I went diving yesterday for the first time in a long time… well, a long time for me. It had been about 6 -7 weeks since I last went diving, but I remedied that yesterday by spending about 4 hours under the water! In the morning I went diving with Melanie from Switzerland. Her friend Sylvia was snorkeling and on the boat we also had Baptiste and Miranda from Wisconsin and St. Lucia who were doing a first time dive with Stuart. So for me, it was a really easy way to get back into the swing of things, as Melanie was a great diver, the conditions were easy and I even had one of our new Divemaster interns trailing in the back of our group of 3!
I have to admit, I was still a little nervous. I mean, although I must have done almost 2,000 dives, if I don’t dive for awhile I still get that little rush of anxiousness right before going in the water.
“So… I’ve got my fins, my mask, weight belt, bc, regs… what am I missing? Hmmm. I know, computer!” I gave Melanie and extended briefing as she hadn’t been diving for about 4 years, and this briefing was as much for me as it was for her!
Should I not be admitting this? I’m just being honest. Perhaps I should also add that I was completely in control, and competent the whole time and the little bit of anxiousness was very minute. For me it also represents the start of the new season, as it never really feels like it has begun until I’m actually under the water. Anyway…. Stu was there with me, so I knew I was fine!
When we finally got in the water and started to descend I couldn’t believe how quiet it was. I guess I forgot a little bit. I also forgot how cool it is, how totally awesome it is to breath underwater. You would think that I get sick of this, but obviously I don’t.
It was really great though, because for me, it had been only 6 weeks, but for some of you who come diving with us, it is a year or 2 or 10 sometimes. So, all those feelings are multiplied. It is important for us to be able to empathize with our customers, recognize those “haven’t-been-diving-in-a-long-time” emotions. In a way, those small feelings of anxiety before jumping in were worth the rediscovery of what it is that I love about diving… the quiet, the calm, the peace. Melanie and I did a 62 minute dive. There was one point when we came around the corner of a reef and this huge school of snapper came into view, then there was a smaller group of about 15 Spade Fish and then another group of about 30 Horse Eyed Jacks, all swimming right over us. As they slowly parted to let us through, two graceful eagle rays came flying by, and I had this thought… (well, it wasn’t really a thought, it was more an emotion), it was serenity, and I was glad for it.
The rest of the day was fantastic and I especially loved being on the boat with Steve and Paula from Connecticut. Steve used to work with my dad a long time ago, and since then they have been very close family friends, like family really. They came out on the afternoon trip to do a first time dive experience with us. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dive with them, as I had two certified divers to guide (they were a lovely couple from Paris), but Chris took them instead. Paula is this tiny, fragile little thing, just about a buck five…. maybe, and she must be under 5 ft tall. (A buck five is 105 lbs, for those of you that didn’t realize that). Steve is taller and in his retirement he has grown a beard, which suite’s him quite well. Paula with a tank on her back was a sight for sore eyes, I don’t think Chris let her experience the full weight of the equipment at any one point. Well, they had so much fun! It was Steve’s birthday and he said that this was clearly the best day of their whole vacation here. Paula had a smile that went from ear to ear when she came out of the first dive, and both were glad that they did the second dive as well, to see all the turtles.
So, alas, I didn’t get to dive with them. However, we did relive almost every moment of their dive when we had dinner with them last night.
“Oh, my gosh, what was that thing that you showed me, Chris, that funny looking thing in the perfectly round hole?”
“That was a mantis shrimp, Paula.”
“And then right after, goodness, it was all so amazing, there is so much life down there, right after we saw that fish, what kind was that?’
“What did it look like, Paula?”
“Well, it was, it was… a fish.”
“Was it big?”
“No, it was small.”
“Ok. What color?”
My mom will understand how funny this conversation was.
My favorite quote of the day was when Paula was explaining that in the beginning of the dive, when Steve needed a little extra time to get used to breathing underwater, Paula said that she thought to herself “Well, I shouldn’t say it, but a little bit of me was worried about Steven, but most of me didn’t care as I just wanted to keep diving!”
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEVE. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Once Paula sends me the photos that they took, I will post them, so you can all see the ear to ear smile! But until then, I stole this picture from their Facebook page. Am I allowed to do that? I’m sure Paula and Steve won’t mind.
(Sally wrote this blog. 🙂 )
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEVE! It was so fun to spend it with you, and thanks Paula, for making it such a great day!