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Scuba diving license, check.

Obtaining a scuba diving license has been on my radar for years. I had tentatively planned for it whilst still in college, but plans fell through. Upon moving to Taiwan, I had been meaning to schedule classes, but all attempts were half-hearted.

At the end of the Green Island trip, Michael was pumped about getting his license and found us a diving company. We took a full-day classroom component in September, then finally completed the water (pool, ocean) portion from Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2 in Kenting, Taiwan.

I’m sure everyone has slightly different reasons why they wish to get a scuba diving license. I have mine.

Correlation does not imply causation, but my love for exploring the outdoors has invariably been influenced from my dad. Growing up, he took the family on vacations to U.S. National Parks. I’ve been to most of them on the western half of the country. The parks themselves are mesmerizing, but the journey there on the rental soccer-mom vans had their fair share of beauty.

So much beauty on land, yet there’s much to be seen in space and in the ocean. In high school, I worked one summer to buy a reflector telescope, one of the first material investments I ever made as a kid. Stargazing is great, but not in the middle of Orange County suburbia, meddled in light pollution. The telescope slowly accumulated dust, and was finally dismantled and boxed up less than two years later.

Then there’s the ocean. After sailing with Captain Graham, my love and respect for the ocean continued to grow, and the thought of seeing the corals, the sharks, and the Nemos underwater brought a sense of adventure and personal fulfillment.

Several years later, and thanks to Michael for the profound research, I attained my scuba diving license.

Kenting is in the southernmost point of Taiwan. We did four ocean dives on Saturday and Sunday. We were driven to the location, unpacked our gear, suited up, and walked straight into the water. A small alcove paved way to 5-7m depths, and we dove around the corals.

Diving is a great feeling of calm, at least if there are no underwater currents. All you can hear is your own breathing, else all is quiet. Communication is all via hand signals; movement is slow and steady, as divers must stay relaxed and breathe slowly to maximize dive time. After that, all you do is look around and admire the beauty of underwater life.

In the evening, Michael’s friend took us to a beach bar that was surprisingly remote and quiet. The air was still and cool, the opposite of the humid and uncomfortable weather that I’ve grown accustomed to. Felt just like SoCal.

Here’s where we were on the map. The place is only accessible by car. It’s away from the main road, so taxis do not enter this place on their own.

Parts of Life of Pi were supposedly filmed here, so there was a huge tiger-on-a-boat statue. A pleasant place to decompress after a days worth of carrying 20kg of scuba gear on your torso.

Four ocean dives and a written test later, Michael and I came out with our scuba diving licenses, which are valid for life!

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