“Yes, yes, yes!” I screamed. I had finally managed to get my weight belt off and on in the water. In case you were wondering, sliding a heavy weight belt on under an even heavier tank is harder than it sounds. There isn’t a lot of room down there. Getting it back on successfully was the last thing I had to do to get my scuba certification. This semester, I have been taking a scuba class and this weekend was our first weekend practicing in the open water.
The first day was challenging for me. My mask was way too tight. When I exhaled the bubbles actually went out the bottom instead of the top. Things were pretty blurry for a while. At one point I was practicing taking my regulator out of my mouth and putting it back in when my mask flooded. For a few seconds down there, I was fumbling around accidentally sucking in water instead of air. Luckily my instructor found my regulator and got it back in my mouth. Fun fact: If you lose your air supply twenty feet underwater, your only thought is getting it back. It really puts things in perspective. That anxiety you had about being the third wheel on a buddy team—suddenly not important.
I had to go back to shore after that. You can’t dive if you can’t see. So I was a little nervous going into today’s lesson. Barring an unfortunate incident with my vest strap everything went smoothly. Diving is relaxing. You have to breathe slowly and deeply in order to use your oxygen supply efficiently, which automatically reduces tension. Normally I chose to relax by either drinking a cup of tea or hitting a punching bag (seems paradoxical I know). But it turns out that floating weightlessly under thirty feet of water works too. You just drift there and keep your eyes open for cool aquatic life. I saw a sea cucumber, some coral, and lots of translucent little fish that looked like crawdads.
I recommend you try diving sometime. Through diving, I learned that if there’s a hole or crevice with a lot of crab parts scattered around it an octopus probably lives there (octopi eat crabs). That bubbles under water look silvery and metallic. And that if you can’t see, for God sakes, don’t take your regulator out of your mouth.