September 29, 2013

Snorkeling with a Stranger - Exploring Underwater at Havelock Island

Recently, I planned a trip to Andaman with a lot of expectations, and land there with a bunch of strangers. Travelling with people whom we don’t know is not easy. I would rather advice not to do so if you are not an adventurer. It may be fun if everyone is like minded, but might become stressful if its otherwise.

I am a person who always enjoys people, different kinds, the ones that come in different shapes and sizes, tall, short, colors etc. It was always a pleasure for me to watch how people behave in different scenarios.
Some people live the moment and enjoy the freedom, and some are grim. This time, I was caught between dissimilar people. Soon after landing at Port Blair, I realized that what I have gotten myself into. I always believed that happiness should begin from inside of us and spread outside. Many a times, we crave to derive happiness from outside but, we forget the treasure is inside us… so I had decided that the reason behind my happiness will be me and not my company

I am a hydrophobic person. I can’t even walk in 3 ft water. Why water, I can’t walk straight on stand. I slip and fall on flat surfaces. Well my best friends know me! I am a person who screams on top of my voice on seeing the sea. Scuba Diving, I am not supposed to do. Well there was some bleeding in my ears, since I ventured into learning swimming to get rid of hydrophobia. I landed damaging some membrane in my ear. So doctor told me no scuba for a month!

on the ski boat to Elephant Beach...

Well, then the next choice is snorkeling. I go to Elephant Beach in Havelock for snorkeling. I get geared up for snorkeling. I was given that mask which blocks the nose completely and has a goggle over the eyes. Now the snorkel, Abhijeet teaches me how to bite the hold the snorkel with my teeth in my mouth, and how I should breathe only via my mouth. Before I start the story, let me introduce Abhijeet. Abhijeet is a localite at the Elephant beach who was going to be my snorkel guide. He says, if something is wrong I should signal to him. He gives me the tube, I wear for floating on water.

He teaches me how to snorkel in the shallow waters and I was ready to take on the great big ocean…Abhijeet goes in front of me, I am touching his hand and going behind him… we go a little further, and then a little further… I feel choked. The water had entered the snorkel and we had to pull it out and empty it.

He tells me to bite it tight and I do the same. We start again. I get choked again. I call him, I say “ I m not able to breathe with this snorkel thing” He looks at me and asks,”Can you hold your breath for some time under water? Will you be fine?” I say “ I can” . Then, I remove the snorkel and I hold my breath under water, when I have to breathe I come up above water. This was very comfortable. I was excited …
We keep going into the ocean further deeper and deeper. He showed me colorful corals, pink, purple, yellow and violet. Bunches of colorful fishes moving here and there. Big gigantic sea cucumbers, it was more than 45 mins, I lost track of time, looking at the amazing wonders below the waters in the ocean. It was new fairy world out there…

Suddenly Abhijeet says, “give me a minute, I will be back” and he vanishes… I look around there is only water everywhere, I don’t see the shore anywhere. We had probably snorkeled a few kilometers, I don’t know! Abhijeet is not there, my heart sank for a moment, I go down underwater to see if Abhijeet is there. Oh yes, there. He was far deep down, I didn’t have a clue what he was upto. Few seconds I kept looking at him …he then came back up from the ocean floor and asked me close my eyes and show my hands.

He gives me something in my hand and asks me to open my eyes. It was a lovely colorful shell.

He says “This is from me to you” and some more shells later on...

I will never forget that moment in my life. It was so beautiful a gesture. Then we slowly snorkeled and came back to the shore. As a gift he gave me his swimming tube, autographed, for me to learn swimming :)

Some strangers can make certain moments memorable for a life time. I don’t know if I will ever meet Abhijeet again. But I will not forget him


This post has been written for the "I am Explorer" contest at Indiblogger sponsored by www.tatasafari.com/

please don't reproduce the photographs without the permission of the blog owner.

5 comments:

ashok said...

superb post sofy...

Arvind Passey said...

I instantly like any post on the Andaman islands... hope you reach out for my blog and read my Andaman posts. yes, i have written quite a few on these islands, including one on Swapan's grilled fish in Havelock and one on the eco-warrior you meet if you choose to walk through the jungle towards Elephant beach.

Arvind Passey
www.passey.info

Uma Anandane said...

Romantic and wonderful post for the contest. All the best!

anitaexplorer said...

A beautiful natural exploration indeed!
"Some strangers can make certain moments memorable for a life time."- That's what makes life worth living! We relive the good experiences!
All the very best!

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