A whole new world

Viewing the sunset from Tabarca
Viewing the sunset from Tabarca

Though a bit cheesy, I always loved that Disney classic “A whole new world”. Aladdin and Jasmine soaring through the night sky on a magic carpet…Besides dreaming of flying I suppose I often wished I could conquer the world “Under the Sea” (guess the movie and you get a cookie =) hehe) I’ve loved to swim ever since I was little and will never forget my first time snorkelling near the island of Koh Chang in Thailand with what seemed like thousands of beautiful colourful fish around me…and the crazy idea entered my head that maybe, one day I could either transform myself into a mermaid…or put on a frog suit and experience the ocean for real!

Last weekend I spontaneously went to Alicante with a group of marine biology lovers (NAO) from my University to clean up the beach on the island of Tabarca. We arrived at our apartments in Torrevieja Friday night and set out for Alicante reasonably early Saturday morning to get ready and cross over to the little island.

On the boat from Alicante to Tabarca
On the boat from Alicante to Tabarca

A large part of the group were divers and ten of us went into the water snorkelling to look for rubbish. Amongst all of us, we found quite a bit – though I’m glad I saw more fish than garbage! We had wet suits but it was still freezing cold – being the first of December! After getting changed we received a delicious paella as a treat =) and were given a talk about Tabarca and how it is the first marine reserve. But I found an even better treat was in store for me when the coordinator of the whole activity asked around for anyone interested in going for a dive the next day! It had been planned for those with diving certification to go but now he made an offer for those of us who weren’t so fortunate as to have the certification but wanted to give diving a shot. I was thrilled! And so what for me had always been a crazy dream became reality…on Sunday the instructor drove two others and me to a beach in Cartagena, explained the basics of diving, showed us how to get the equipment ready and we put on our wetsuits. The other two already had experience in diving, but I felt like a little kid, was full of anticipation and just grinning from ear to ear! At last we waded into the cold water, put on our fins, checked our oxygen-supply and went under water!

Two happy fishies just come out of the water =)
Two happy fishies just come out of the water =)

The first five minutes or so I had no idea how to breathe…it was like it wouldn’t get into my head that I should and could breathe normally – I mean, c’mon, I’m under water and have to hold my breath, right?! So the instructor pulled me along and changed the inflation of my jacket for me so that all I had to do for starters was: breathe. Just focus on breathing normally. No big deal, right? When I’d accustomed myself I began to look around and just felt this incredible sensation…I’m several meters under water and can see the sky up ahead and little fishies in between…I saw another school of fish and thought to myself – I’m like one of them. Just another big fish. Ok, a really big fish! The four of us stayed close together, making various signs to one another to check if everyone was ok or just to comment on the beauty of a bright red starfish…At one point I spotted an octopus and the instructor went close and caused it to spurt out its dark ink! I just marvelled at God’s incredible creation – it’s breathtaking! It really was a whole different world – and we were allowed to visit!
We stayed for about an hour and then headed back to the shore. It’s an hour I will not soon forget! And maybe, just maybe…this lovely crazy dream I had could be continued…

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