As I breathe through the regulator, I can’t help but think that if my line gets tangled or caught somehow, or even ruptures I will lose all oxygen and drown. I will sink to the bottom of the ocean and die. Maybe Steve will be able to rescue me, but what if he can’t? These are my thoughts, yet the bigger question is, “Why am I even doing this?”
Scuba diving. I never had an interest in it until I was dating Steve, and then, it wasn’t because I was interested in the sport as much as I wanted to impress Steve with my willingness to try something new. For about a year here’s how the conversations would go:
Steve: “So, do you Scuba dive?” Me: “Uh, no.”
That little exchange was repeated about four or five times until finally I answered, “No, but I could maybe look into taking lessons or getting certified or whatever.”
“You would?” he asked with excitement in his voice.
And I did. Turns out that even in Utah there was a dive shop three blocks from my home. So, twice a week for a few weeks I took the class, did the drills in the pool and then over a weekend I certified in Open Water Scuba Diving through PADI in a geothermal spring at a crater in Heber, Utah.
All that for love, my dear.
So, let’s make a list to see why I do this
For me, diving is one of the most paradoxical activities I
enjoy, endure, do. It’s so conflicting for me that I found myself on dives wondering if I really want to be doing this. So I’ve made a list to figure out where I stand on this whole scuba diving thing.
- It’s something my husband enjoys so I do it too. His immense curiosity about the world—both above water and below—has opened up my world in discovering and learning so much.
- I love looking at the earth’s phenomenal underwater world. Did you realize there are really cool things down there in the ocean? Like freaking huge sea turtles, big ass groupers, schools of wildly colorful fish, sea horses, which always seemed mythical to me before I saw one for the first time, eels of all types and even iridescent squid.
- Cool storytelling: We saw a 14 foot Tiger shark TWICE on our dive in Kona, Hawaii (cool story, but a little too terrifying for me. I sucked through my air pretty fast). We also did an amazing night dive with manta rays, which I count as one of the top five things I’ve ever done.
- I love being on a boat. I don’t get sea sick and I love sitting in the sun with the wind blowing all that hair I have out of my face. Look how happy I am on this boat!
- I’m still not very good at diving. My buoyancy sucks, I can never remember how to clear my mask and I’m always worried my regulator’s line will have a pin prick in it and I’ll drown.
- Diving has taken us to some truly wonderful places. Since we’re also birders, we often combine diving trips with jungle birding adventures.
- It is kind of cool to be able to tell people, “Yeah, I’m a diver.” But the wet suit and neoprene hat, I realize, don’t really make me look cool. Or do they? Let’s say they do.
- Diving constantly challenges my fears. Steve is more fearless than I. If I didn’t dive I’m actually convinced I would just stick to routine and become boring in my middle years.
Bottom line, I still like it
I do really like diving. I like that I learned how to do this in my forties and even though it took falling in love with a guy to nudge me to do this, it is one of those things in which I surprise myself. My first real dive (after certifying at the crater) was in Cozumel, Mexico on our honeymoon. Since then we’ve been diving in Belize, Honduras, Costa Maya (Mexico), Cozumel again, Panama and Hawaii (Kona and most recently Maui). The dive companies we go with are as varied as the people we meet on the boat. Some dive companies I like better than others, but overall, I’m glad I’m a diver and I’m motivated to get better at it so I’m not so scared.
But really, it’s not a bad thing to do something that scares you.