By Dave Moran
Unbelievable … 2,000+ divers all diving together at the same time and having fun doing it!
Not in Indonesia! Events in Indonesia tend to be big.
When the Indonesian Government put in place plans to celebrate the country’s 64th Independence Day they decided to invite their international partners to Sail Bunaken 2009.
The major events were held in and around the city of Manado in North Sulawesi.
An impressive number of the world’s Navies took part in a ‘Sail Pass’ which comprised 31 warships, three tall ships and an armada of cruising yachts from around the world. The US aircraft carrier, USS George Washington which appeared like a floating island, lead the Sail Pass, impressive!
One of the major events for the Sail Bunaken celebrations was an attempt to break the
Guinness World Record for the Most People Scuba Diving Simultaneously.
On 17 August (Independence Day) a mass of wetsuited bodies clad in full scuba diving kit lined up in their predetermined groups and descended in a very orderly manner onto the beach of Malalayang Bay, Manado and slowly swam out to a row of buoys that had been set out by the Indonesian Navy.
A purpose built staging platform was crammed with government and Navy dignitaries to witness this amazing spectacle. I must admit it was a little hard to take in or in fact comprehend – have you ever seen over 2,500 divers all at once? Your brain tells you this is crazy – not possible – but it was!
The national pride and euphoria that seemed to surround us all made everyone aware that we were witnessing
an event that just does not happen every day of the week!
‘Are you having fun?’ screamed from the load speakers – a defining roar erupted from the water – yes. Then you could hear the Indonesian national anthem being sung amongst the divers still descending onto the beach to join the black mass of wetsuits which were bobbing on the surface by their allocated buoys.
… Indonesia, my native land
The land where I shed my blood
There, I stand
To be the guard of my motherland.
… My land, my country which I love
Great Indonesia, independent & sovereign!
Long live Great Indonesia …
The dignitaries some in wetsuits showed their support by speaking and waving to the crowd. They, like all the divers, wanted to be part of making diving history.
Navy inflatables crusied slowly around the floating mass, then the signial was given for the divers to descend to their allocated weighted lines on the sandy bottom three and a half metres below. The national flag was raised amongst the divers.
The clock was ticking. The ocean’s surface turned white with a profusion of bubbles. Thirty-one minutes ticked by then an underwater speaker advised it was time to head for the surface.
What a commotion, 2,486 divers punching the air – their cheek splitting smiles said it all: ‘we are world record holders, we are champions!’ The feeling of achievement and goodwill amongst the divers was there for all to see and feel. This amazing spectacle reminded me, no matter where in the world he/she comes from the world’s people just love having fun with their fellow man.
The previous record of 958 divers set in the Maldives in 2006 had literally been blown out of the water!
The previous day (16th) 2,465 divers established a new record category
The Largest Scuba Diving Lesson
which was achieved. I think it will be a long time before another country can proudly show the world they are the World Champions for the, ‘Most People Scuba Diving Simultaneously.