The Wondrous World of Scuba Diving
Sinking into the warm crystalline blue depths of the sea, I pull myself deeper. Hand over hand, I pull myself deeper, following the rope down. Everywhere I look, a vast expanse of blue and green. Shafts of sunlight pierce the cool blue from the surface above. Thunk! I get kicked in the head, by the diver following the line down from above me. Ignore him, keep going I think to myself. Thunk! I get kicked again… “It’s ok, I can breathe, I have oxygen” I think to myself. Focus on what you’re doing, not the idiot above you. Hand over hand, I continue to pull myself down. The pressure builds in my ears. Thunk! Again! He kicks me in the head. I can’t go faster because the person below me is going slow and having trouble. I begin to get a feeling of claustrophobia.
I’m descending down into these deep waters for the first time. With only a brief half an hour to an hour of training in my Cancun resort pool during my first solo travel adventure. Am I prepared for this I think? Is this safe? If only this idiot above me would watch where he’s kicking and stop hitting me, I could focus on what I am doing. It wouldn’t feel so bad if I wasn’t being kicked in the head. Water begins seeping into my mask. I Press it close to my face and use the oxygen to blow air bubbles out and clear the mask. “It’s ok” I tell myself, “I can breathe. I have oxygen”. Finally the man below me reaches the bottom and moves away from the rope. I pull myself to the bottom. Setting my feet upon the ocean bed I move away, and link arms with my fellow divers at the bottom, glad to be free of the kicking flippers of the person coming down after me.
I look up, finally able to not concentrate purely on the rope which I followed to the ocean floor. My feelings of claustrophobia and fear fade away. I drink in the sights before me. An entire new world to explore unfolds before my eyes. A hundred different shades and hues of blue and green. Swaying strings of seaweed moving with the currents and stretching towards the light above. I follow them upwards as I glance above me. Gone is the fear of being so far from the ocean surface, and in its place a new found fascination settles in.
Water begins to seep in to my mask once again. I use the compressed oxygen to clear it. I’m still sucking in air and breathing too fast. Though, now it’s less from fear and more from a sense of serenity and wonder. I work to slow my breathing. Our guides come by, and signal to each of us to see if we are ok. After going through the line we set off into this fascinating underwater world. The group breaks apart into two, one following two guides in one direction around the reef and one following a different pair in the opposite direction.
The colors are breathtaking, the feeling of weightlessness freeing. So many more colors than you would see in environments on land. The hues of the clear ocean water encase the reds, yellows, oranges, and brown of the coral reef. Within the reef and around us swim a hundred species of brightly colored fish. Some swim individually frolicking among the nooks and crannies of the reef. Some swarm in giant schools of their nearly identical compatriots. Swimming close to us, then fleeing away with the wave of an arm. Truly a spellbinding experiences.
Looking at my oxygen meter I noted I was running a bit low on oxygen. I got the attention of our guide and made the appropriate signal. She signaled her understanding. We continued on for a while longer before one of the other guides came by and signaled for me and a couple others to follow him. We followed him back the way we had come and up towards the surface. Breaking the surface, I was disappointed to be leaving that underwater world of wonder behind. Then and there I resolved that it would be far from the last time I would visit. It was my second step into this lifestyle of adventure and travel which I now live.Our guide flips on her back and makes a signal to the group with her hands and points forward to our right. Looking in the indicated direction, at first I don’t see what she is pointing towards…. Then I see it. Lazily floating, or perhaps flying would be better word, is a giant sea turtle. Magnificent in it’s size and purity, it swims a mere 20 feet overhead as it slowly passes us by. I was captivated.