Magic of diving & deep blue sea
Kimmi Molenaar and David Barlič, two experienced scuba diving instructors, share their insights from what they call the passion of their life.
Kimmi: Most beautiful place on earth.
David: This will change your life.
How old were you when you took your first dive?
Kimmi: I was twelve when I began my diving journey with the PADI Open Water course. My mom was with me when I did my first dive in the sea, I was nervous and a little bit afraid, my mom calmed me and encouraged me to take my first breaths underwater. That day changed my life and I will never forget it. Now as an instructor I find the roles have reversed and I am the one calming people and encouraging them to try diving for the first time. It is an incredibly rewarding experience to be a part of this life changing moment when a person dives underwater for their first time.
David: I was twenty years old when I went on my first dive and I fell in love with diving straight away. Since then I have been to seven different countries working as a diving instructor, learned new languages, experienced many different cultures and saw creatures I never knew existed. I have met an incredible amount of amazing people and I have introduced hundreds of people to the beautiful world of scuba diving.
Why did you become a diving instructor?
Kimmi: When I was three my father taught me how to snorkel, it was the beginning of an incredible journey that lead to where I am today. Both my parents were passionate divers and I grew up embracing their passion. I became a diving instructor because I love diving more than anything else and I want to share my passion for diving with as many people as possible so they can experience the incredible beauty of the underwater world.
David: When I was a kid every summer holidays I spent all my time in the water snorkeling and observing the beauty of the underwater world. When I did my Open Water course I decided straight away that I would like to dive every day for the rest of my life and share this passion with others
What is the most amazing thing you saw down under?
Kimmi: I was in Mozambique doing my dive master course, we were coming to the end of the dive during which we had heard the whales singing. Suddenly the singing became incredibly loud and I actually felt the vibrations in my chest. A humpback whale dived down in front of us, for me it was the most amazing experience as I never seen a creature of such an incredible size. She was so beautiful and graceful. I do not think I will ever forget that dive.
David: This is a hard decision as there were many amazing creatures that I will never forget. If I had to choose only one, it would probably be a Manta Ray. It took me over three thousand dives to finally see one of these majestic creatures. We were in Bali, off the coast of Nusa Lembongan, we went on a dive specifically to see Manta Rays. I never thought how incredible it would be until the first Manta Ray gracefully flew through the water towards me, I was overcome with happiness and will never forget the majestic beauty I witnessed that day.
You lived at a quite few different tropical paradises. Where is your favorite place to dive?
Kimmi: It is difficult to say which place has the best diving because every place I have been has shown me some of the most incredible and diverse marine species in the world. If I had to choose one specific place that will always be the closest to my heart, it would be 7 Mile Reef in Sodwana Bay off the east coast of South Africa it was my mom and dad’s favourite dive site and holds a very special memory for me whenever I dive there.
David: After visiting several incredible diving destinations around the world I would have to say that so far Indonesia is my favourite place to dive. It is home to the most bio-diverse coral reefs in the world and boasts the largest diversity of marine species known to man. Indonesia has some of the most beautiful and sometimes bizarre looking creatures I have ever seen.
What is the most surprising thing for your first-time divers that they did not expect to experience under the water?
Kimmi: The majority of my students have told me after their first underwater experience that they could not believe how much there was to see. Most of my students having only experienced snorkeling were amazed at how many tiny fish there were and how busy the reef is. Most people on their first dive are surprised by the fact that they felt as though they had entered a completely different world.
David: My students have always been amazed at the incredible feeling of being completely free. They are always surprised by the weightless sensation that takes over when one enters the underwater world and they have described to me how shocked they were by the unbelievable silence they felt when they went underwater for the first time.
Descending into wide blue depths is like traveling to another universe with completely different laws of physics and morals …
Kimmi: Buoyancy is one of the first laws of diving that one needs to understand, it as an incredible feeling to be completely weightless underwater. Understanding the concept and learning how to control your body and its position is one of the basic and most important principles of diving. The strongest moral a diver should have is a healthy respect of the marine environment. Every living creature underwater from the tiny coral polyps to the great whales of the deep has a specific and important purpose. When entering the underwater world, a diver is a guest there and should act as such. A diver has the responsibility of protecting the marine environment and educating others as to how they can also preserve the most beautiful place on earth.
David: The feeling of weightlessness is one of the most indescribable I have ever known and is as close to the feeling of being in space that we will ever know. It is a core concept of diving that is taught in every level from beginner to advanced and it is through the understanding of this concept that we as divers are able to avoid damaging the fragile eco-system of the marine environment. We as divers should encourage people to protect endangered species by educating them as to how they should interact with these delicate species should they be lucky enough to encounter them in their natural habitat.
If I were a fish I would be a …?
Kimmi: I would be a Manta Ray (Manta Birostris) as they are one of the most elegantly graceful marine species in existence, they are highly intelligent and posses an incredibly well developed capacity for emotion. Due to their incredible size and speed they are able to travel massive distances across the world’s oceans. Despite their majestic size, they are placid creatures and on occasion they will leap out of the water fly through the air and perform a somersault before diving back down to the depths of the sea.
David: I would be an Oceanic White Tip shark (Carcharhinus Longimanus) as they are the apex predator of the ocean and have been in existence for over four hundred million years. They are an ancient and highly evolved species. They love deep waters and prefer warmer water, they are slow swimmers, sometimes they act like dogs and they are a highly-endangered species.
If we had one superpower it would be the ability to breathe underwater.
If I had one superpower it would be a …?
Kimmi and David: This is an easy one. If we had one superpower it would be the ability to breathe underwater.