Oct 6, 2014

SCUBA Diving in the Blue Lagoon

Tavewa Island sunrise

Mission one complete: I am now a certified open water SCUBA diver! Now I can go on dives all around the world! I celebrated by thanking my Swedish instructor with a sober handshake, then went back to the dorms to do a flailing-limb happy dance in the middle of the bathroom hall saying “Awesome! Awesome!” over and over again.

SCUBA diving near Blue Lagoon

The sea here is the bluest, bluest, blue God ever created. The water is clear for about 20m, and teeming with lion and angel fish, sea cucumbers, fish every color of the rainbow, and I even saw a lobster hiding out in the multi-colored coral reefs that looks like ginormous cabbages and soft swaying “flowers” that blow in an invisible wind. There are bull sharks on the other side of Tavewa Island (where I am) that they feed every other day, and you can dive with them to watch. They’re very shy and not so scary; we are far scarier to them.

View from the top of Tavewa Island

It’s taken me four days to complete the open water certification. It usually takes three, but yesterday the boat battery was dead. Certification involved a test swim, two academic lessons, two skill tests in shallow water, and three deep water dives. The deepest I’ve gone is 18m. I’ve tried to describe what I saw to some other travelers, but words fail me — under the sea is another world! Your only emotion down there is amazement (and maybe a little anxiety about making sure you’re breathing properly through your regulator).

Tavewa is the northernmost island in the Yasawa Island chain. Most people come by boat and stay just two nights before hopping to the next island on a prepaid tour. I’m staying here for a week - pretty long by visitor standards - and I’ve gotten to befriend the staff. They’ve named me “Cia,” a shortened form of “Teh-ree-see-ah.” I think I’ll end up with a new nickname in every country I visit.

I certainly feel like a different person here. It seems so natural to be traveling, like this is the real me underneath everything; I’m where I belong, on the open road. I'm so, so happy. Being a few meters away from the beach at any given time and watching the horizon everyday from a hammock certainly helps! Not bad for my first week abroad :)

Hey there, hermit crab. Come out and enjoy the sunshine!

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