Davao Fun Diving: The #OpenBoat Experience
What started out as a curiosity-spurned experiment on Facebook turned out to be a reality filled with fun!
I never expected that there were actually more millennials (and non-millennials even) who would be interested in joining the Open Boat.
Before the year ends, I'd love to look back at the events that made 2016 such an amazing year. Last November 30, was the perfect holiday to launch the Millennial Mermaid Open Boat. Amusingly, I coined up the name “Open Boat” for what the event truly is – an open invitation to anybody interested in joining a day tour out at the Davao Gulf with the main purpose of enjoying the ocean in the most natural way possible, either snorkeling, skin diving or free diving.
I never held high expectations when I started posting invitation on my Facebook page about the Open Boat. Although I knew that I had likeminded friends who also loved the sea, I wasn’t too sure if joining an organized event on a holiday would be all worth it for them.
Plus they had to actually shell out money for the boat rental. I know free diving sounds 'free' but unless you own your private boat then it wouldn't be that free. After a few minutes of posting the invitation, inquiries started coming in from strangers, friends of friends and even my old college buddies.
After discussing with my sister, we decided to own the idea and turn it into a reality. I’m so glad we did because now I can truly say that they’re a lot of us out there who just needed to find the perfect boat to get on to enjoy the ocean.
Through help of generous friends and my sister, I was able to minimize the cost of joining to a minimum of PHP 400-500 per person including snacks.
I remembered how I felt when I first joined an open invitation for a fun dive around Davao Gulf. I was scared! I barely knew anybody except the person that invited me but I really wanted to learn how to free dive.
It was quite intimidating getting into the deep blue sea with strangers who had all the gears and were suited up to perfectly fit the look of a legit free diver. Meanwhile, I was in my favorite surf outfit with my mermaid fins, all in its girly glory.
Despite my intimidation, I dared ask questions and made it a point to learn. Thankfully, the free divers were so passionate in sharing what they’ve learned that I finally felt braver and happier that I was doing it the right way.
I wanted to share this experience with others like myself so, I decided to push through with the Open Boat. A fun and safe environment where others can learn to dive to their own comfort level and get that lovely sun-kissed skin after a day out at sea.
“We’re so thrilled to be part of the Open Boat experience! And we even got to swim with the Millennial Mermaid herself!” said an ecstatic Bianne Yee, one of the 21 participants.
The smile on their faces after diving and as they were going home that day made my heart so full of satisfaction. Seeing their profile photos changed as soon as they went home made me remember how I felt the first time I was able to dive better.
“The Open Boat was really fun! It’s nice to meet people with the same love for the sea. Plus you unselfishly share your knowledge about free diving and you took time in teaching us hands on. Now I can finally do it thanks to you!” chats Ael Nayve, who found his way to the Open Boat by a random Google search.
Keano Brion, also a recent graduate, said “Witnessing the pristine underwater scenery in Samal and Talicud made my Open Boat experience off the charts. I enjoyed diving wih my friend as well as the other diving enthusiasts who shared some tips and insights on skin/free diving. I hope that there will be more diving events here in Davao.”
I totally agree with him. Looking back, I guess the true joy in life is really about sharing what you love to others who feel the same way. I am looking forward to having more Open Boat events, maybe meet more free divers and learn from them even more.
Who knows, maybe the next time there would be more mermaids swimming in real tails? That I would do anything to make it happen. ❤❤❤
*A shorter version of this story originally appeared in my column in EdgeDavao last December 6, 2016.