Theme: Into the Water
Hattori：Your first diving experience was five years ago near Malaysia`s Tioman Island, is that right. Was it really your first time?
Mende：Yes really. I wanted to go diving and so I went. I got my diving licence with a really strict Japanese instructor. I was 64 years old at the time and now I go diving every year. I am still a beginner, but I have done about 30 dives. How many dives have you done?
Hattori： I have about 100 dives and an advanced diving license. The first time I went diving, I was so moved by the lighting experience underwater, I wanted to capture it in photographs. So I just went out and bought an underwater camera. Underwater photography is so interesting.
Mende：Are there any differences between photographing underwater or on land?
Hattori：Underwater you are floating, so shooting the camera is very difficult. Also you can`t use a tripod so it is hard to use auto focus when your body is floating and moving. I can really understand the distinction between a regular photographer and underwater photographer. Their diving skills need to be very advanced.
Mende：Divers are all interested in different targets underwater. Some divers are interested in only sea slugs or really big fish or such.
Hattori： I like underwater terrain. The dynamic landforms get me really excited! The fish are pretty, some look good to eat, but that is the only sensation I feel so far.
Mende：I am the same way! Instead of wanting to see schools of manta or a giant whale shark, I am more surprized by the landforms that are hidden underwater. I`ll never forget the first time I went into a cave. This year I am planning a trip to Miyako, famous for its landforms. I am excited to see what kind of landforms I will encounter.
Hattori：The fact that you are floating freely underwater in a three-dimensional-like state, able to move about in any direction, is an exciting sensation.
Mende：Yes!! Using neutral buoyancy kind of simulates a sense of weightlessness. This might sound extreme, but you actually feel like you have become a fish. This sense of freedom feels very good!
Hattori：Yes, I agree. It is relaxing to just release all your tension and float. Until you are used to diving your body feels really stiff underwater, but you just have to concentrate on taking deep breaths of air in and out. It feels a little like yoga and I think the same relaxing effect can also be felt while diving.
Mende：Yes. My first dive into the ocean was very nerve racking. But once in the water I had no sense of fear, it is just you in the water taking deep, deep breathes of air, which also feels really good.
Hattori： Also, sound is reduced so you can concentrate on other senses. The loudest sounds come from your own breathing and release of air bubbles.
Mende：That`s right. Sound is muffled in the water, reducing stimulus from sound, so vision becomes more concentrated. You have an advanced license so you must be able to dive down about 30 meters?!
Hattori：30 meters is about right. Even in the daytime it is dark and shades of red to yellow are invisible. It is a relaxing world of blue.
Mende： I see, as the dive gets deeper light also decreases. Even on cloudy days or just a single beam of light cutting through the water, I am always amazed by my experiences with light in the ocean. One time we were moving along a narrow cliff and, almost on cue, a beam of light cuts through the water and we swim right through it. An unforgettable experience.
Hattori：Add a shimmering effect and the experience of being wrapped in light in the ocean is really a unique experience.
Mende： I thought night diving wouldn`t be any fun since you can`t see much terrain, but your acute sense of distance around your own body is a pulsating experience. Using a flash light you can see many fish, too.
Hattori：The thing I liked about night diving is the communication. We sent signals using light. Flash lights can also be used for communication.
Mende：Have you had any accidents or scary moments while diving?
Hattori： I was cut by coral once and felt an electric shock. That was a little scary. I hadn`t been diving very long and was worried if I could complete the dive. Panicking is a big no-no in diving! I`d also like to go to outer space. By going to different places, places that I’m are no used too, I feel like it expands my senses. Did you know, that up until now, more people have been to outer space than to the depths of the ocean?
Mende：I don`t really have a desire to go to outer space. I think it is more suitable for me to look up at the moon from the earth and daydream. But you are right, new experiences do lead to spurts of creativity. In the ocean inconceivable experiences with light, landscapes, and natural phenomenon satisfy even my endless sense of curiosity. I am really looking forward to exploring more of the ocean.
Hattori：Yes! I recommend you work towards an advanced license so you can go for deeper dives.