Dhanyasree M details her pearl diving experience, a unique journey to the 2000 year old legacy of Bahrain.
The third quarter in the Kingdom is not always about scorching heat, summer activities and escape into cooler destinations. It’s also time for a unique experience in Bahrain-to hunt for the prized pearls of Bahrain.
Being a Piscean, water hold an unwavering fascination for me. I had explored ocean beds for snorkelling and scuba diving and couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore the marine life on the Gulf coast.
Organised by Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, the pearl diving experience is a once in lifetime memorable opportunity for and water adventurer.
We attended a brief workshop before our departure from Ras Rayyah. The scuba diving centre here we had registered, provided us with the necessary equipment and dive suits.
The warm water under the noon sun lured us to its lap. Our guide, Mohammed, explained that they would take designated channels to avoid reefs and shallow waters. A massive flock of cormorants flew around our boat, signalling that we are wading away from the bonds of the land. The summer heat waves was curtailing to breeze as we moved away from the shore.
We reached at the location after 15 minutes journey, and I tried my best not to strain my eyes as it had always triggered motion sickness and made me sea sick during my snorkelling and scuba diving trips.
The boat engine turned off, the anchor lowered, and waves flapped around the boat as if asking us to get into them. Butterfly flutters stirred in my stomach as always happens before all adventures.
Mohammed disappeared into the water with his flippers, tank, mask, weight band and net-bag under his belt. He reappeared after some time with his net full of oysters. It was our time to get into the waters. We prepared ourselves with the equipment and entered the water.
I had expected pearl diving to be harder than snorkelling, but never tougher than scuba diving. The currents tugged at my muscles and I was scared of the cramps that they might incur. It was dark around me at first, and I panicked to get onto the top of water. Mohammed was a patient guide and managed to lead me to the seabed.
The first attempts failed and rocks stumbled into my fingers. Finally, they start to move into my hands! The first oyster, then another, another and so on. I could have collected up to 60 oysters, but I returned to the boat with a net of more than 20 oysters. Others joined me later.
Mohammed handed us oyster opening knives to open the soft muscular oyster. He had asked us to search the shells, and muscular tissues inside with fingers also as they can hide tiny pearls. As always, guilt nagged me as I cut open the shells taking the lives of the organisms. Pearls that are cherished inside them had caused them nothing but misery from the beginning.
Some of us found some tiny pearls, and after an hour, I was left with nothing empty shells. I didn’t care about that, the journey was my unique opportunity to visit the 2000 year old legacy of Blue Bahrain!