By: Walter Egger
Photos: Diego Mejías
The story of a trip that changed directions.
A green trip that turned blue…
I visited Costa Rica with 2 friends to submerge myself in thermal waters, hang from the trees, travel downriver on a raft and learn about the secret life of the tropical jungles. And this is exactly what we did for the first few days. On the 5th day everything changed. From the mountains, we went down to the beach. Diving appeared and took a hold of me.
The idea of diving had always appealed to me, but the 3-day course and its cost had deterred me on other occasions. If only I had known before that there was a quick course! You can learn in the morning and dive that same afternoon. Just what I needed!
From their reaction to the idea it was very clear that my 2 friends would not go with me. In less than a half hour I made the arrangements and got ready for the following day.
It rained that afternoon. I could only wish that the next day’s weather would be kind to me and a hot sun would accompany me to discover what was below the surface. And so it was. I woke up at 5 am, very excited, like a boy about to go camping. Later when I saw that the sky was completely free of clouds I felt that giddy feeling all over again!
To tell you the truth, I don’t know if the course was very easy or if I was just so eager to learn that everything seemed so simple and clear to me. I had some theory, then we practiced in the pool and I was ready for the ocean. By 2 pm the boat was on its way and… I was on board!
During the trip to and from the dive site I enjoyed a beautiful 360-degree view from the deck. To the right, the blue was infinite, interrupted only by a hypnotic line fusing the sky and ocean. To the left, I gazed upon green mountains with sponge-like forests that attempted to fall into the sea.
Once at the dive site, the moment finally came when I could jump into the water. As soon as I hit the water, I quickly submerged my head to see what I had anxiously been waiting to see. There, finally, was that anticipated image…
All blue... All silence.
I entered into a brief trance, which automatically ended when I saw my first fish in its natural habitat. Regardless of whether the rest of the people found this impressive or not, I felt as if I was touched by heaven. Or better said, it was totally the opposite, I felt that the ocean was welcoming me.
When Patrick, the instructor, signaled to start the descent, I was somewhat confused. From the top, one could only see a large dark rock and a sandy bottom that appeared to be deserted, devoid of life. But upon descending some more I discovered that my eyes had been completely deceived. The place was full of life! The marine camouflage was working perfectly!
At a closer distance, I could clearly see that those few meters of rock were in actuality the equivalent to a whole marine city. I didn’t know where to look. I didn’t want to miss anything. Hundreds of colorful fish, several morays and a timid octopus truly spiced up my first several minutes of diving and, truth be told, I would have been satisfied to take with me only these sights.
I didn’t expected those 2 turtles that decided to pass “flying” by only a few meters from our group. Neither did I expect that my guide would point out that tiny sea horse hanging from a coral, and even less so, to discover that crack in which a peaceful white fin shark was resting quietly.
All this grandeur completely awed me, but towards the end of the tour, I realized that there was much more there than even I was seeing. As I swam within centimeters of the rocks themselves, I discovered that they protected a variety of minuscule fish, which poked the tops of their heads out of the rock’s small cavities. The curiosity of discovering these small creatures, took hold of me. Who would want to keep moving ahead when just right there, there was so much to see! Small anemones, minuscule crustaceans, little dancing algae and many other almost imperceptible beings captivated my sight. Had it not been for the guide who reminded me that the air in my tank wasn’t eternal, I would have stayed at that location for many hours. I thought: Why do I have to go up now? This isn’t fair!
A few seconds later I remembered that there would be a second immersion and a smile came back to my soul.
Altering my friends’ trip schedule, I convinced them to stay a little longer in Playas del Coco and I spent the next days diving in the waters of Papagayo.
I’m writing from Switzerland, now back and perhaps as a calming impulse until my next escapade to that blue world of the depths.
Pura Vida Costa Rica! Now the world looks to me greener, bluer, and much, much deeper…
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