Okay. I was ridiculous. It took me a full month to get my first post completed. I have a propensity toward desiring perfection. Whether or not I can eventually achieve it is another story. Can you tell I'm reading The Three Musketeers? I can hear myself trying to sound like Dumas. Vain attempt!
Now that's done, let's move on to the matter at hand. Oh, it's creeping in again! Anyway, we have just returned from our cruise of the French Polynesian islands, namely Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, and Moorea. It was wonderful fun, with great company, good food (too much!) and spectacular scenery. I have never seen water so crystal clear and such a vibrant shade of turquoise. My very favorite activity was the snorkeling. You could see probably a hundred feet in every direction, and the fish were exotic and countless. I loved the peaceful quiet of the underwater, the gliding propulsion of the fins, the silver bubbles silently finding their way to the surface. This was the highlight of the trip.
And now I must confess, there was another anticipated highlight, the outcome of which I did not foresee. Scuba diving. For years I have maintained that I would never scuba dive due to a fear of bursting lungs or dying from 'the bends' (minor issues). But lately, with the newfound freedom of an empty nest and relative youth (no laughing, kids) I have felt more inclined to attempt things I had not considered before (sans skydiving!). So with a good measure of trepidation but a better measure of excitement I signed up for the introductory scuba excursion offered by the cruise.
I and seven or eight other passengers, including my husband, loaded onto a small boat which took us out to the edge of a coral reef. After a not-more-than-5-minute explanation in a heavy French accent -- "You must breeze. Neever hold your brez. Thees weel make you float. Thees weel make you seenk. Thees means okay, thees means not okay" -- we were given our equipment and and shown how to fall over backwards off the edge of the boat with the weight of our tank pulling us into the water. I wasn't sure I could do this, but if I had realized how relatively simple this would be compared to...well, you'll see.
After plunging into the water, our guide took my hand and helped me, at a speed with which I was NOT comfortable, down to the bottom of the ocean. Granted, I was only under maybe 10 feet of water, but that didn't seem to matter to me at the time. I felt an uncontrollable need to rush to the surface, but the image of bursting lungs kept me at the bottom, yet not without flailing arms and unintelligible signs to get me to the top. The guide thought, erroneously, that I would do better if he handed me off to John. Big mistake. As soon as I saw a face I felt would sympathize with my plight, I demanded an escort to the surface. Eventually the dense men decoded my hand signals and got me above water, where I was promptly put on a time-out at the back of the boat and given an adequate period for reflection and, apparently, repentance.
Actually, I was now happy, thinking I could at this point try this at my OWN pace, not rocketing to the bottom in a frenzied attempt to beat his companions... okay, maybe that was not his M.O., but at any rate, taking my time appealed to me. But, alas, this was not to be (Dumas again)! I was instructed to stay at the end of the boat until he could accompany me underwater. Once he has settled his current scuba-ing couple safely underwater, he came over to help me once more, this time with a little more patience, emphasis on "little."
Well, let's make a long story a little less long, shall we? I must admit the impetus for my second attempt at this sport was the bravery of my friend Rachelle. Although she had earlier confessed to sharing the same fears with me, she seemed now to have forgotten the risk of such behavior. Thus, I eventually succeeded with keeping myself under the water, and actually letting go of John's hand at some point. I enjoyed the scenery, if in a very limited fashion. (John's description of me and my sightseeing is not very generous.) And miracle of all miracles, every time I took a breath there was air! Amidst prayers and self-persuasion, I lasted till we were called to come in. I had done it! I had stayed in the water and not given in to my fear. Victory!
I WILL be getting a scuba diving certification in the very near future, and hopefully the length of the course will better fit my comfort level. Then watch out, Bahamas. No stretch of crystal clear teal blue water will be safe from my scuba-diving exploits! (As long as it's no deeper than 20, maybe 30 feet deep...)