So why then did I think learning to SCUBA dive (that’s Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus for those of you who have yet to take the 16-hour SCUBA School, ha!) was a good idea? Blame it on the Maldives. I never had any desire to be more than toe-deep in any body of open water until the Maldives cast its spell over me, told me I was pretty, and courted me harder than even Colin Firth ever succeeded in doing in a single 90 minutes of a romantic comedy. Weeks later, I went to the Dominican Republic on assignment and again went diving–with a much more disappointing result: overfished water, no marine life. And still, I was hooked.
When I got the opportunity to go on a worktrip to the Bahamas to finally get my full certification and not have to take that uber-boring pool skills class one more time before doing a Discover SCUBA day, my immediate reaction was a “HELLS YES!” (shouted in all caps, of course). And I even roped in a good pal (trust me, talking her into jetsetting to a beautiful, serene, remote spot in the Bahamas on the work clock was like asking her to cut out and lend me her spare kidney, let me tell you), so I had a reliable underwater buddy who could handle being responsible for my life at 100 feet below the ocean surface. And thus, SCUBA School commenced.
As she’ll tell you, there were highs (underwater tea parties; passing our written exams with nearly flying colors; doing the sprinkler and lawnmower at 10 feet below sea level, which we will hopefully re-enact in the Atlantic Ocean for you all if my underwater digital case does its job), lows (“summer” San Fran conditions, meaning a chilly pool; the repetitive surrendering of our weight; having to remove our wetsuits, BCs, tanks, booties, flips, et al every half an hour when we inevitably had to pee), and all in between (having a cool police officer dive instructor who seemed to love us one minute, loathe us the next). Then of course there were the tens of emails we sent back and forth beforehand pondering issues of extreme importance: was it really pertinent we do all the homework (um, YES), would they all think we were freaks if we turned up in bikinis (not to our knowledge), was this even a good idea in the first place (yet to be decided)?
But we passed the “easy part” (freezing our asses off in a suffocatingly-small swimming pool) and now just have to complete our check-out dives somewhere in Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos, where we’re likely sitting at this very moment drinking pink drinks with matching umbrella stirrers–ha, fooled ya! (I just love that I can set up my drafts to post in advance!) And here you thought I was sitting behind a computer somewhere in the greater Bay Area. Hopefully, we’ll both return with killer tans, a universal referral form allowing us to partake in recreational dives anywhere in the world (at the maximum of 100 feet, of course, because we follow the rules like that), and sans decompression sickness…but only time will tell (call this here post a cliffhanger if you please).
***P.S. I really want to thank you all for your incredibly kind comments about my grandmother, as well as your encouraging words after my marathon. You all rock! I’m constantly in awe of how caring the Internet is, and if I didn’t have a chance to respond to you individually (I don’t have e-mail addys for a lot of you, unfortunately), please know that I was touched by each and every word!