Thursday, August 14, 2014

Shore Dives

Write about a time you tried something new

All week long I've been trying something new, and I think, I think, I got it right yesterday.

Alan and I are in Bonaire this week. Bonaire is an island off the coast of South America that is known for it's beautiful scuba diving opportunities. Reefs filled with coral and anemones and all kinds of ocean flora, and an abundance of sea life. I have floated through schools of fish that look as if it's raining fish!

The big difference on this trip is all that all of our dives have been shore dives instead of boat dives. On a boat dive the crew takes you out into the ocean, helps you into yours gear (which they've loaded onto the boat), and then they help you "Jacques Cousteau" off the side of the boat (basically fall into the water backwards). After you're done with the dive, the dive master sends up a flag or buoy and the boat comes and picks you up. The crew helps you out of yours gear and stores in on the boat. Then they pass out snacks and water while you go to your next dive site.

Shore dives, on the other hand, are all on your own. Alan is a dive master (80+ dives), so he's got us covered on all the important knowledge, which is great since I'm still a novice open water diver (26 dives). But we have to do all the prep and finish work. So we load up the truck with all the gear -- tanks, BCDs (dive vests/flotation devices), scuba suits, weight belts,  booties, fins, masks and snorkels, regulators, rash guards, and our own snacks. We drive to a designated dive site, park, and suit up. Then we walk across the beach and into the surf where we put on our fins, do a safety check, and submerge for the dive. It's Alan's job to navigate and keep up with depth and air consumption (although I have a dive watch and air gauge that I watch closely). After the dive is completed, he has to make sure we get back to the location we parked. There are no roadsigns in the ocean -- it's all done with a compass and visual markers. Let me tell you, it all looks pretty much the same to me down there!

The diving has been great. I've been reminded out much I love being in the underwater world. But entrances and exits have been a real challenge. I float like a cork. And dealing with the waves crashing around me as I walk in carrying roughly 60 lbs. of additional weight has been crazy hard. I've been slammed into rocks, fallen down, let the waves wash me up onto the beach. Whatever it took to get back in.

Yesterday Alan taught me a new technique for getting in and out of the ocean. We crab walked in, facing each other while holding hands. Then I put my snorkel in and laid flat in the water and let him put my fins on me. Much better! For me anyway. Actually it was easier on him too. Better than watching me flail around in borderline panic mode. The exit went just as smoothly. I even made it all the way back to the truck in all my gear instead of shedding it in bits and pieces once I hit land.

We're going out this morning for our last 2 dives for this trip and I'm actually pretty excited to try out my technique again. Kudos to Alan for being a real "dive buddy" on this trip! He's worked hard to help me get more comfortable, and it's really paying off.

Try something new, even if it seems scary and hard. The payoff is awesome!

linking up with Writer's Edge


  1. 26 dives!! That is super impressive to someone like me who finally agreed to stand in the ocean (never underwater) during our vacation to Hawaii this year. Normally I just watch from the beach. The water scares me, so the idea of diving repeatedly and by CHOICE is crazy impressive. You must be out of your damn mind. ;)

  2. I agree--26 dives is impressive! You are very brave to try something new and scary like that. And in a foreign country, too!

  3. Very cool. I am not a huge fan of being IN the water, never mind UNDER it so I'm pretty amazed at people who go. You are right - new things often seem scary and hard, but maybe that makes them worth it!

  4. Oh this made me miss diving SO MUCH!! My husband and I did some diving in Okinawa. So fun, and beautiful.


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