My dad, brother, uncle, aunt and I all decided to get scuba certified when I was 15 years old. We have gone diving in a few lakes in the area over the years. If you like having zero visibility and experiencing extremely cold, brown water, then diving in a lake in Illinois is for you.
After graduating college, my family decided to plan a vacation down in the Florida Keys and fit in some diving. I had never gone diving in the ocean and, more important to this story, had not been diving since I was a teenager. My dad and brother, who had been actively diving and planned annual trips together, told me I would be fine.
It’s like riding a bike, right?
So we booked a morning dive trip and I was anxious but excited. I barely remembered how to put all of my equipment together, but my brother was kind enough to assist me. We then anchored and were ready to go!
I waddled to the edge of the boat, jumped in, deflated my Buoyancy Control Device and waited to drift to the depths below.
Nothing was happening, though. I was bobbing along the surface like a buoy.
Hmmm, what to do? Oh, I know!
I leapt into the air like a dolphin and tried to swim my way down.
Yeah, I attempted that and looked more like a crocodile thrashing in the mud to kill its prey. Meanwhile, my brother and dad had already sunk like stones.
I then felt a pull on my leg – the Divemaster was tugging me down.
Weeeeeeeeeeee, a ride!
But after he let me go, I once again started rising to the surface. WTF? This happened several times, Mr. Divemaster tugging and my blubbery body giving him a big “F you. I’m just going to float myself to the top!”
Clearly I was not at all accurate with the weights. Mr. Divemaster had very obviously had enough of me. He roughly unzipped my wetsuit and awkwardly started shoving weights down the front of it.
Don’t start something you can’t finish, Divemaster!
I started sinking as my brother and dad patiently looked on. This whole sinking thing was actually happening quite rapidly. I was so overloaded with weight that I sunk and hit the floor of the ocean. Instead of inflating my BCD, I began to freak out, kicking and flailing my arms like a turtle on its back. Sand and debris kicked up all around me. My mind flashed to me being stuck on the bottom of the ocean forever as I wildly pushed myself off the floor to no avail. At this point, I had depleted half of my oxygen tank with all of my panting and effort.
Mr. Divemaster grabbed my BCD and inflated it a bit, so I started to rise up. Wow, you could see my body’s indentation in the sand, much like the indentation my ass makes on my couch at home. Right on!
I managed to get my bearings straight and had an uneventful rest of the dive. It was actually really fun! Once we were back on the boat and on our way to shore, my brother hissed at me, “You. Were. So. Embarrassing.”
Did my brother just become a 14-year-old girl whose dad showed up to the party wearing a fanny pack, socks with sandals and using the endearing pet name Love Nugget?
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I guess I just flipped out a little.”
He rolled his eyes at me. “I’m NEVER going diving with you again,” he responded in a huff.
The worst part of the day was that, for some reason, Mr. Divemaster thought my name was Leash. I’m not quite sure WHY he thought this, but no one ever corrected him. And he continued to refer to me by name (Leash) freely and often. Mr. Divemaster also had a strange habit of doing PUSHUPS, PULLUPS and other calisthenics on the boat during our ride to and from shore. Literally my family and I were sitting and watching him do pushups literally right in front of us. I’m not sure if he liked what he saw when he was shoving weights down my wetsuit, but it was as obnoxious as it sounds.
He honestly thought my name was Leash???
I’ll be honest, I’m not very athletic. I have the grace of an elephant and the speed and agility of a turtle. This whole diving experience should NOT have been a surprise to either my dad or brother.
I love adventure, though, and trying new things, and will dive headfirst into whatever situation presents itself to me.
In this case, Leash literally dove headfirst into the ocean floor.
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!