Underwater Frisbee

15 Apr

Z has had his first dive! In Puerto Galera, the Philippines, one of the world’s best diving spots.

He’s become progressively more excited about diving since we met William Hudson in Kampot — a cave diver, who discovered a new system in the Philippines, and teaches dive masters the physiology of diving to dive masters.

Z did the PADI Bubblemaker course, which is open to kids from the age of eight, with a guy called Guido, from AB Divers, on Sabang Beach. And — whether as a teaching tool or just for the hell of it — underwater frisbee is every bit as fun as it sounds.

Guido taught him some safety basics in the pool. Clearing water from the mask while subsurface, removing and replacing the regulator (breathing device), losing the regulator, finding it and clearing it, the basic diving hand signals.

Then the underwater frisbee came out: a slim, flat disc, which loops through the water in slow, exaggerated curves as if in space. Z moved effortlessly after it, moving up and down as easily as to the sides, weightless despite the heavy tank on his back. They say that the buoyant, slow-paced 3-D movement you utilise in scuba diving is the closest most of us will get to being astronauts. And this was, quite honestly, like playing frisbee with my little boy on the moon.

Then we took a boat out a little way off shore. Z went down first (no deeper than three metres). He saw clownfish, angel fish, scarlet, purple and golden coral, and the slender turquoise fish which flicker in the clear water like strips of liquid electricity.

Watching from the boat, it looked as though he had ear trouble, because the pair of them kept breaking surface.

But, no. Every time he saw something special, he stuck his thumbs up to go to the surface so he could tell Guido all about it…

I did a short dive, which was probably the best of my life. Pennantfish, angelfish, triggerfish, surgeon fish, parrotfish and wrasses. An anemone clownfish guarding his tendrilled nest with all the nervous verve of Marlon in Finding Nemo; a spotted moray eel nesting below a coral garden; technicolored coral colonising the cabin of a sunken bangka; a pipefish slumped in white sand like a chunk of rope; a spiny devilfish, with purple around its eyes, trailing its bat-like fins along the sand like the wings of an avenging angel; starfish in shades from caerulean to polka dot and leopard print.

There’s something incredible about diving. The ability to move with equal ease in every direction, to turn flawlessly in three dimensions, to slot into an underwater world which does not register your presence, gliding through great shoals of angelfish, marvelling at the fine detail of slender corals, navigating through clear water.

I’ve wanted to learn to do it properly for a long time now — I’ve done amateur hour dives on four continents — but Z’s been too young to do it, and it’s always seemed unfair to sideline him for four days while I sit in a classroom learning theory. We’ll get around to it this year…

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2 Responses to “Underwater Frisbee”

  1. Amanda S April 25, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    Oh Wow! That sounds incredible! looking forward to more diving posts further into your trip! x

    • MummyT April 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

      Watch this space! You should totally do a course. Say hi to the family from me (and junior) xxx

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