Monday, July 7, 2014

Scuba Diving – Friday, June 13, 2014

[#sorryimnotsorry for the lack of updating over Fourth of July weekend]

I think it’s not a good sign if the most exciting part of my day was going to the market, and not scuba diving for the first time in open water.

The day started with remedial scuba. I had to meet my scuba instructor and apprentice at 7am to plunge into the freezing pool while Cory got to sleep in and stay warm (and very much enjoy my absence from our shared bed…his fault…he booked the hotel). This, simply because during our pool session the day before I refused to fill my mask up with water and blow the water out of it. I mean…this is an absurd exercise. I have a solution: build a better flippin eye mask! One that doesn’t fall off or fill up with water. Give me an astronaut helmet! It doesn’t make sense to me to purposely fill my mask up with water (or, worse, take it off!) “just in case” it actually happens. Just ensure that it doesn’t actually happen! Worse, in order to really do this properly you have to breathe through your mouth. I’m not a mouth breather and I’m actually quite proud of myself for that. Middle school could have very easily been worse than it was if I were a mouth breather.

That said, I did feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I did successfully do this. Sense of accomplishment was lost when I then dislocated my shoulder. A conversation about my frequently-dislocating shoulder ensued and my instructor threatened to banish me (and therefore Cory) to the ridiculous-sounding “Clownfish” reef if it was an issue in the ocean. (Because, maybe there was a chance that it would only be an issue in the pool?)

So with a successful remedial scuba lesson, off to Clownfish Reef we went. This is where I learned that my least favorite part of scuba was not the stupidity of filling my mask up with water, it was transferring from snorkel to respirator because – I swear – the snorkel was too big for my mouth. I just kept on breathing in water. Eventually, I either did this correctly or my instructor gave up because we were going to be allowed to actually go down to the reef.

And that’s when I learned that my least favorite part of diving is “equalizing”, aka the process of helping your ears adjust to descending to 10m of depth in water, aka 2 ATM OF PRESSURE. My ears were not psyched about this. I tried to scream at my instructor that THIS IS NOT NATURAL – WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF/MY EARS but I was inhibited by my respirator and the logistics of being able to talk under water. Thankfully, though, at this point in my African adventure, I had become quite adept at communicating without using words. My instructor understood what I was trying to communicate (possibly because I was so good at “communicating” this, possibly because this happens every time the instructor does this with a new student), but instead of turning around and letting me abort right there, he just stopped and waited for me to calm down and “equalize” at that level before dropping another dreaded meter.  

We finally reached the sandy bottom. And that’s where I finally learned my actual least favorite part of scuba diving: buoyancy. We had to figure out how exactly to use our “breathing” to stay buoyant in the water. This was confusing to me because it was drilled into our minds that the number one rule in scuba diving is to never hold your breath but then it seemed that we were supposed to hold our breath to “fill our lungs” to ascend a bit. As a last resort, we were allowed to put some air in our BCD [buoyancy control device], but put too much in and you would shoot to the top, accidentally but definitely actually putting your ears through the gauntlet of “equalizing” again.

No. I did not like scuba diving.


-          Sitting on the beach and paying the boy trying to sell bracelets to go up and buy us beers from the market (we were never going to buy those bracelets). Then he offered to open the beer with his teeth and we screamed at him to stop. Didn’t want to be responsible for any broken teeth. Of course then, when he walked away, we realized that we didn’t have a way to open the beer, and going up to the market to get a bottle opener would’ve defeated the process.
-          Going to a nearby hotel to watch the Netherlands-Spain game but being without internet and too embarrassed to ask anybody so we didn’t know the significance of the game or which team was which until there was a goal.

[The local CVS just told me it will take at least1.5 weeks to develop my disposable cameras. Apparently if I go to a different CVS, it can be done in 1 hour. But I'm just not sure I'll get to the other CVS within 1.5 weeks...]

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