From the beginning, I sensed stress and chaos in the Tawaki dive crew. I got out of our minivan early in the morning at the Deep Water Basin. Hard rain beat down upon us. It was going to be another rainy day in Milford Sound. The dive master, an Egyptian named Alex, had an extremely strong accent and I could not understand most of what he said. He ran back and forth on the dock, pushing his way through his clients as if the world was about to end in the next five minutes. We boarded the small boat, continuously being hurried by Alex, and Mike, the captain. Once on board, Alex hurried us to get our wet suits on. He encouraged us to carelessly and hastily put our dive tanks together. I felt rushed and dubious about the safety of the dive. I had a decision to make. Should I dive?
I had a bad feeling about the dive. I thought back to what my previous instructor, Anna had said. “Always follow your intuition and don’t be afraid to abort a dive due to a bad feeling.” While on the dive platform, Alex continued to urge me to “just jump in” finalizing my decision. I stayed on the boat with a Chinese man who was having trouble in the water. I watched while the boat got stuck on a rock, the dive master separated from his guests, and my mom ultimately aborted her first dive. I was happy with my decision and was glad to be out of the chaos in the water.
Despite the mess, my parents had an okay second dive. I was excited to use my underwater camera for the first time. I decided that I would use it to take pictures in the rain and give it to Dad to photograph his dive. The underwater pictures below were taken by Dad. My parents saw lobsters and other cool fish. The water was freezing and they dove in thick wet suits. Because of all the rain in Milford Sound, there is a layer of fresh water several meters thick above the salt water. Descending the first couple meters you can see nothing, just mirky green. Once you get below the fresh water layer, you can see normally again. The fresh water blocks the sun. Some of the life at these shallow depths is normally seen in deeper water where the light is the same. Once on deck, my parents shivered in the cold air. Soon the day was done and we were back at the lodge.
What a rainy, uncontrolled dive day. The instructors were unsafe, unorganized, and unprofessional and I made a good decision. My dad got some cool photos, but I was really disappointed that I did not dive. Anyway better luck next time!
Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!