Growing up in Victoria, the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, Canada, one would think I practically grew up surfing or diving. As a matter of fact, I had done none of those as my childhood basically revolved around books, music, ballet, and more books. When school was out, the family would fly back to Taiwan visiting relatives over the long holidays. When it weren’t the holidays, I’d be sitting in on my cousins’ classes to catch up on my Chinese skills. Please don’t get me wrong. I had a happy childhood. I have caring parents and loving brothers up to the present. However, it was mainly our traditional Chinese culture of putting much importance on studies and the fact of having to juggle between that and visiting relatives back home didn’t really allow me to indulge in my 2nd home’s plethora of natural recreational activities.
It wasn’t until my first trip to Cebu, Philippines in 2018 where I experienced scuba diving for the first time. It was called “DSD - Discover Scuba Diving” where you’re literally being dangled around by professional divers and taken photos of with whatever sea creature was in sight. Joe, who would eventually be my dive coach pointed out how extremely dangerous it actually is. If an accident ever occurs with either the guide’s or your equipment, and without the adequate training in your part, results may be devastating. BUT, risks aside, I saw the most breathtaking phenomena with my very own eyes and up-close: A sardine run. This occurs when billions of sardines move in gigantic shoals just like mesmerizing dancing waves to either migrate or as a defence mechanism, as lone individuals are more likely to be eaten than large groups. I was literally dumbfounded and decided right then and there that I was going to be a certified scuba diver.
Needless to say, I hit a dive shop once summer came to Taiwan and worked my way up from a novice to a certified Open Water Diver, then to an Advanced Open Water Diver. It is the serenity and the marvelous sights under water that has taken hold of me. If you’re ever looking to swim along sea turtles, whale sharks and manta rays while checking out variable neon slugs, red-spotted blennies, banded sea kraits and lots more wonders of the sea, all the while not being bothered by the 30-pound cylinder on your back, long hikes to and fro shore or seasickness in boats, scuba diving is definitely for you! Make sure you use reef safe sunscreen, though!