Monday, December 19, 2011

Deep Sea Diving at San Carlos

Machhali jal ki hai raani,
Jeevan uska hai paani...
Haath lagao dar jaayegi,
Bahaar nikaalo mar jaayegi...!!!

Hello friends, do you remember this sweet, innocent Hindi poem? Almost everyone of us started our childhood with this poem. Since childhood we have so much of attraction towards aquatic life. We have listened many stories of "Jal-pari" (Angel of water) from our parents/grandma during the childhood. Right from that age, as we have grown thins fascination for the aquatic world and sea has increased to next level. Sometimes.... You may be tired a lot from your routine life but just one picnic with friends on any beach gives you lot of refreshment.... not just that yaar... Most of beaches are speechless witness of love of lover couple... ;) There is unknown relation between ocean and us just like he is our true friend.... :)

Hey, but do you know there is totally different beautiful world under the sea? Just like you even I was fascinated to explore this world so thought of doing "Deep Sea diving at San Carlos" beach. So are you ready to dive with me?..I can see..."Yes" on your face, so lets continue...... I am not a professionally certified diver but just took one theory lecture from professional diver and did it. So on one weekend, very early morning I started moving towards San Carlos beach with Chandra. Usually in winter, here in California temperature drops below 10 degree Celsius and we are not able to see sun everyday... But I was praying to God that...."Please, please it should be sunny today.... so that visibility under water will be Good".... guess what?....... We started driving and within 20 mins, I could see sun.... Yes.... it was wonderful start of the day and God was with me... :)

[A very beautiful morning, on the way of San Carlos beach.]

Around 9am we reached San Carlos beach and my Deep Sea diving instructor Mike was waiting for me. Mike is having more than 26 years of diving experience. After initial introduction process, he started my theory class on beautiful beach environment. Almost after couple of hour of learning process, I got some idea about deep sea diving. He also taught me some sign language of talking under water. "You have to breath through mouth, equalise your ear pressure, handle air pressure in your air jacket and also keep attention at air gauge of oxygen tank so that you are always aware of oxygen available with you"...... many things to do. I realised that its not that very straight forward. Deep sea diving is total play of patience, presence of mind and knowledge of instruments. But not to worry, I grasped as much as I can and got ready for the small test. During this small test, mike again confirmed my understanding about various concepts and finally I became eligible for practical experience.... :)

[Welcome sign of San Carlos Beach.]

San Carlos beach is among one the most famous cold water diving beach in California. Yes, water here is very cold with temperature between 8-10 degree Celsius..... I started my preparation for dive, I wore 7mm tick diving suit which covered almost my entire body. Only my face was open. Yes.... This was my protection cover against cold water. Because of that suit, I was feeling like robot... Not just that, on top of that I have to carry oxygen tank and some metal weights for balancing purpose, so totally I was carrying around 18 kg weight on my shoulders. oh God.... so with all these weights I have to dive..... :) After all the preparation, I became ready for diving.

[Myself and Mike ready for diving.]

Finally with lot of excitement and little nervousness, I just recited "Om Namah Shivay" in my mind and started moving towards the ocean. oxygen tank was full and gauge was showing reading of 2400 and We can dive till it becomes 500. I was walking and recollecting guru mantra given by Mike, "Breath continuously and equalise your ear pressure at regular intervals as we go deep down."... Suddenly I kept my first step in water.....oops...oh... God... "This is water is so cold...!!!"... Mike said, "Sandy, follow me."... I said, "Yes" and started moving inside. we walked till water came to our chest and Mike attached duck fins to my foot palms. then he asked me to practise "equalising ear pressure and breathing". I did some practise. Now mike pointed me by sign that lets go deep inside and real action started.....

I adjusted my goggle, caught breathing pipe of oxygen tank in mouth and immersed head inside the water. Mike released air pressure in my jacket and for the first time I was totally inside the water. I was breathing through mouth and started moving ahead deep down but suddenly my goggle started leaking and I asked mike that I am struggling by my hand sign.... he took me out..... oops... failed.... I became bit nervous.... Mike encouraged me and he gave his own goggle to me and he took my leaking goggle. I again adjusted my goggle, oxygen pipe and immersed my head inside water. Again Mike released my jacket air pressure and I started going deep down..... Yes.... Now I was doing my things properly and I was totally comfortable.... Mike was checking my status regularly.

As I started going deep down, slowly I entered into the new dream world. Under water, The beam of sun light started dancing, just like disco light. Air bubbles which were coming out because of my exhalation were going up like parachute. As I moved deep, slowly actual ocean started, Now I could see many fishes around me. One small fish came very close to my head, as if he came to welcome me in their world... I wanted to go behind those fishes but mike used to stop me.... :) As I went to bottom at that point, there were many different star fishes with different colours and sizes, I took some of them in my hands.... ah... it was different feeling, then kept them properly. There were some crabs as well. I grabbed small crabs in my hand played with them but didn't touched large crab, as he could sting me. At bottom there were some big, very big rocks and couple of crabs were climbing on one of them. I felt as if today these crabs have came for hiking on this rock.... :) There were live shells and cones. At one point thought of looking for pearl into them.... :) Also there is forest inside water. There was kelp forest. Sometimes I was moving through creepers of kelp. I was having amazing time over there. Mike was observing my activities and after every 10 mins he used ask for oxygen gauge reading. I felt as if I am moving in dream, I could correlate entire system with our real world on earth. God your a great creator...!!! Usually during all the adventurous activities I feel great excitement but for the first time I was feeling deep calmness. I was over whelmed with emotions and playing with star fishes. Suddenly Mike asked me for oxygen gauge reading and it was 500. it was time to go back, else I will run out of oxygen. This world is so amazing, I don't want go out.... :( Finally with heavy heart I said "bye" to all my new friends....Myself and mike started moving up and slowly came to sea shore.

[Myself, walking out after completing dive.]

I started walking out with divine calmness and Happiness.... Environment on beach was very much happening with so many things but I was deeply immersed in my own world and murmuring one hindi song....

Boondon ke motiyon mein khul ke ehsaas aaya,
Waqt se nikal ke lamha dil ke pass aaya....
Chooke guzra tha par Dil ko na mehsus hua,
Ab jo dekha to woh lamha dil ko raas aya....


Please click on the following picture to view all the pics



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sky Dive (10000 ft) in San Francisco

Now days, because of globalisation world has came very close. People travel a lot to different countries/places for study, business, work, leisure, etc. Journey by aeroplane has become very common thing.

I was on one such journey......

It was wonderful evening on Heathrow airport of London and I was waiting for my connecting flight to San Francisco (SFO). Because of time zone changes, I was feeling bit drowsy but still surrounding environment was so much refreshing that my sleep ran away. I started roaming on airport while listening to music. Finally boarding announcement happened, "Flight BA-285 going from London to San Francisco is ready for boarding..." After completing boarding formalities I moved into plane. Within 15 mins plane was ready to take off. As usual captain of plane welcomed us and gave some safety instructions. I have observed one thing while giving safety instructions they always tell us about oxygen mask, life jacket and emergency exit door. My seat was very close to emergency exit door. I carefully listened to instructions, fastened seat belt. Plane took off and got settled at one height around 30,000 ft moving at constant speed. By this time all people had got adjusted to atmosphere in plane and got busy in their own entertainment like reading/watching movie or sleeping.

[View of Heathrow airport.]

Journey to SFO is like your going from one end of world to other end. If you look down from small window of plane, you will find that down there is huge blue pacific ocean and above there is infinite sky, somewhat blue and bit orange in colour. Some point on the horizon both sky and ocean are meeting like true lover.... :)
I was enjoying all this heavenly dream world and suddenly one apsara of heaven came and served me a dinner.... I mean one beautiful air hostess served me dinner.. ;)

After having some dinner I felt asleep quickly. Guess, what dream I saw??? Don't know why? may be because I was close to emergency exit door or captain's words had some deeper impact on my subconscious mind, In dream, I saw that there is some issue in engine of plane, It's going to crash and we all have to jump out of plane. Captain is continuously making announcement about it. There is tensed environment in plane, everyone is wearing life jacket. some people/children's are crying. oh... God..!!! Plane staff and some brave passengers are trying to make everyone comfortable and ready to face the situation. Captain is clearly saying "Yes, you all have to jump and suddenly emergency exit door opens....."
I was tensed in dream and suddenly realised that someone is saying, "Sir, would you like to have coffee???".... ah.... what this??? It was coffee time. Sweet sound of apsara took me out of that horrible dream. I saw that everything is normal and everyone is enjoying journey nicely.
"ah....... Yes... Please give me glass of water and coffee".... I replied. After having coffee I became relaxed and started watching movie...but just imagine if that situation in dream was true then ......"What would have made me/you to jump out of plane???"... just think about it.....

Hey, But why am I talking that dream now??? ah... if you are with me till this point then please hold your nerves for some more time.... :)

It was usual beautiful and bit sunny morning in California and I was on my another journey........

We were moving to Monterey bay as a part of our weekend activities. As usual Chandra Sir was on driver's seat and I was enjoying climate and listening to music. After enjoying long drive of 35 miles we reached "skydive surfcity, Aviation way" near Monterey bay. oh.... Aviation way??? what we are going to do on small airport???..... ah.... yes, actually I had planned to have Sky Dive from 10,000 ft... wow.... feeling excited? even my feelings were same when I reached there. Volker, an extremely experienced and nice instructor welcomed us. Sky Dive is the most thrilling and at same time dangerous adventurous sport. After completing initial formalities, Volker gave me all the instructions about the sport and I got familiar with different action/precautions I need to take during the Sky Dive. I wore harness and got ready for the dive. Finally with lot of enthusiasm I moved to aeroplane with Volker. Mike was our pilot. While gossiping with Mike and Volker I became comfortable and developed some confidence that "Yes, I can have safe dive with Volker."

[Myself and Volker having some nice time just before boarding the plane.]

Mike started engine of plane, we sat into plane and action begins.... slowly plane started moving towards runway..... 3....2...1.... plane's speed increases and within few seconds we left the land and started moving in diagonal direction towards sky. Climate was quite Good and we were rapidly gaining height. I was really excited about this activity but at the same time bit nervous as well. I liked enthusiasm of Volker, he was really nice companion. We both were screaming like crazy. while moving up, volker attached myself to his body. Finally we reached height of 10,000 ft. Volker was giving me breathing instructions in case of emergency, I listened to him carefully but I was bit comfortable.

Now at 10,000 ft plane was stable, Volker opened the door and we were ready to jump out. I took my feet out of plane, Volker was just behind me. As soon as Volker indicated, I remembered my all sweet close peoples and jumped out of plane, hhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuu.......... we did one back flip and what??? I was floating in air, yes, I was experiencing free fall from the height of 10,000 ft. ah..... speed of air was too much but still I was screaming like anything..... I was fighting with air and coming down rapidly... oh God, What an experience it was...!!! After sometime Volker opened parachute and free fall finished. Now we started floating with the help of parachute.... "Hurraah...!!!!.....Yes..... I did it...!!!" For sometime I took control of parachute and slowly started coming down, While coming down from that height I could see awesome view of Monterey and Santa Cruz beach and some hills around that area. Monterey down-town have lot of old structures which represents old US culture and having birds view of all these things was truly divine experience..... After screaming a lot and seeing this divine beauty, I just became speechless and nicely landed down.

[Myself, enjoying free fall with my instructor Volkar.]

Volker and myself were very Happy.... he was saying, "Sandy man...!!!... you are brave, have bit stronger heart..." yah.. but one thing I should definitely mention that his friendly nature made my dive bit easy... Reader friend, I hope you enjoyed dive with me..... :)

Hey, I again want to raise the same question, "What would have made me/you to jump out of plane?"... just think about it.....

After having such a out of world experience of Sky Dive, we went to Monterey beach. We roamed there around the beach till evening and enjoyed nice environment with some nice photography.

[Among all the pics, I liked this pic a lot.]

Till now if your with me then I have raised one questioned twice in two journey's and in totally opposite situation.... Question is, "What would have made me/you to jump out of plane?"..... I am sure your thinking about it... More or less to some extend activity is same in both cases but in one case it created intense fear in mind and in other case with some nervousness you enjoyed it like anything...!!! ..... Are you Still thinking about it??? Ok...just do one thing, close your eyes for some time and in both cases try to realise your feelings while jumping, Probably some things are best just for realisation.... :)


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Sky Dive: