Friday, April 20, 2007

The Deep Blue

Finally! The scuba post! I know your excited, well maybe not but here it is. First off, these are pics me and my husband took in and around Maui and the Cayman Islands. The pic of the house is just a standard caymanian house. I loved some of the houses there. That's my hubby on the underwater scooter. We loved to take them out in maui as the guy he worked for there would let us take them out whenever and it was fun. That is a pic of me with a stingray, tell ya more about it later. And that is me at Disneyworld when we were moving from Cayman to Washington and wanted a vacation. My wt wasn't at my lowest but I was happy. I had a killer tan and my hair got bleached from the sun. I just need another 6 months in scuba and I would have had a killer body. It helped that we worked outdoors in an active profession and that we didn't have a car on the island, just bikes! Sometimes, I wish I could go back to that time. Ahhhhh, this post is bringing up a lot of memories.

I started scuba on a dare from my hubby. He wanted to try it for a long time, so in '93 we took the open water course in Washington. That was the tip of the iceberg for me, I mean, I didn't realize that I would fall in love with scuba and the underwater world. I always had been a good swimmer but I was nervous to take the course. It went well and only felt a little apprehension the first time in the pool with the regulator (and breathing from a tank for the first time). It is weird at first cause we are so used to breathing from our mouth and nose and when you dive you must learn to breath from the mouth only. Anyway, this love of diving set us on a course to move to Maui. Then we came back to WA and over the next year got all the required dives to be able to go to school to be dive instructors. I was working at a high rise in Seattle for Safeco and when I told them I was going to Florida to go to diving school and then move to Maui, they thought I was crazy to say the least. I mean, what is it, 1% of people that just up and move to the islands. Hey, we were young and no kids yet and weren't thinking of the future just of fun.

What is diving really like, you may wonder? What I loved about it was that it was quiet and peaceful. The chance to get away from everything in the world and just observe sea life. It's almost meditative in a way. There's nothing like getting up close to sea life and then looking up and seeing the boat far away. Or when you go down to about 50 ft and the bottom is there but you swim out further in the deep blue to the edge of the wall and the bottom drops off into the abyss! Ahhhhh, nothing like it! It is like being in a new undiscovered country and I was the first one there. I highly recommend trying it if you haven't!

Anyway, after we lived and taught diving in Maui I had a hankering to go to the Caribbean. Specifically, the Cayman Islands. My cousin had been there and said how awesome it was and of the wonderful diving so it was itch that I needed to scratch. I went to the island in the summer of '96 to check out cayman and see if it was a place we would live. My hubby was still working summers in Alaska fishing for salmon as my Dad got him into it and the money was pretty good. I told him Cayman was awesome! I already met some friends and the booze was a flowing and there were jobs to be had in scuba. The only drawback was that it was real pricey to live there. We moved at the end of summer and began our year in Cayman. There were awesome beaches, nice people from all around the world, a lot of British, Scottish, Canadian, you name it. We each got dive jobs as separate places after cutting through some red tape! They make you go through so many medical tests and hoops to get your work permit but we prepared ahead of time. I found I loved to lead divers underwater. I taught some but not a lot aside from newbies doing the resort course where I teach them a few skills and away we go on the boat to try scuba. It could be trying at times. I mean, I had to practically save someone a few times a week that was freaking out under water. That's the part of the job I didn't care for but of course it's required. What I did love was when someone really got excited about the dive and was hooked. I loved to get more diving converts! The real days I lived for were my free days to just dive on my hubby's boat where I could dive at will and with no rules and no responsibilities but to have fun.

One of my best days diving was actually a time when I was teaching a guy to dive and I got back on the boat and the captain practically gunned the boat before we even had a chance to get the tanks off our back! This was highly unusual as we take our time to move to the next dive spot. He heard on the radio that a whale shark was in the area. He had to go see for himself as this was a rare occurence in these waters. We got to the whale shark and about 4 boats were already there. He was at the surface so I donned my snorkel gear and swam beside him. He was a huge creature, maybe 50 ft in length and was just swimming slowly eating plankton. I didn't get a picture or else I would have posted it. But, there was some video shot by one of the guys on our boat. God, I wish I had it! There is nothing like getting up close to a wild, huge whale. It is something I will never forget!

This post is turning into a book so I will write another day with my story from the pic first encounter with stingrays! Aaaaiiiii! I now have a serious inclination to hop a plane to the caribbean and dive. Somedays, I miss it so much it hurts, it's hard to explain but I have given up something I love.....only for a while, I will get back to diving. I mean, I did go diving a few years ago in Maui again but not since. We do have some good diving here in Washington and up north in British Columbia but it is cold water diving and I hate the thick wet suit and the cold. My hubby has lost his drive or his love to dive, especially in cold water as we don't have dry suits. But, I will dive sometime soon as I need to just find a dive buddy. And, I would like more wt off. Here's a good incentive to get some's so much easier when you are thinner. Hope everyone has a good weekend, we finally got a litte sunshine!


Chris H said...

WOW, you look so cute! Diving with stingrays... hmmmmm.... still want to after what happened to Steve Irwin in Australia? That was sad. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Spider63 said...

Great story! We all have some wonderful tales of life, and I enjoy reading them a lot. The photos are great, and you are/were a real HOTTIE!!

Terri said...

Wow very nice pictures. You have more guts then I do. I can't see myself diving down deep below. It is a pretty world though.

celtic_girl said...

WOW, I really enjoyed that, the pictures look amazing, you look amazing. I'm a bit of a claustrophobic, so I have never tried to scuba, I have snorkelled on the Barrier Reef which was so beautiful and quite as well, so I can well imagine what it sould be like to scuba.

I also hear the Jaws theme as well DER.DER....DER,DER.... LOL!!