I believe I was a mermaid in my past life. But that was the past because now I can’t swim! Well, I can swim in pools where my feet can touch the bottom. But I’d panic if I couldn’t feel the bottom of the pool or the sea floor because I can’t tread water. I barely passed my swimming class in college P.E. because I was never absent haha.
This inability to swim did not deter me from pursuing activities that involved the water. Oh how I love the beach! I remember during semestral breaks when my friends and I would go to Batangas, Cavite, Pangasinan, and La Union.We couldn’t afford tanning lotion back then so what we did was to mix some Johnson’s baby oil with Coke and pour it all over our bodies to get that reddish tan that we would be bragging about when we come back in campus. We didn’t know it could wreck havoc on our skin then. Thank goodness we stopped the practice before it’s too late. Ouch! I don’t want to look like a prune.
Back in 2004 I met a group specializing in outbound education. That introduced me to a whole new world of adventure. Bored with the usual field trips that were not really done in the “field”, I grabbed the opportunity to explore other places that would tickle the adventurous side of me. There were mountains to climb, caves to enter, rocks to rappel down from, and of course the sea.
Snorkelling and swimming became my favorite pasttime. It’s an inexplicable feeling to be with the fishes down there. The first time I saw a school of talakitok I shouted “Ma-traffic sa ilalim!” because they came in hundreds towards me. Then I had a chance for my very first intro dive. There was a pool briefing for 15 minutes where I was taught how to breathe with my mouth, how to de-fog my mask, and the various hand signals underwater. When it was time for the dive I looked funny because I could barely walk from the pool to the dive platform with the 25-lb tank on my back. When I was finally underwater the heavy tank felt so light. Since it was an introductory dive, we stayed only 20 feet under for about 30 minutes. I liked the experience so much that one of my goals now is to earn a diving certificate.
Now I know why I couldn’t swim because I exchanged my mermaid tail and fins for a pretty pair of human legs so I can climb more mountains and do other things I couldn’t do if I remained a mermaid. I can still enjoy the water even if I can’t swim. Besides, what are life vests for?
At the Dive n Trek resort in Anilao, Batangas
Snorkelling should always be done with a buddy.
Ooops! that’s a big don’t in the diving world. Don’t touch the corals. Sorry Nemo, it’s my first time.