Today’s blog is a guest entry by recent TSD diver, Chris-Fick van Niekerk. Chris came to Malapascua for nearly 3 weeks to learn to dive and to do some volunteer work at the school where among other things he knocked down a wall for us….
The thresher sharks would come later.
Looking back on the material of aficionados, whom I am happy were there for the initiations, for support and cheer that comes with the trembling when entering into a new world, I zip up and dive once more.
Cop-Bob’s video featuring the threshers is great. Their extended tail fins enhance their motion with a flourish that is pleasing and calming to the watcher.
I felt welcome at Thresher Shark Divers and happy. I never went hungry and the food was delicious- especially the Sisek and Steak & the Philadelphia cream cheese baguette. After virgin submergence one is hungry and thirsty.
It was like swimming in “Finding Nemo”. You hover in neutral buoyancy where you see things, wrecks, coral with neon-blue points, clown-fish, moray eels, bright slugs.
The new sensation of breathing underwater and practicing new skills. Your instructors are knowledgeable with patience and a sense of humour. Jokes go around as hugs go in the company of old friends. Then you swim down there feeling the slow pull of the open water. You hear the bubbles and this beautiful solitude you have only encountered in a box in a “living” room but is now very real and you are very real in it.
This is life. This is living. You surface smiling, anticipating the next dive.
Being there now, post-typhoon, you help out as humanitarian or just human, perhaps at the island school with a lesson or with construction work. You may see a cock-fight, dance at the disco, talk science-fiction and Bertrand Russell with Steve and be quiet and learn something joyous about the Annapurna circuit. You will hear a song you didn’t expect to hear at Oscar’s.
What brought you to Malapascua – to Thresher Shark Divers – could have been the need for a trip somewhere unspoilt or the numerous good Tripadvisor reviews. Above or under water – what keeps you here are their smiles, manners, warmth and the happy hours spent sharing memories and making new ones.
You arrive more or less unexperienced, more-or-less intact. You leave an initiated diver who has lost his heart.