As promised in my last post, more on my underwater experience in Indonesia – this is something I will never ever forget . . .
The scene is set on a small island – Nusa Lembongan – off Bali’s south east coast. I am submerged 19 meters under the ocean, in a cove called Crystal Bay. I am in a parallel under-water world, feeling like an amphibian (or more accurately, a mermaid) – under the oceans surface, yet still breathing air.
The moment I descend the waves, everything becomes completely silent. The noise of the human world disappears – people’s voices, the boat engine, the wind, the waves – everything melts away, and all I can hear now is the sound of my own breath; the ghostly inhale from my tank, and the exhale bubbles that escape from my regulator.
I am at one with the ocean. This is where I feel complete and utter peace.
The sea, once it casts it’s spell, holds one in it’s net of wonder forever.
– Jacques Cousteau
I am surrounded by hundreds of tropical fish – this reef is teaming with aquatic life. I feel like a lucky visitor into this mesmerising world. There is a giant reef wall of soft and hard corals all the colours of the rainbow, home to strange and wonderful creatures including a multitude of reef fish (angel fish, trigger fish, clown fish, trumpet fish, stingrays & large wrass).
I swim slowly along the reef wall, staring into the eyes of my aquatic friends going about their business. I am completely enthralled. My eyes can barely take everything in, I almost don’t know where to look for fear of missing something.
My eyes follow the reef wall as it drops off into the deep blue beyond. After not even 5 minutes of exploring this underwater garden, a shape starts to appear from the deep blue. I am praying that this will be the extremely rare Mola Mola (or ocean Sunfish). I purposely didn’t set any expectations for this dive, but I was secretly crossing all my fingers and toes that I may be lucky enough to have an encounter with one of these rare creatures (they are the largest palego fish reaching 3 meters long and weighing up to 2,300 kgs!). Sure enough as the shape emerged, I saw the distinct round disc that could be none other than the Mola Mola. It came slowly towards me, stared me in the eyes, completely non-plussed, and then gently swam away along the reef wall giving us a wonderful show.
This fish stopped me dead in my tracks. I don’t think I even breathed (not a good thing when diving!), I floated there gob-smacked watching the Mola pass by. What an incredible gift to be able to share the same space as these incredible creatures. And for a short period, be at one with them in their own home.
For me, scuba diving puts life into perspective. We are inhabitants of one world above the ocean, and diving allows us the rare glimpse into the aquatic world beneath.
What an absolute privilege to be at one with the ocean and all it’s sea life.
Man only has to sink beneath the surface, and he is free. – Jacques Cousteau