhilarating.

A few minutes later, two guys emerged above the water from the spot where a buoy was floating, and they made the slow, weary trip back to shore, dragging the buoy behind them while rolling the rope. Two ladies who had emerged from beneath the waves were busy rinsing the sand off of their wetsuits a few feet from where we were.

Down by the rocky shore, a little boy and girl carrying a small pail started to search for crabs. Further down, a fisherman with a net slung on his shoulders stood at the end of the rocky strip left uncovered by the water, surveying the sea and mentally calculating the best spot to cast his net.

To our right, a Japanese tourist sat on a fallen log, staring out into the deep blue expanse of water, looking lost in thought.

Very soon, all the buoys were removed and dragged to shore as all the divers emerged from the deep, reminding us that our brief mini-afternoon vacation was almost over and that we had to go back home.

The Laulau dive site is considered by divers to be one of the best sites on island. Stories and pictures posted by those who have been down there tell of the glorious experience of meeting a school of fish, turtles, carpet anemones, eagle rays, coral and other marine life, as well as rusty pieces of historical remnants buried underwater for decades.

These are more than enough reasons to make one take up diving lessons. In the meantime, I just contented myself with watching the shoreline teeming with life and people, with the hope that soon, I will be telling stories straight from beneath those waves. It will be a whole new world.

First published HERE

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