Saturday, March 01, 2008


please don't let this dissuade you...

but scuba diving was AWFUL.

(okay. I'm on the Tarpon Springs' library computer, and I only got 11 min and 15 sec to tell my tale. excuse the typos.)

So, I was super nervous. I've had a cold all week, and I'm always stressed about equalizing, and even more so when I'm hacking up crap every couple of minutes. But, per Cam's advice, I loaded up on medicine, and I was barely coughing as I headed out to the sea with my new dive buddies. The buddies? Totally surly. Two guys, around my age. Didn't talk much, looked like pros. One girl, around my age, didn't talk much, looked like almost a beginner. One older guy, Bruce, who I cozied up with and asked him to zip up my wet suit (the zipper was in the back). He seemed happy to do it.

Anyhow, it was all looking good until we reached the end of our journey out. The boat was rocking back and forth, my wetsuit seemed to be suffocating me, all I could smell was neoprene and gasoline. As the two crew guys tried to set the anchor (and as I resisted screaming HOW FREAKING HARD CAN IT BE?!?), I pulled at my suit, swayed back and forth, and the mom of the other girl offered me dramamine. Thank God. I chewed it up and swallowed, then took a swig of water.

Unfortuately, obviously, it didn't kick in immediately. The anchor was finally set, and the divemaster could tell I was having problems. I looked back, and saw one of the hardcore guys my age tossing his breakfast over the side. I looked forward, ineffectively clawed at my gear, and stumbled to the side of the boat, dry-heaving. Nothing came up, but I felt awful.

The two crew-members basically grabbed me, put me in my gear, checked my air supply, and I fell back into the water, where I was expecting relief. But, big surprise, I felt the waves EVEN more when I was in them. I put my snorkel in, then my regulator, and noticed from the sound of my breathing that I was actually, truly hyperventilating. My dive buddy (the girl) was probably like "wow. what a loser." The guys on the boat told me to grab the line and pull myself to the front of the boat, where we would use the anchor line to guide our descent. I eventually got to the front of the boat, with my leg wrapped around the line, hyperventilating, and my girl asked me if I was okay. I gasped, honestly, "No. I need to get a grip."

Eventually I got a grip, helped by the truth that it would be less rocky under the waves. I descended, and equalizing was a piece of cake! I was shocked and pleasantly surprised.

(only 3 min and 30 sec left! it's like a typing test.)

So we paddled around underwater. My goggles were fogged, but I was still too freaked out to fill them with water to clear them. My breathing slowed. I still couldn't look down, because I was afraid of barfing into my regulator. Eventually I sorta cleared my goggles. While my buddy was looking at the army tanks, I was watching her like a halk, not wanting to lose her. Keeping her bright yellow tank in sight was my salvation.

Dive over, we ascended. The waves came. I gradually, painfully, heartbreakingly pathetically made my way to the boat. My goggles were fogged. I was blind. I was a moron. Eventually I got my fins off and got into the boat.

I ditched the next dive, choosing to instead stare at the horizon and say Hail Mary's.

57 seconds. I think I'm made for quarries. Lakes. Ponds. Pools. But don't let this stop anyone from diving. It was just a rough time for me.


awww, man. Sorry it sucked :(
:( I'm sorry that your first time didn't work out to be super... some day we'll have to go dive together and see if we can't have a better time. It sounds like the weather wasn't the best either.
Thanks, TC! Other than the seasickness, it went better than I expected...but I love sympathy :-)

Cam: definitely! Well, the captain said that the weather was "pretty fair" when one of the surly guys asked him. But I can imagine that warm weather and not wearing a 7 mm could improve things substantially. And in my experience, the first time for most things is always the roughest/worst...!
oh, and, um I meant to say "hawk"
Where did you go diving? Anywhere around here it must have been freezing.
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