Truk Lagoon Scuba Diving – June 2017

Dear Bloggers and Readers,

Its been long since I updated anything here. I have reduced my presence online for different reasons but would love to share some adventures with you from my trips.

 

I have been traveling last few years and after my USA trip I have gone to many other countries. Last year I had focused on rock climbing and getting my dive master in scuba diving. This year I started with no goal as such but rather see how I go as I had an injured shoulder from canyoning in December 2016.

Recently I travelled to Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, last month and it was a life time trip as a diver. There are number of world war 2 ship wrecks there. I enjoyed the dives there immensely. Here is a video that I compiled for all the thrill seekers out there.

Note: Change the quality of video from settings to get a better resolution of the video as otherwise its at the lowest resolution by default in YouTube.

Bucket-List 2013 Week 22 – Complete Advanced Scuba diving course

 

 

Hello My Lovely Bloggers,

A big hug to all from me. I had an amazing few month since I have started this bucket-list for this year. And I am back to share some more adventure with you. You know I have 50 items of all sorts of things on my bucket list for 2013. Here is also a link for the same if you haven’t had a look.

My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it.

My Fears

You must be wondering what did I do this item, which item did I cross off from my big list. So here you go.

 

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef

Item Number #43 – Complete Advanced Scuba diving course

It was not until I was reading my own bucket list, I had time to think about diving for a while. Then I saw this item on my list – Advanced open water course in diving. Suddenly I realised it’s time to learn some thing more in diving and get back to water after a while. It was such a nice feeling to think about the course and it made it easier to get up early in the morning on the weekend to get to Manly which is a train and a ferry away (almost 1.5 hours) from me. I was there all excited except one fact in my mind. I had recently watched the movie – Open Water, where this couple was left in the ocean after diving by mistake and that actually made me a bit sceptical about this sport now. So I asked the instructor in the diving company to make sure that he remembers to bring me back. Everyone laughed at first but then I did explain the reason behind my worry. I don’t mind dying one day but if I do die for some stupid reason then it won’t be fun really and there is so much to see before getting eaten alive by sharks or die due to cold in water really.

So here I was back into the ocean and on our first dive. It was so bumpy on the way as the weather was not in our favour. But somehow the skipper anchored at one place and then we jumped into the water all geared up and after doing the buddy check (the safety check that one does on their buddy in diving as people are paired up generally in diving). We started to decent when the skipper called the instructor and asked to get back the boat as the anchor was being dragged due to the current and it didn’t look like a safe sign. So we came back to the boat and after a while we found another place to do out first dive. I had trouble equalizing today as my ears were blocked. A girl had already dropped out of the course after the first rough encounter with the waves so I was a bit nervous myself. But I couldn’t just give up, specially after 18  dives I had done so far. I was determined to get to the bottom and so I did. It was painful for a while as I felt as if my head would burst . But finally I got better and did the first dive properly. After the first dive we had time for snacks and I have been eating so much lately that it became my favourite time during the dives when we were served hot pies and other Thai snacks. I loved it even though I was a bit suspicious about being too full just before the second dive. But anyways just like the first dive again it was a bit hard today to equalize but fortunately I was able to complete this dive too. Now it was time to get back to the store and go for the night dive. I had never done three dives, all in one day so I was a bit tired but enthusiastic at the same time. And this time I had less weight on me due to the different sizes of weight belts in the store as compared to the boat, hence no matter what I did it was just hard to stay in the bottom and I would just come back to surface all the time. Yes, it’s hard for me to sink…lol. Then the instructor put some more weight in my pocket and then I was able to enjoy rest of my dive with others.

Next day we had to go a bit late for rest of the two dives that included the deep dive. Even though I was on time for the ferry but there were so many people in Sydney harbour today to go to Manly that the ferry was full twice and my heart was almost sinking thinking how am I going to get there now. Fortunately we were able to board the next boat and then I realized the bay I was aiming to reach was no near Manly. I called the store and asked the people there to wait for me so that I can join the group from the store. I took off my footwear and started running barefoot. It was funny as I was the only girl in a nice dress but running barefoot. People kept staring at me but now more important was to get to the store before the group leaves me behind. I got there all huffing and puffing and the instructor even made a joke out of it. But I was so happy as if I had done the course already. And there we go for our next two dives. It was nice and calm water today so not much trouble finding a nice spot in the blue fish point. Even better that I did not have trouble equalizing today. Hence I did descent slowly but effectively today. Then I realized my cylinder was coming off. Wow that was a news now as I didn’t know whether to stop descending or go to the surface but then my instructor asked me to keep going and I felt that he was making sure that my cylinder is still attached to my jacket a little. Then on the bottom (20 meter), he asked me to sit so that he can fix it. So I followed his instruction and he did fixed it. Man that was a bit scary initially as it would have been an emergency ascent in case the cylinder would have come off anyhow.

We all successfully completed both the dives with some snacks. It was a wonderful feeling while coming back thinking about the two days we spent training ourselves and learning about various technical stuff that would be useful in future. Thank you all for your time to read about my weekend and now I have ticked off another item from my list. Hurrah.

Second day at Byron Bay – Hot Air Ballooning with a bunch of Sky Divers

 So far you have enjoyed the last two articles about my adventurous weekend in Byron Bay, Australia. Now I would love to share my experience of day 2 which was also full of excitement and joy. In case you missed my other two posts then here is the link to the same for you my friend.

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Alarm went off around 4:30 AM and first time in weeks I was not frustrated as I had enough sleep this time so I quickly jumped out of the bed with excitement. Today was the day I was going to experience Hot Air Ballooning. So many times I dreamt of doing it but every time I felt I should wait for some one special to do it with. But finally I decided to do it on my own after one of my friend suggested that it is an experience that you get to feel individually anyways so why wait for some one when you can do it by yourself. So here I was waiting at the gate of the hostel to get picked up around 5:15 AM. A car pulled up next to me and I confirmed that it was from the Ballooning company. After a warm welcome message from the guy driving the car, I fastened my seat belt and we headed to the location for base(the office for ballooning ). It was still dark when we arrived at the base. I could see many people getting ready in their gears for sky diving. I felt as if I was the only one in the balloon staying back and almost everyone else was going to jump. I wished I could jump with them for a moment and this thought was interrupted by one of the sky divers. She introduced herself and a formal round of introduction kick started for few minutes. These were professionals with more than few hundred and even few thousand jumps. My goodness, I almost freeze to digest this information now. I was excited and felt a bit naive to talk to these people now as whatever jargons they were using I couldn’t understand half of them. I met Thomas, the chief pilot of Byron Bay Ballooning (http://www.byronbayballooning.com.au) and signed some forms as part of the formal process. Thomas was quiet reassuring as I was a bit nervous as well excited, this being my first balloon flight.

Thomas after successful landing

Thomas after successful landing

Soon we started for Casino, place from where the balloon was supposed to fly. I was cold but super excited. I chose to sit with other sky divers in the first van to listen to some insightful information they would like to share during this one hour journey. It was a nice ride till the patrol station where the drivers stopped to fill patrol. I was told a lot of things and these people were very nice to explain me a lot of new concepts that made me look a bit puzzled. I shared rest of the way with other set of people and got to know some more people on my way to Casino. It was an overwhelming morning I must say, so much that I kind of forgot that I was here for ballooning really.

Once we arrived in Casino, the process of unloading the balloon and setting it up started. It was such a huge balloon, I guess all of them are but I was witnessing it for the first time. It was like preparing for a festival, with so many people helping in the process and some of us trying to shoot the process or take pictures of the location. As the balloon rose, it was such a mesmerising view with all the colours rising in the sky with the bright light of  the sun. Then we climbed into the balloon and Thomas started to fill the balloon with hot air and the balloon took off. It was so smooth that we didn’t feel anything but only the view started changing as we gained height. Just so that you know Thomas has been flying since the age of 22 and has also won many awards.  So if you are in Byron Bay and feel like ballooning then he is your guy. I was trying to absorb this whole experience while also taking a lot of pictures at the same time. The basket is divided in three compartments and the middle one is reserved for the pilot with some gas cylinders. We were almost 12 people, 6 in each baskets on both the sides and out of which 7 were sky divers. Soon we rose to the height of 6000 feet and it was an amazing view. It felt so light and beautiful to see the whole area at this hour of the morning. It was around 8:45 AM. The divers were all ready to jump and soon we hit the height of 9000 feet from where they were supposed to jump. It was more scary to look at them standing on the edges of the basket. And I guess I was more excited and worried than them. Some of them were doing it for the first time which I thought was very brave and increased my respect for all these divers. Soon before I realised they started jumping from the balloon. It was so fast that I didn’t even get chance to take many pictures of them jumping and soon they disappeared from the sight. We started moving towards the destination, Thomas was co-ordinating with rest of the team to make sure all the divers are safe and have been located after reaching the ground.

Thomas started to prepare us for landing and soon we were descending fast, not that you can feel it other than the height displayed on the system. We landed on a  farm with more than 50  bulls all staring at us in not so welcoming mood. Thomas waited for rest of the team to come to this location and get the permission from the farm owner before getting us all climb out of the balloon. Once the team was here, the bulls started heading towards their vans and soon we were out of this adventurous and risky zone. And next thing I remember, we were all rolling the balloon and packing everything back in the vehicle to head back. I was still floating in the sky in my thoughts though as it is a last longing experience and it takes some time to get back to reality I can say. Thomas stopped in a nice cafe on the way and bought lunch for all of us as part of the package. I chose Spanish Omelette and you know what, it was the best breakfast ever after such a beautiful start of the day. What else can you ask from life I thought with a smile. The day is yet not over my friend and I still have to share my experience of the monthly market, beach and one of the most beautiful town/village in the area before I finish my story. So keep an eye for another post after this 🙂 Till then have a wonderful day my friend.

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All lined up to throw up – Yes it was the case before diving into GBR

Yes it sounds gross to talk about throwing up and it is best not to discuss about it when you are going through some windy weather in a small boat for diving. Believe me it does make you throw up at the end. It was the day I was going for my dive in Great Barrier Reef and it was a 2.5 hours journey to get there by boat. I started talking to this American guy who was afraid of getting sick and in process of telling him various ways not to get sick I myself started feeling sick. Eventually I went to the front of the boat to look at the horizon (well known technique to stop you from throwing up). And soon there was almost a bunch of people who joined me and here is a picture that I took as it was the first time I found so many people all getting sick at the same time. And the people inside the boat were not in the great shape either almost half of the people were holding a bag to make sure they don’t get throw up inside the boat after listening to the embarrassing stories told by the guide in the boat. Anyways I guess getting sick is part of travel as well. There are few things that you can do as a precaution not to get sick but if you do then just better to throw up and move on to enjoy your holiday/trip and not to screw rest of it if possible.

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Painful days but worth it – ATV ride and a fall in Cairns

Hello Friends,

As you would have already seen from my diving pics in Great Barrier Reef, I had an awesome weekend. It was not all sweet but then how can be things interesting with no down side to them. So it all started with this bucket list of mine. And here I am all happy, content but every inch of my body is shouting at me after this weekend. It is so sore and painful that every time I move my hand or legs or neck, it reminds me of the adventure I had this weekend 😉

So how did I get this sore as diving doesn’t make you this sore after all not when you have been diving for a while. Here it goes – I did have a big day driving ATV around the farm before I did my diving and before the second dive I fell badly on the floor face down. I did try to compete with the expert there and jumped my ATV over many hurdles and kept getting faster and faster. Even scared the instructor when I flew my ATV just a few inches away from his ATV and he almost stood up and got ready to jump from his ATV to save himself. And I am not sure it was my fault or what that I did take all the force on my hands to save my face and of course no scar on my face but hands are almost useless  other than typing on the computer. Yesterday I was struggling to cut even an apple.  How did I fell? Don’t even ask as it was as a matter of fact very funny incidence the way it happened and gave every one around a reason to have a laugh. The wet suit was very small and of a different design so like first dive I had to get help to get into it but unfortunately a very big guy came for help and lift the suit (me in it) and chain opened so fast that the very next moment I was on the floor facing down. Thank God I was few inches away from the door otherwise you would be looking at my Terminator kind of melting face picture 😉

Item Number #50 – Do one thing new each week

But anyways have fun with my pictures driving ATV and that can be counted as one of the new things I did last week in my bucket list 🙂

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Diving and Snorkelling at Great Barrier Reef – Bucket-List 2013 Week 8

Item Number #32 – Dive and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

It was a cloudy day and I had only 3-4 hours of sleep as I was staying in a backpacker where everyone was in party mood and after my experience of divign with Great White Shark I was more cautious to be fully awake and in good shape before diving in the world famous reef – ‘Great Barrier Reef’. But it was not good enough I guess as I was accompanied by a guy from USA who was  feeling sick and at first me and his friend were making jokes about throwing up and soon I myself got sick as well. It was a bumpy ride of 2.5 hours to the reef from the harbour of Cairns. But I think water is remedy for everything and as soon as I jumped into the water after gearing up for my scuba diving, I was once again smiling. It was a short (23 minutes), 15.7 meter deep dive. I loved it as this was the reason I had started Scuba Diving in the first place – to be able to dive in Great Barrier Reef. And here I was diving in this famous reef which is unfortunately getting destroyed by cyclones and fishing in past few years. I went for snorkelling after first dive and then for the second dive. It was hard to stay in the boat and not feel sick so I preffered to spend most of my time under water 🙂 It was such a nice day in my life, I met lots of people, made new friends and even being so sore didn’t matter anymore :)I am sharing my pics of that day with you all. I hope you enjoy them.

Top 5 crazy things you can do in India

India is a land of spirituality and festivals. People go to India for different reasons. Some of them are listed here:

Spiritual Meditation Yoga
Exotic Culture Food
Travel a new country Attend a marriage Seventh wonder – Taj Mahal
Stop Over Work Study – very less
Trekking Adventure Live

But there is a crazy side of India as well and five of them you can do are listed here.

  1. Diving with elephants – You must have heard of diving with sharks, whales, dolphins and many other sea life creatures, but elephants. Yes, you can do such things in India in Andaman. Its a good location for diving. Emerald Isles is the place where you can either snorkel or dive with this amazing elephant called Rajan.
  2. Feed rats – Don’t throw the food if a rat has bitten it. It doesn’t sound very appealing right, but there is a temple in India where people feed rats and eat the food bitten by rat with high regards. It is a house for more than 20,000 rats and spotting a white rat is considered auspicious for religious purposes.
  3. Self driven car – It’s very unlikely that you will get a car that can drive itself. But something that can never happen anywhere can happen in India. Yes there is a place in Ladakh called Magnetic Hill where if you stop your car and put it to neutral then it will start moving at the speed of 10-20 KM per hour. No it is not a ghost town but there are some
  4. Live in a tree house  – Why not, live the dream you had since your childhood and live in the tree house in Kerala. Vythiri Resort provides a comfortable to live in a tree house where you will have all the luxury you can imagine with an amazing view of this bird territory.
  5. Auto-rickshaw race – Now this is not so out-of-the-box after all. But still sounds a bit wired. This challenge  is called MUMBAI XPRESS. This 14 days challenge will cover 1900 KM (approx. 1180 miles) and can be done in a team of two. It starts every year in August from Mumbai and ends in July in Chennai. You can see the variety of the geography (from hills to valley and beaches) doing this if you ever fancy going completely crazy. http://www.rickshawchallenge.com/trips/mumbai-xpress/

Fiji – Another name for ‘Freedom to Live’ (Part 3)

Next day another adventure was waiting for me. Being a naive to sea and swimming I was having a ball with all the water activities. Now it was time for some cave diving. It sounded so exciting that I could not stop myself from booking next day trip to another island to do the Cave Diving. Although many questions started bothering me after I booked for it – Will I have to stay underwater too long, do I need to be a good swimmer to be able to do that, will it be scary, will I be ok after doing it. But I was rest assured that I will be fine as there were two guides and all the fellow travellers knew how to swim so to be honest I had more trust on others than myself.
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Next morning I was even more thrilled thinking – here I was in the middle of this big island with strangers doing stuff that is another name of peak adventure. Best thing ever, I told myself. We were all geared with the swim suit and a life jacket after boarding the boat that was going to take us to this another island. We arrived at our destination. The water was crystal blue and the view was breathtaking. It made me feel envious of the people who were living there, thinking that they are able to live in paradise every day.
Quara ni Bukete  Cave
Finally we climbed the steps towards the Qara ni Bukete (Pregnancy Cave), named so because it does not allow any woman who is trying to hide she is pregnant. It was a bit dark in the cave but we could see some light coming through the slits. I jumped into the water in the cave after a little bit of hesitation with my life jacket on of course. I thought maybe this is it? It was easy. But nope there was another cave through this bigger cave where we could only go through a narrow passage under water.
Two guys went in with the guide. We did not have any proper equipment for diving so we had to hold our breath for at least 30 seconds and the guide was supposed pull us underwater towards the other cave. Once on the other side the guide will go back and bring another person. Now it was the test as I could not go under water without my life jacket. Guide was back and wanted one of us to go with him. Everyone in the group started staring at each other as no one was sure how risky it is in the dark. I was scared but excited and didn’t realise when I got voice and said ‘I will come’ to guide. He stared at my life jacket and asked me to take it off. I told him that I am not a good swimmer and he smiled (maybe he was thinking I must be joking as I had come for a cave diving after all) and assured me that I will be fine. I took off my life jacket and the guide took my hand and asked me to take a deep breath. I followed his instruction and he pulled me under water and I felt all I can do is trust him. I could feel my body moving through this narrow tunnel, touching the walls of it. Soon when I was still in dazed state I was on the other side of the cave. He looked at me and smiled again and asked me where I am from. He must have sensed my fear. I told him that I am from India, living in Australia for few months and have just started to learn swimming. He looked amazed but asked me to leave his hand as he had to go to bring other people now. I was scared again as I was in this cave in dark and with no floating device to hold on to. I quickly swam across the cave with my breast stroke techniques and tried to hold the holes in the wall like a lizard.
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Other girls also came to this side after seeing me. They must have thought that when a non-swimmer can do it then they can as well. After few moments when my eyes got adjusted then I realised most of the people in the group who chose to come were here and we had to swim to the other side where the guide was taking us. There was a small area where there was some light coming from a slit and it felt very nice to see few rays of light as they were like rays of hope. It was an amazing experience of my life. We came back and I was still dazed with the whole day adventure. Next day I had to leave the island and head back to home. I was overwhelmed by the welcoming behaviour of the people in Fiji. I left but the memories stayed with me forever.

Underwater Meditation

I am going to Manly Shelly beach for another scuba dive tomorrow morning. I call it meditation under water. One needs to focus on breathing just like yoga or meditation. One can live in present and appreciate the surroundings while diving. Its one of the best way to start a day and makes me very calm and relaxed. Every time I dive, I learn something new even if it is the same diving site. You always notice some thing new or learn more about yourself in water. The more relaxed you become the more enjoyable experience you get. Its all about sharing the ocean with so many other living beings there. Every time I dive it makes me think – how big the world is and how many beautiful and amazing creatures are there in neighborhood. All we need to do is knock at the door and say hello to them.

Last time I saw Blue Gropers, Blue Bottles, Port Jackson, Dusky and Wobbegong sharks. There are some beautiful rock formations and reefs near Fairy Bower (towards the south end of Manly beach). Also the Dusky sharks were wondering there and we were only able to spot it from far and then it vanished. Although most of the diving tours don’t take you very far due to the time limitation, but you can go with your buddy for a fun dive there. I am hoping to experience some more  magic under water this time. Lets see what happens. I will keep you posted.