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Sikap-Bundok Down Under-Water

Sikap-Bundok Down Under-Water
By: Hediliza P. Cayanan Galindez
Edited by: Ethelinda P. Cayanan
Date: 2 September 2005

Exploring the mountains around us in different parts of the world is as exhilarating as discovering the mountains beneath. Yes, Sikap-Bundok not only walks around and about. The group also captures life under the ocean.

SCUBA Diving is the term, an acronym for Self Contained Under-WaterBreathing Apparatus. If in climbing the mountains we have to prepare our backpack and must be self contained to survive, in SCUBA diving we prepare another type of gear and make sure that it is in a safe condition. As we put trust on the ropes when we climb we must trust our SCUBA gear with our life. Yes, it is quite expensive to have all these equipment, but hey, nothing will stop us from putting on at least the Mask, Snorkel and Fins to enjoy the water.

My then boyfriend (now husband) Yonee, introduced me to this activity. During one of Sikap-Bundok fun activity in 1994 at ‘Isla Verde’ he’s encouraged us to give it a go. And oh boy what an experience! I cannot imagine how mesmerizing underwater can be. So when I arrived in Sydney, by myself, I enrolled to get my Open Water Diving License.

The day after our wedding in 1997, together with our best man Eugene (who flew here from Manila), we explored the bottom of ‘Down Under’ and dove at Botany Bay National Park, Kurnell NSW. The park offers plenty of beautiful dive spots suitable for all levels of experience. You’ll find rocky reefs at the entrance of Botany Bay, and underwater sea grass meadows inside the bay itself. If I am not mistaken we did dive around Inscription Point or off the more sheltered Sutherland Point. It’s been a while now, so forgive my memory.

You must be wondering why spend our supposedly ‘honeymoon day’ diving when Yonee and I were significantly tired from all the preparations and (better shut up now!). I have to pin the blame on someone, so I’ll blame it on Eugene. We celebrated our wedding on a Saturday and he was due to fly back to Manila the following Tuesday. Rules are rules, we cannot mess with that one. A diver must give him self/her self at least 24 hours on the ground after a diving activity before it is safe to take a plane trip. So that he will not suffer/die of air embolism.

The last time we had our open water activity was at Nasugbu, Batangas on April 2004. We were accompanied by Ian who was generous enough to take a video of us underwater while he was snorkeling around. The experience surely was unforgettable especially having our kids with us. Our son Miguel was so excited because he claimed to have seen ‘Gill’ (from Finding Nemo) while my daughter Aida on the shore playing.

With reference to the Castillo Article, we too cannot wait for our children to be old enough to fully enjoy the nature and the discipline that helped us harness our life to be better in all we do, simply by being trained into one of the rare organization like Sikap-Bundok.

For the meantime, our children are on swimming lessons every Saturdays with an extended lesson from their Dad orienting them how to use the mask, snorkel and fins. As for me, I am simply sitting on the side and in my head ‘Oh this is great, time will come that we will have our family picture under water’.

Our kids here always excitedly asks ‘Mommy did you see me under water?’ (again drop the ‘r’ in under and try ‘wata’ for water). I simply respond back ‘Yes, next time we go on the Reef’.

From memory there are at least four members of this organisation that holds an Open Water Diving License (Yonee, George, Eugene and Myself) and you too can enjoy the fun by perhaps giving it a go, like I did.