Reef walking in Boracay (Helmet-Diving) 2012

When I found out that I will be able to set my foot on the famous white sand of Boracay, I searched through the internet for the possible itinerary of my three-day stay. Reef walking is my first choice. I would love to do para-sailing but my wallet would not allow it. The rest of the days were left for capturing breath-taking sunsets and fun-filled moments on pictures.

Reef walking is one of the most popular water activities in Boracay. It allows you to walk on some of the most interesting reefs in the island. It’s also known by the name “helmet diving” because one has to wear a helmet with a hose connected from an oxygen tank, then descend a ladder to the seabed wherein you can view the ocean’s magnificent sea creatures. If you’re looking for a water adventure that doesn’t require swimming/diving know-how, then reef walking is for you.

The rate for this ranges from P 400 to P 600, still negotiable. Now, this is where one’s ”bargaining prowess” becomes useful. Thanks to Ms.Tessa. We got ours for P270 (for the experience itself, photos and videos).

We were picked up by a boat at the shore that took us a kilometer or two into the water away from the beach. There was a stationed boat where we were transferred while waiting for our turn to reef walk. We were introduced first to the apparatus to be used on our dive, the “helmet” which was attached through a cord/hose to an oxygen tank inside the boat

After a preparation of about 10 minutes, everything was set. We had a short orientation regarding the signals underwater.

Here are the Basic Underwater Signals
1. Thumbs Down = Go Down
2. Thumbs Up = Go Up
3. OK Sign (Finger formation is like letter “d”) = OK
4. All fingers pointing forward then wave hand = Problem
If pressure clogs the ear, simply close your nose using your thumb + pointing finger then blow your nose. You will notice that the air pressure went outside your ear.

After the orientation, it’s time to immerse. I said to myself: “Relax, this is it”. Remember equilibration, the hand signs and proper breathing. Few steps down, kuya placed the heavy transparent mask on my head (rested on my shoulders). My, I felt the 20 pounds he said for a while. Then, my fingers were ready. One on my nose and the other free. Keeping still as the guide pull me downwards, I began to equilibrate at every feet we went. Equilibration in layman’s term means releasing air pressure through your ears by pinching your nose. If you will not do this, you will feel dizzy and needs to inform the guide asap with the proper hand sign.

While descending, the pressure on my ears was too much…. It hurt a lot. After 15 equilibration (yes, I counted them) I saw reefs and fishes! And lo & behold..I was in awe of the marvelous sight before me. I felt no fear but only pure bliss. I realized I was walking joyfully in the seabed, the wonderful creatures swimming around me. We fed them with bread crumbs whilst I was trying to get hold of some of them. I didn’t succeed though but their mere presence at a close distance with me made me happy.

That was a fleeting moment but the euphoria would definitely be sweetly remembered forever. :)

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