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2012 Amazing Reef Walk Adventure (3rd Prize - Under 9 years)

March, 2013
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2012 Amazing Reef Walk Adventure

The most exciting part of my 2012 was close to the year end, when I went to the Philippines with my family for Christmas. It was a very special trip for me because my sister had been away for high school in the US and just came back for holiday with us.  I missed her a lot!  

My sister is very good at scuba diving underwater and she dived with my Mom at Boracay. When they shared stories about fish they saw underwater, I wished I could do something like this.  My sister told me that I had to wait until I am 10 years old to learn.  That was why I got so excited when I first heard that I can do Reef Walking at age of 8! 

Well, Reef Walking is diving and breathing underwater while wearing a special helmet instead of carrying an air tank. Sounds cool, right? That is how I felt when I heard about it first. Now my wish came true!

Here is how it works.  The helmet is connected to a special wire that is really long and the wire is connected to an air tank above the water on the boat.  The air in the tank pushes water down so that you can breathe under the water. There is actually a big hole at the bottom of the helmet so that you can stick your hand in it, holding your nose and trying to blow using your nose and closing your mouth at the same time. That is very important so that your ears won’t be uncomfortable because of pressure underwater.  Because air is pushing water down, the water can only reach your shoulders so that you can breathe.  Another interesting thing is that the weight of helmet is around 26 kg but underwater it only weighs 2 kg!

So my Dad and I went on this adventure.   I was very excited because I like trying new things, but at the same time I was worried if I could make it through because I have never went that deep into the water before.  When I put on the helmet, I got more and more nervous, and my heart went beating like a drum.  I tried to calm myself by patting my heart and telling myself, “Joyce, it will be a fun experience.” As soon as I heard my own voice, I started to calm down a little and focused on how exciting it would be to sink down to the bottom of ocean and feed all the fish.

When I slowly sank down onto the soft sand at the bottom of the ocean (I think it is about 6-10 meters deep), I looked around and saw lots of fish swimming around me. The fish looked like angel fish with yellow stripes. They were slightly bigger than my fist. 

I used my hands to do the “I would like to feed some fish” sign, by holding my arms out and putting my thumb, index finger and middle finger together, kind of like when you snap.  The helper swam up to collect food and came back down with some bread in his hand.  After he gave it to me, I broke the bread into small pieces and gave them to fish around me.  Bubbles floated up from my helmet, as I smiled for the camera. One picture after another, I posed, I smiled and I fed more fish!

Even if this is not scuba diving that my sister does, I still had lots of fun and felt that I shared a similar experience with my dear sister.  When I get older, I will surely go scuba diving, just like my sister!

 

By Joyce Li

Yew Chung International School of Shanghai

 

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