Edit: A faithful reader photoshopped me! The package was a 30 minute instruction period followed by a quick boat ride to a reef and a 45 minute dive. When I first heard it was a 50 foot dive, one guy I met at the resort looked at me like I was nuts and went into a rant that included the words "decompression", "cramps", "capillaries bursting", and "hyperbolic chamber for two days." Well, that didn't sound fun at all. But once we got it clarified that it was a 15 to 25 foot dive, he backed off a bit but still thought it was a little nuts. There were four of us in the group to go out. Oddly, they first transported us to a different resort for the instruction. There we met our female instructor, with a pretty good accent, who told us the first thing we needed to do was to sign waiver forms because, and I'm not making this up, "We don't want any responsibility in case something goes wrong." That's technically correct, but you never hear anyone in the States say it that way. From there, we received our crash course on diving. Afterwards, she put us in the pool for our practice session in what we had hopefully learned (how to clear our masks if need be, how to clear the regulator, how to go up, how to go down, how to avoid death, etc.) So with full gear on, we all sat on our collective arses in the five foot end of the pool. I hope I didn't show it, but that experience kind of freaked me out. Scuba diving looks easy. Heck, I had even watched all the Sea Hunt episodes as a kid. Yeah, I could breath through the regulator, but it was labored breathing for me. It was just so . . . . unenjoyable. After about 10 seconds of experiencing a little feeling of panic, I overcame the desire to jump up into the air and scream, "I can't take it!!" The instructor, no doubt seeing more air bubbles coming from my mouth than everyone else combined, swam over in front of me and made hand gestures which meant, "Hey, idiot, I told you to breath slowly and deeply. Do it!" And I did. After going through the drills, we then did the most awkward thing: We followed the instructor as we swam around the pool. Now understand, this is a nice resort with a huge pool full of guests and we are the only ones in scuba gear. So we're swimming around and people are scrambling to get away from us like nobody's business. (Afterwards, all four of us laughed about how we probably looked like the creepy guy from the pool scene in Little Children.) The dive itself was fairly uneventful. (With the exception of a beeping sound I heard every five minutes that made me think my equipment was malfunctioning -- but which was actually only a five minute interval timer the instructor was wearing. Hey, tell me about that next time.) Lots of cool fish. Lots of cool coral. Lots of cool plants. But no sharks or killer sting rays. And you can't believe how much the current moves you around against your will. Once we were through, I was exhausted. Completely. The instructor even gave me a concerned, "Are you OK?" once I got to the boat's ladder and successfully negotiated it despite having a severe case of the Shake Legs. So scratch another item off my Bucket List. Running With The Bulls, here I come.
at 11:32 AM