I fell in love with diving long before I ever took my first dive. The experiences of my brother and brother-in-law, as they got PADI certified and then told tales of their adventures opened my eyes to this whole new world, just waiting to be discovered. They had been diving for a few years before I took my first dive, but I knew immediately that they were right. It really was that great.
My first experience was in Jamaica. It was the week after a hurricane had gone through, and the seas were still pretty rough, making the visibility pretty limited. It didn’t matter. Willy and I went together, and were amazed at the sea life, coral, and assorted wrecks that we saw. We had the opportunity to see a part of the world like relatively few do, and I loved it. Many people worry that being underwater for so long may seem to be closed in or induce feelings of claustrophobia, but I found the opposite to be true. There was the wide expanse in front of you, and virtually no one else there.
Willy went on to get certified that trip, as I was still in school, and studying for some upcoming exams. My certification took me another two years, and another Caribbean trip where I was only able to do really limited dives (aka “resort certification”). I haven’t really looked back since that snowy* October weekend when two friends and I got our “open water” diver. Since that time I have over 60 dives logged, with over 2000 minutes of bottom time.
Before we had the lils, I had a pretty regular routine that included some local dives in the summer with my brother-in-law and our friend Carpet; touring the wrecks of the St. Lawrence, exploring a local quarry, or shore dives at the cottage. We also managed the occasional trip down south, where Willy and I would dive for a couple of days and read in shade for a couple of days. This has drastically tailed off since the lils arrived. Last week was a family vacation, but it was also very much an opportunity for me to dive. Willy was kind enough to watch over the lils, and I got in five dives. It was bliss, and I have a renewed interest in diving as a result.
One of the things that I noted, as I always do, is that divers are among the kindest people that you will ever meet. They are the people that will chat to you like old friends at a resort where you know no one, who will keep you company on the boat, and who will re-live the cool things that you saw over and over and over. They are also the people that you trust your life with when you are at depth, your buddies. Sadly, Willy is no longer able to be my dive buddy. He had some surgery on his ear after Goose was born that has enabled him to hear out of it again, but means that he won’t dive again. I have been encouraging both Woo and Goose, and they are quite keen, but a few years away. Until then I will have to see if my brother in law is game, and keep meeting the awesome folks on the dive boat.
*OK, only a couple of flakes fell, but it was damn cold in the St. Lawrence that day*