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A little fishy

On the highest mountain of South East Asia somebody told me about the amazing diving possibilities on Borneo. As I had arrived without a plan it seemed a great idea to check it out.

The arrival was tough. After ascending 1000 meters and descending 2000 meters, I continued with sitting 7 hours on a cramped bus. The muscle ache was unforgiving.

The small city of Samporna was ‘uninspiring’, to say the least. Fortunately, I could arrange to leave it the following day. I had booked the ‘open water’ diving course on Mabul.

The first day was a theory day in a small room without air-conditioning at 30+ degrees: not much fun. The second day promised a whole lot more: lessons in the water combined with several dives. However, as I descended into the water I  suddenly remembered why I never dived again after a trip in Egypt many years ago: I don’t like the feeling of having to breath through something, masks always leek and seemingly another ‘dimension’ is created under water which my brain fills with many dangerous animals. ‘why am I doing this? I don’t even like it and now I’m even paying to do suffer’ was my first reaction.

Things literally cleared up afterwards. The diving lessons went smoothly and my initial fears disappeared rapidly. To my own surprise I signed up for a day trip to another island. The diving there is called ‘muck’ diving. I soon experienced what that meant. We were about 8 people and the idea seemed to be to find the smallest possible animal and to get big time excited about it. I once was staring for a couple of minutes at something that seemed to me like a twig of about 3 centimeters in length. Judging by the enthusiastic reaction of my co-divers it was not (it’s called a ‘nudie branch’) I’ve got great respect for people who know a lot about animals, but I can only identify elephant, lion and giraffe, leaving me to be a social outcast in the post-dive discussions. I guess it would have been the same if I would have joined a group of coin or stamp collectors. With one big difference: I loved every part of it!


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