As a traveler, my one and only frustration is not knowing how to dive, or not having enough guts to learn how to dive. This is ridiculous, considering how much I am enamored with the the ocean. My frustation is all the more heartbreaking knowing that within our country’s 7,107 islands lie some of the world’s best dive sites. Think Tubbatha Reef in Palawan, the Philippines’ national marine park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I understand the underworld is an outrageously W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L. destination. I have heard how divers have endlessly fallen in love with the mystical creatures of the deep and how much they love to say “It’s a different world under the sea!” in a way that makes heaven on earth a tangible experience. I have snorkelled in some parts of the Philippines (Bohol’s Balicasag Island is my favorite so far) and have experienced how the plethora of color and texture that abounds under the sea can really blow one mind’s away. Imagine diving to the deepest of the seas. Well, that’s finding heaven under the sea.
My heart problem scares me to take scuba diving lessons. I haven’t been braved enough to take one even when some of my friends convince me it’s not risky. Even when Filipina underwater videographer Karina Escudero offered to take me under her wings for some free diving lessons, I begged off. I just can not risk my health.
But after meeting Achim Goeke this month, a German underwater photographer who has been to Maldives, Bahamas, and the Philippines (among others) to take amazing photographs of the underworld, I now feel stupid for declining Escudero’s offer. Goeke’s account of the kind of fun that lurks under the sea is just breathtaking.
Goeke has been diving for more than twenty years now and has obviously mastered the art of underwater photography. When you start talking to him about diving and the unique experience it offers (and how much it costs), you would really feel sorry about that one afternoon you refused an offer to take scuba diving lessons for free. That’s what I felt while looking at his photographs as I listened to his fascinating narratives of the underworld.
He is particularly interested with sharks. All kinds of them.
He swears sharks are really charming and shy. He recalls an incident when a tiger shark turned its back from him but returned after a few seconds, looked him in the eyes and glided along with him. He remembers freezing in that moment, not because of an impending attack, but because of how surreal the moment was.
Goeke attests you meet fascinating characters under the sea.
Some of which are just beautiful in an odd way 🙂
Goeke is in Donsol now to take photographs of the whale sharks. He has seen them in Belize and he can’t believe how gentle these ginormous creatures are.
After talking to Goeke for three consecutive nights, I made a resolution to include scuba diving lessons on my summer’s checklist this year. I shall gear up for it and will let you know about my first dive. 🙂
What’s on your summer checklist? Love and light, everyone. Go, wanderlust! 😀