Stella Wasn’t A Helmet Diver

This time I’m blaming my extended break from writing on two things.

Firstly, through August the school runs a ‘summer course’ where, basically, classes run 6 days a week while the kids are away from their state schools so they can be forced to learn English on their supposed holiday. For teachers, this means a sustained period of flittering between three states of being: ‘preparing to wave flashcards at kinders’,  ‘waving flashcards at kinders’ and ‘being asleep’. The whole 6 week course went pretty quickly, all things considered, but I didn’t really get much else done.

After that, though, our reward! Two weeks holiday during which we were not required to teach anybody anything. Bliss.

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I headed to Boracay, in the Philippines, with some friends from school. Mike and myself both bought GoPro cameras (www.gopro.com) with which to film our, perhaps not quite extreme enough to justify the camera, escapades.

Compiling all of the footage, as well as writing about the trip as a whole, is going to be a bit of a project.

However, as a teaser, I’ve just finished editing the footage Mike shot of us going Helmet Diving.

I am familiar with both diving and helmets, I hear you say, but what is helmet diving? Boracay seems to have a tradition of combining well-known activities with additional unique elements. For example, some of the bars also contained Tattoo Parlours, and visa versa. Staggeringly, the cliff diving trip was also all-you-can-drink. In the same fashion, Helmet Diving was on offer.

It’s pretty much exactly what you’re imagining. We read about it online, saw a few pictures, and were compelled to give it a try just because of how hilarious it looks.

Essentially, you get a boat out to a floating platform above some coral reef. After queuing behind an endless line of South Korean tourists you’re then invited to climb down a ladder into the ocean. Soon after a man puts a large yellow helmet on your head which, being pretty damn heavy, makes you rapidly sink towards the ocean floor. Thankfully the helmet is full of compressed air so, rather than dying a ridiculous death, you’re free to laugh constantly at your friends as they bounce about the ocean floor like a bunch of drunk ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ cosplayers. You can also, if you wish, enjoy the scenery and aquatic life.

It was definitely one of the strangest things I’ve ever done. See below and, if you can, watch in 720p.