Saturday, June 16, 2007

Inspired by Bev's post, I dove again

I don't know if it is because school is out and I'm leading a life of leisure right now, the Yankees have won nine in a row, the restorative power of travel, becoming a legal father or what, but I'm feeling good about Saipan right now -- as good as I ever have.

Inspired by this post by Bev, which has great pics and captures one gigantic, unique, positive aspect of Saipan life, I jumped on Aqua Jet yesterday and dove Ice Cream and Dimple. Not to belabor the point, but if I didn't live here already, nothing would draw me to Saipan quite like that post by Bev. I know not everyone dives, sadly, but what can be better than getting out of work early on a Friday and being able to frolic on crystal blue waters and see that explosion of underwater colors -- and do so for a very reasonable price as a resident.

One thing I noticed yesterday is that Saipan might not have the colorful coral it once had, but it has beautiful, colorful fish -- and a lot of them. Beyond that, this was the first dive I was the lead on. In all 200 plus dives I was essentially following someone -- completely lacking confidence in my navigation ability. Yesterday that changed, and I realize navigation wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was. I'm glad I got over that fear. It was a very easy first navigation. I've been very comfortable in the water always, and I've been diving about seven years and have quite a few dives under my belt, but I finally feel completely at home under water now and it feels good. There are lots of people who know more and have done more than me, so I'm humble about it, but I feel distinctly more independent now underwater, and as is my nature as a teacher, I'd like to spread the joy.

I know a lot of divers and a lot of non-divers. If you aren't comfortable in the water, then you probably shouldn't dive, but if you enjoy swimming and feel confident doing so, diving is much, much easier than you probably think. It can be done very safely and very conservatively, and living in Saipan is a great place to enjoy diving. Your biggest danger is yourself -- specifically panicking and rocketing to the surface. If you stay relatively shallow, keep a watch on your air, and dive with a conscientious dive guide, there really is minimal risk. You are extremely unlikely to get attacked by a shark or something, and even if you run low on air, you have dive buddies that should have an octopus so you can breath off their extra regulator. You should simply pay attention so that doesn't happen. I'm heading to the states a week from today, but I'd love to do a blogger dive one day next week. Leave a comment if interested.
One thing I love about travel, especially to more authentic places and less processed places , is the opportunity to meet interesting people. Generally speaking, people who come to Palau to dive the rock islands are friendly folks who have lived a life full of rich experiences and have something to say. I met one guy who was on the research vessel that was on the news examining the reef health throughout the Marianas. I saw the report on this on KSPN and found it fascinating. They dove spots no one else has been to. He was more positive than I expected, noting that only the southern part of Saipan has especially unhealthy reefs. The less populated areas were doing well. He went to most all the Mariana Islands, and he went to school at Duke and Michigan, so he was a smart guy. I met another couple from California diving all the Micronesian Islands extensively, and some Palau expats also doing environmental work and leading a traveling, nomadic existence. They gave me some tips on places to go in Palau.


The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I'm in.

Bev said...

I'm game for a blogger dive=) Let's dive Bonzai and Wing Beach!=)

Jeff said...

I'm thinking Thursday is a great day. I can't Friday.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Wing is a lot more fun as a boat dive. I have a boat. IF the weather holds we could mosey on up to spotlight for the second dive.

Jeff said...

you're ruining your olberman candidacy. thanks bruce. Is Thurs ok with y'all

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Thurs works for me. My boat is at Smiling Cove. Go in the gate closest to the boat ramp, walk straight to the end of the dock, climb aboard the Emerald II.

What time works for all concerned?