My First Time -- Still In Awe

When I first decided to try scuba diving I was skeptical, but I was on a cruise, and in Jamaica, the water looked beautiful. Diving was an afterthought.

My girlfriend wanted to dive really bad, but I was content to snorkel. She begged me to try diving. The guide gave us a tank, strapped to a backpack, told us to walk in and breathe through the regulator. I think I remember something about "holding your nose and blowing" (now I know that's to equalize your ears), but basically, we were on our own. The "teacher" (and I use the term loosely), didn't even dive with us.

Well, I went down for about 15 minutes, scared to death, breathing that air out of the tank like there was no tomorrow.  My girlfriend was having a great time. In fact, she forgot about me, and was lost to the ocean and its wonders. I, personally, wondered why anyone would want to do this sport! What if the regulator quit? What if I couldn't get to the surface before my air ran out? What if I got into some fire coral? Forget it!

That was my first experience. And in spite of it, I was talked into taking a scuba course by that same girlfriend. I couldn't keep up with the other students and almost dropped out. I had problems clearing my mask, establishing buoyancy control, and simply swimming in those old heavy Scubapro jet fins!

We went for our open water certification dives in Honduras. We had to do a backward roll entry off a 65 ft. boat (that was about 6 feet down to the water), then drop down to 50 ft. The water was clear, so I didn't know it was 50 ft. until I looked at my depth gauge. At that point I started hyperventilating, and my dive was almost over before I completed my skills!

However, getting back to the first dive, although I was terrified, I was in awe of the fish swimming around me. A big-eyed jack swam close enough to touch. I saw a barracuda, and remembered all the scary stories. My heart started to race! "Please don't bite me!" I prayed. (Later, I found out that barracuda aren't really dangerous at all--although I don't think I will ever feed one!)

I saw a green moray eel, whose head was bigger than my thigh. He looked menacing, but I later learned that he is not really trying to bite you, he's just breathing. I saw an octopus--just a little one--and was fascinated to learn that he changed colors and squirted ink. In every coral head there was another surprise! Hawkfish, blennys, juvenile angelfish and damselfish, tiny arrow crabs, brittle stars--don't forget to look close!

Other smal fishes and crabs that I didn't know the names for. Sea cucumbers that moved so slowly I thought they weren't really an animal at all. Sea stars, some species at a slow crawl, and others rapidly getting out of the light to hide under a rock. Even the sand held wonders. I saw rays, guitar fish, sand eels, and a crazy fish they call the razorback, who, when threatened, can dive into the sand and swim through it!

Some things you'd pass by unless they were pointed out. I was fascinated when my instructor showed me these marvelous little worms called "Christmas Trees," and "Feather Dusters." They come in all colors, and when you get close to them, they retract their plumage and disappear into their hard shell. When the "threat" is over, they come out again--to feed on the organisms in the water.

That first time underwater, being in awe of all the amazing things, got me to take a real scuba course. I'm still in awe of the ocean and its wonders. Best of luck to all you new divers!
bringingsexyback bringingsexyback
31-35, M
Jul 29, 2010