Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sept 19 2012 - Diving in Dubrovnik

Anna, Hugo, and Mr Shades heading into our first dive
Smiling parasailing chute - right in front of old Dubrovnik

Scuba diving on vacation is such a great way to meet interesting people. We are all flung together in a boat, paired up to literally rely on each other for our lives. Today on the first (morning) dive, I was paired with Hugo, an Argentinian doctor who is traveling around Europe with his wife. They visited Germany, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest by cruise - and are now hitting Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb on his leg of the trip. I pitched the idea of Olga and I visiting Buenos Aires Argentina for New Years, at first he wondered why there and then? Argentines don't celebrate New Years, he said, and Buenos Aires is too European anyway (says the guy who is visiting half of Europe on one trip) - we'd have a much more interesting time in Rio Brazil... Something to consider :)

Heading to St. Andrea island for dive number two
Leonid and Maria seeing me off

There was an odd number of divers at my certification level (open water) so we were coupled with a third person, Anna from Sweden. On the first dive, she was a bit distant, quiet. I saw her afterwards and she said her friends were making other plans so she likely wouldn't be diving any more. She did seem a bit more lively though. Then when we were loading the boat for second (afternoon) dive, she joined in, but as a snorkeler. I saw her canoodling with the guy who ended up being our guide.

Going down...
One of many bomb shells around Lokrum Island

I was the only diver on the third (night) dive. My guide said most people don't like to dive at night, even though in Dubrovnik the water and air are the same temperature as they are during the day. He seemed a little perplexed that more people don't night dive, explaining that it's his favorite time to dive because the fish go to sleep and the nocturnal creatures (eg: the octopus and shrimp we would later see) come out to play. I asked him about Anna, apparently they had just met diving a couple of days ago, but already it seems love might be blossoming! There is definitely something about the diving culture, it's not 'free love' per se, but the necessity of a diving partner does make it easy to meet like-minded people.

Who loves diving?
Heading back from Lokrum island, in front of old Dubrovnik

The guide ended up driving me back to town because he was coming to meet Anna before she goes back to Sweden. He is an amazing guy: a farmer of organic olives and lavender, a devout consumer of organic, macrobiotic, and raw foods (not an easy feat in a small town), a commuting bicyclist who saves his car for camping trips to small towns and music festivals across Europe, a vegetarian who consumes fish once a month on doctor's orders to keep his omega acid levels up, a believer that the pain an animal produces as it's dying will transfer negative energy to the consumer - so he meticulously kills this one fish a month in the most quick and painless way. He is a guru in his own right, yet he was so tickled when I introduced him to the term 'pescetarian'.

Ton of fish swimming up and down the edge of St. Andrea
An eel hiding out in St. Andrea island

When I tell people I became pescetarian during a diving trip to Australia, they look at me like I'm crazy to gain so much respect for an animal - yet want to kill it - all at the same time. But talking with the guide, I understand it is not a unique outlook. When swimming and diving, the connection you make with the aquatic world is very strong - as form of mutual respect. I don't have this connection with a cow or a chicken, and can't bring myself to eat them.

Starfish at St. Andrea island
Beautiful sunset at dinner, heading into the night dive

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