Archives for posts with tag: scuba

You know, after the previous dive didn’t go so well, I was a LITTLE apprehensive about diving in a tank full of SHARKS, but as I already said, they wouldn’t let people do it if they died. That was my mantra leading up to the dive. They wouldn’t let people do it if they died. I even said that to the guy who took us on the dive; “I’m a little nervous, but I figure they wouldn’t let people do it if they died.”

Eagle Ray

And imagine that! We didn’t die! Despite being a NOT THAT LARGE tank of water with five sharks and untold numbers of other predatory fish. Who KNOWS what would have tried to eat us! But there are also eagle rays swimming around, PREGNANT ONES!, and turtles and fish that look like grumpy old men, and sharks teeth in the gravel we could seek & find and take home (we got THREE teeth, none of which I found).

Shark RIGHT THERE

But there were also GIANT! FUCKING! SHARKS! RIGHT THERE! IN THE TANK! WITH US! SWIMMING RIGHT OVER MY HEAD! *RIGHT THERE*! There were several times I was swimming merrily along, minding my own business, checking out the rays or looking for sharks teeth, and I happened to glance up and THERE WAS A SHARK! RIGHT THERE! RIGHT OVER MY HEAD! I could have touched the damn thing had I stretched my little phalanges out, but I wouldn’t, because the guy warned us that a shark might mistake stretched out phalanges for food. I like all my fingers, thankyouverymuch.

Turtle

The dive was SO COOL though. It was amazing to be so close to all those animals; a couple of times I thought a little male ray was gonna run into me. And I got to pet turtles! It was amazing! But you know what the best part was? Looking at all the kiddos through the glass of the tank. I really wish Feller had gotten some pictures of the people looking in at us, because seriously? My favorite part. I can remember what that kind of experience would have been like for me as a kid, so I can sort of imagine what the kids I waved at were thinking as they watched us in full scuba gear swimming with crazy huge fish.

After the dive, we wandered around the aquarium together, and checked out, well, everything, but ESPECIALLY the baby mantas that had been born the week before. They were SO CUTE, and they obviously knew that people in front of their separate tank (so they wouldn’t get eaten) meant FOOD. They swam right over to us and stuck their little lips out of the water looking for a treat of some sort. If there hadn’t been a sign right in front of me (in RED) that said NO TOUCHING, I would have pet those cute little suckers.

Diving Together

It was an amazing day, and definitely one I look forward to revisiting next time we’re in Cape Town.

When we were planning our Epic Vacation, Feller was all, “LOTS OF DIVING WHOOO!” And I was all, “NOT THAT MUCH MONEY HOORAY”, and so we decided to spend just one or two days diving, including a dive at the Two Oceans Aquarium, about which I was a little apprehensive, but I figured they wouldn’t let people do it if they DIED. In hindsight, it’s interesting that I was worried about diving in the aquarium but TOTALLY chilled out about diving in the ocean. The cold, murky ocean, not the warm, crystal clear ocean of Hawaii.

Feller sets up our dives with a shop that’s been recommended to us, and he’s all, “TOMORROW, WE DIVE.” So there wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the things I might need for this boat dive, namely Dramamine and ginger. This bitch gets seasick like whoa.

So we wake up the next day, and Mum makes us a delicious, filling breakfast, which was awesome, and we head to the shop to get geared up. Now, I don’t know how many of y’all have ever worn a wetsuit, but that shit is HARD to get into, which is sort of the point, I know, but they just don’t have enough give in them for my kickin’ curves, so not only do I have to tell strangers how much I weigh, I then have to say “Actually, yeah, this wetsuit doesn’t fit. I need a bigger one.” Which isn’t embarrassing AT ALL. To make matters even worse this time around, the water in Cape Town is cold, which means, thick ass wetsuits, or in our case, two wetsuits each, and hoods.

Now, I have a Thing about shit around my neck. I don’t like it. Most t-shirts really bother me, and I end up spending the entire day tugging the collar away from my neck. Unfortunately, wet suit hoods are DESIGNED to snuggle up on your neck and keep too much cold water from getting in your suit. I actually discovered during the pool portion of my scuba class how much that bothered me, and I was able to rent a larger sized hood for our ocean dives. This time, however, the hoods were built in.

So we get all geared up and head out to the teeny, tiny, inflatable boat. And I was fine, if a bit uncomfortable, until the guy slowed the boat down and started circling our dive spot and got us all set up. That’s when the nausea kicked in. Then it was time to put the hood up. So I’m nauseous, I’ve got Shit Around My Neck, two wetsuits on, and about 10 kilos of weight so I fucking sink when I get in the water, and then the guy tells us we’re flipping over backwards to get into the water, which…is not something I’ve ever done. It wasn’t even TALKED ABOUT in my certification class! Once we’re in the water, I’m still PRETTY uncomfortable, but now I’m also disoriented, and I discover I’ve forgotten something Very Important.

In Hawaii, the boat dives were full service. They put our gear together, they helped us into our shit, they made it as easy as fucking possible for us. In Cape Town, they practically just threw us in the ocean, without a reminder to inflate our BCD’s, which ensure that we don’t sink until we want to, and having not dived in several months, I TOTALLY blanked on this fairly crucial step. AND THEN the button that inflates the vest is RED. I don’t know what red means, where y’all come from, but here in AMERICA, red means STOP! CAUTION! GO NO FURTHER!, so it didn’t even OCCUR to me to try pushing the red button. So now I’m sinking on top of everything else. And panicking. And basically acting like this is the first time I’ve ever done this, and causing Feller to lose HIS shit because I’M NOT OKAY.

The boat guy hauls me out of the water, I throw up the lovely breakfast I’d eaten, we tow Feller back to the dive location, since the water’s super choppy and we’ve drifted quite a bit, and then he’s all, “Actually….NO.” So we’re both sitting there pathetically while everyone else is having a nice dive, and Feller looks at me and says, “Um, how about we don’t tell anyone about this, okay?”

Don’t worry, baby, it’s our little secret.

My motivation has been lacking recently, in many different areas of my life, which is why I still have a couple of Hawaii posts planned a month after we got home, though I will admit, writing about the vacation, helps keep it present in my mind, like something that actually happened and not the dream it feels like most days.

One Sunday morning, my feller and I were up early for some diving in Maui, and we passed a church already holding services, and I felt a pang that I wouldn’t be in church that day. And I decided to spend some time in worship while under the water. Appropriately enough, that was the first day we dove off Lana’i, and we got to visit the First Cathedral.

First Cathedral

On the boat ride to the island, a huge pod of dolphins swam alongside us. We stopped the boat and enjoyed them for maybe half an hour. It was amazing. There were so many dolphins surfacing and swimming, completely surrounding the boat, and there were many adorable little babies. One little guy kept FLINGING himself out of the water and flipping around in sheer joy for being alive. It was amazing, and I wish I could show you all how awesomely cool it was, but the dolphins were too fast; we got no pictures. It was one of those times when you look at the world around you and marvel at God’s creation, and I wanted to be jumping for joy with that baby dolphin.

The Cathedral was magical, and looking at the pictures of it now, it reminds me of Aerial’s grotto in the Little Mermaid. It was beautiful and totally worth the boat ride out to Lana’i. The next day, we were back out there for the Second Cathedral, whose big attraction is a huge growth of albino black coral that looks like a chandelier. Also, it’s much larger than the First Cathedral, so there more arches and tunnels to explore. It was epically cool.

Albino Black Coral Chandelier

Getting ready for Hawaii required hours of planning, and since my feller had a lot going on at work which kept him occupied all day, most of the planning for activities while we were there fell to me. Which is not always my favorite part of vacation. By which I mean, I kind of hate PLANNING stuff. But I spent a ton of time researching diving companies on Yelp and checking out websites and calling places and figuring out the schedule and and and.

And I found this diving place in Oahu that had great reviews on Yelp or at least decent reviews and for God’s sakes after awhile, after you’ve looked at SIX MILLION businesses on Yelp and checked out their websites and called them and they all have BASICALLY the same reviews and similar schedules, so it comes to a point where the price is the only thing doing the talking. And how nice people are on the phone. Surly people don’t get my business (like the one lady who told me not to bother with a nose piercing if you have any allergies, to you, my allergic nose that has been pierced since 2005 says Eff You).

Which is basically how I wound up planning on using Rainbow Scuba for our Oahu diving, though I was a bit worried when they told me their boat was in dry dock; however, I was assured that it would be fine and they would be able to work something out for us. Which is why I was so shocked when I called them the day we arrived to arrange our dives, and I was told that Oops! Their boat was in dry dock and there was nothing they could do for us. And I was so shocked that I just said thank you and hung up the phone.

And immediately, FRANTICALLY, started Yelping more diving companies and began the process of calling them. THANK GOD, the first company I called, while not being able to accommodate us, gave us Captain Bruce’s number, who SERIOUSLY, NO JOKE, saved our Oahu leg.

First Dive!

Mark (or possibly Mike) bent over backwards to hook us up with two AMAZING days of diving. He was understanding about our inexperience and made sure he had a scuba instructor for us on our first dive, which happened to be a 90 foot deep night dive. We hit up the Mahi wreck and then hit the LCU wreck, and saw some AMAZING little critters.

Spiny Crown of Thorns

Puffer fish!

Pipe

They were SO amazing, and we got to see the LCU again the next day.

Patriotic

Shark!

First turtle!

We also visited the Makaha Caverns and saw more turtles and so many fish, and I saw my first little eel poking his head out of the reef.

I seriously, honestly, no way can express how AWESOME Captain Bruce was for us. They were understanding and accommodating and patient and wonderful with a couple of newbies. They saved the first leg of our trip, and I am so appreciative for everything they did for us. Awesome, and completely worth the hour drive from Waikiki.

(Also, my Flickr photos were all taken by my feller and are in no order whatsoever. Sorry about that.)

So I’m in Hawaii, which is awesome, and I’m typing this on my phone which is less awesome, but thank God for the Droid keyboard, and I’ve been thinking about scuba diving a lot, mostly while underwater with nothing better to do, and it seems to me that diving is kind of a crazy thing and crazy cool.  Because I realized the other day that people are often all “yeah, diving.  It’s cool.  Swimming with fishes,” like it ain’t no thang, except what they don’t really tell you is HOLY SHIT, SWIMMING WITH FISHES.  LOOK AT ALL THE FISH!!  (You know what’s a bad idea to do while diving, ESPECIALLY when it’s dark?  Look out into the vasty ocean and think about how big it is and how many critters are out there that you can’t see and that can swim faster than you and eat you.  That is not a smart thing to do.  Just focus on what’s in front of you.)

My feller’s been getting some AMAZING pictures, and I cannot WAIT to see today’s after visiting an awesome reef with probably thousands of fishes, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of those with y’all when I’m back on a real computer.  I’ve been posting quick updates mostly at Twitter, though I must warn you that my Twitter stream is sometimes less than family friendly.

Diving is totally magical and surreal to be essentially spying of fish and turtles and spotted eagle rays and sharks and shit in their home. We’ve done a ton of different, cool diving at night, during the day, off boats, from shore, on scooters, seeing wrecks and reefs and SO MANY FISH.  The feller has actually had requests from people for pictures of the land, we’ve been doing so much diving, which was the main point of this trip, but we are going to get some land stuff in before we go, and there’s so much to do and so much we want to do, we’re gonna be busy, busy bees for the rest of our week here.  We’re having a great time.