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Day 24 – I Believe I Can Fly (Scuba Liveaboard 3)

March 27, 2010

Dateline: Richelieu Rock and return to Koh Tachai, Similan Islands, Thailand – Saturday, March 27, 2010


This is Day 3 of a four-day series. Click here to read the official introduction to this entry. Click here to read starting from Day 1 of this series.


When I was about 9 years old I had a dream where I could fly. I’d heard about flying in dreams but never had one myself. When it happened for me, it was only because I realized I was asleep and that I was in a dream.

“Great!” I thought, “I’m dreaming, I know it—now’s the time to try out this flying thing.” I spent the next five minutes of dream time running up and down the sidewalk in front of my house jumping and flapping my arms to try and get airborne. It didn’t work.

Exhausted, I looked up at the sky wondering whether I’d ever have my flying dream. Suddenly, I was floating hundreds of feet above my suburban neighborhood. I have no idea how it happened, but since it was a dream, I took it as fact and started flying around.

In my dream, I couldn’t zoom around like Superman; I could only drift. I’d float on the wind mostly. If I willed myself in a direction, I could glide there at walking speed. Strangest of all, if I wanted to go higher, I’d have to take a deep breath and fill my lungs with air; like an inflated balloon I’d rise. If I wanted to descend, I’d exhale and empty my lungs; like a hot air balloon releasing air, I’d sink.

I’ve always wondered about that dream. First off, I knew I was dreaming while I was dreaming. I’m not sure that’s normal. It hasn’t happened often. Better still, I almost took control of my dream. I wanted to make something happen and it did. Granted, I have no idea how I got in the air, but I did fly.

I’ve wanted to have that dream again. Sort of like a recurring nightmare in reverse where instead of waking up in a cold sweat you wake up in bliss. I’ve wanted to feel that sensation of floating high above the city, drifting past the teeming world below. Birds dart around and, though I’d be unable to keep up with them, I’d be in their space. With a little inhale, I’d ascend to the clouds. Blow a little air out and I’d slide down to the rooftops. I wanted to feel that peace I felt as I rolled past the treetops, caught on a gentle breeze.

Sadly, that dream’s never returned. It was a one-time thing, I guess.

I have, however, found an adequate substitute. I have found diving. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to flight.

You wouldn’t guess it if you’ve only seen divers above water. Divers standing on deck are weighed down with tens of pounds of gear. Fins force them to waddle-walk like a duck. Grounded divers are a half-hearted shove away from crashing to the ground in a heap of metal, plastic, and uncomfortably tight lycra. That heap will not be able to get up on its own. A diver above water is like Lindsey Lohan at the Queen of England’s open bar birthday party—a bit awkward, a tad out of place, and constantly on the verge of making a scene.

If you could feel what that diver feels underwater, though, it’d be a different story. As a diver, you enter the water and what was awkward becomes grace. You glide down and watch the world below become larger and fill with detail. You float with no effort at all. You can catch a current and drift past towering reefs and through giant schools of fish (the ocean’s equivalent of birds).

And if you want to go higher, you can take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air, and slowly you will rise. To go deeper, you can empty your lungs and sink. It’s like living my dream except for the whole possibility-of-drowning thing. (Actually, that may make it more exciting.)

Best of all, diving is peace. It’s silence except for the sound of your own breath. Your dive buddy can be right next to you, but he might as well be a million miles away. He cannot speak and neither can you. You are in your own worlds. There is no idle chatter—it’s just you, the sea, and the eerily silent wildlife. You are isolated, even if you have company.

It is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. You might even say it’s a dream come true.

GALLERY: Click through to see a ton of bonus pictures. Literally one ton, including one of Rubi letting a cleaner shrimp feast on the back of his throat. If Mervyn had to choose one, he’d choose the gallery at the other end of this link as his single favorite gallery of his Asia trip. Really. Click through.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 5:22 pm

    Clicking through gets me to a page with 31 photos…and I’m apparently too stupid to figure out where the rest are!

    By the way, I wonder how many of us have had that exact dream of flying in that way….it’s one of the most vivid of my life, and the sense of control along with the wonder of it all, has never left me.

    • August 24, 2010 5:33 pm

      Thanks for the heads up, Earl. I’ve corrected the link to the gallery. It should be working correctly now.

  2. August 24, 2010 5:24 pm

    I’ve changed e-mail addresses…..hope the site picks up on that.

    • August 24, 2010 5:34 pm

      Just in case the site didn’t pick it up, I’m writing to let you know I changed the link to the Liveaboard Day 3 pictures. It should be working correctly now.

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