August 15th, 2012

monkey pirate

Open Water Diver

Last week, pyr8queen and I sailed over to Catalina with her parents, on Pilot, their schooner. I'd been flailing for what to do on my 41st birthday - I didn't really want a repeat of last year. She came up with the idea of getting scuba certified, which fit the bill exactly, so we signed up and went.

We started the morning we arrived by reviewing the e-learning program we'd taken with our instructor, a retired AD who lived on his boat and taught diving for beer money. Then we got fitted out for kit, and got in the water right off the beach. Just that first dive was amazing - only a few feet from a place I'd walked or swam by many times before, but suddenly I'm seeing creatures and colors I had no idea were there.

Rather than doing confined water dives in a pool, we did them all in the ocean, generally off the beach at Two Harbors. Emerald Bay or Cherry Cove. This was much better than a pool; it was more difficult so we learned sharper skills, but also meant once we'd demonstrated some basic skills, we could use the rest of our tank to swim around and look at stuff. (Which is even better than walking around and looking at stuff.) So rather than just four open water dives, in effect we got nine. Our actual open water dives were off of a dinghy, or "dinghy adventure diving" as Nick called it. We dove Indian Rock, Sea Fan Cove, Cherry Cove, The "Inside Pocket" and Sphinx Rock for our open water dives, each of which was fascinating.

There's a whole 'nother world you've never seen, just a few feet away. Strap on a tank and explore, it will absolutely change the way you see the world. Anyway, at the end of the long weekend, we were officially PADI certified as Open Water Divers, as well as getting an additional cert for boat diving. It was a great trip, and even though I'm sun-burned and salt-soaked as all heck even a few days later, it's hard to adjust to marinating in a cubicle, instead of the Pacific.

At least 41 is a prime number again.
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