Friday, November 23, 2012

Try Scuba Diving in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – Because life on land is just SO last season

Are you, like many people, somewhat bored with life on land? Have the trees, birds, buildings, and streets got you down? Are you starting to feel that if one more person makes a comment about the weather, you might just snap, and do something that reporters will later refer to as “misguided” and “regrettable”? Would you like to try scuba diving?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience might be just the thing to cure what ails your tired, beaten down, gravity bogged spirit. This one-day adventure is designed to introduce even the pastiest land-lubber to the joys of scuba diving and the wonders of the aquatic world.

Your experience begins with a boat ride from the lively Jesselton Point Jetty to the serene beauty of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. After filling out some interesting and thought-provoking paperwork, your fully licensed and experienced PADI instructor will familiarize you with your equipment, assist you in putting it on, and guide you to the beach, where you’ll practice a few simple skills while experiencing what it’s like to breathe underwater.

After you’ve demonstrated your mastery of these skills, which will only take a few minutes because you’re such a quick learner and overall just a quality human being, your instructor will guide you on a tour of the beautiful Sapi House Reef, with its plethora of marine life ranging from fish to coral to stingrays (which, technically, is also a fish) to cuttlefish (which, despite its name, is not in fact a fish) to a whole multitude of other aquatic life forms. Like fish!

After your eye-opening (you’ll be wearing a mask, don’t worry) underwater tour, you’ll go for a nice rest and a spot of lunch on one of the marine park’s five tropical islands. Perhaps you’ll spot some long-tailed macaques (monkeys) as you enjoy one of the tasty Malaysian delicacies, or maybe you’d prefer a Malaysian facsimile of western food. They offer a range of dishes, including sea food for some reason, which I feel is in somewhat poor taste. Just be sure to keep an eye on your bags, because those monkeys can be thieving jerks. On a related note, if you spot one wearing a red baseball cap, please get it back for me. It was a gift from my mother.

Lunch will be taken during what divers refer to as a “surface interval” – a very technical term which means “time between dives”. Some divers view their entire lives on land as a series of grudgingly enforced surface intervals. These divers can be easily recognized by their disdain for life on land, their tendency to stare wistfully into any body of water they happen upon, and their habit of answering every question non-verbally – usually with an “OK” signal.

After your surface interval and intake of vital nutrients (and hopefully your recovery of my red cap), you will return to the boat invigorated and refreshed for the afternoon dive at one of the local dive sites. Maybe you’ll pop in and see what’s happening on Agill’s Reef, where you’ll surely be dumbstruck (it’s okay – you can’t speak underwater anyway) at the wonders awaiting you: the bounty of hard and soft coral, the mind-boggling variety of fish, and of course the awesome spectacle of your instructor’s backside as he or she guides you along.