As you may have read in my previous blog post, I recently got back from spending a blissful two and a half weeks in Florida! Though my original plan was to just go for a long weekend and get certified to scuba dive, I ended up extending my trip. (If you’re curious about how that came about, click here to travel back in time and read about it!)
I’ve been in Ohio for the past few months and decided I may as well get certified, before I head off on my next adventure. After calling Captain Rick’s Dive Shop, I found out I could get my instruction done in no time at all and then a group was taking a trip to Florida, for the open-water portion. I jumped on board (there’s a puns somewhere in there, ha) and began the process. Before long, I was on a plane, heading to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Our group awakened early Saturday and arrived to the dock around seven in the morning. We were all excited to finally dive in the sea, but the strong winds and dark skies indicated we would be in for a bumpy ride. With our gear checked, BCDs loaded with weights, and nerves high, our group of newly certified divers took off from the dock. Within just a couple of minutes of being shaken to-and-fro by the five foot waves, a few members of my group had already rushed to the back of the boat. Despite having eaten right before we left, I had never gotten seasick before and was determined to not be one of them! Did I mention I also tend to not take medication and my stubborn self had turned down the Dramamine offered to me earlier in the morning?
When we finally got to the dive site, there was not another boat in site. (I learned later in the day, from some experienced divers, that they had even canceled their plans, due to how rough the waters were). The instructors told us is was vital that everyone got off as quickly as possible, otherwise the strong waves would separate us. I volunteered to go first. As soon as the dive leader was in the water, I took my giant stride off and joined him in the ocean. Though I was wearing a wetsuit, I almost immediately started shivering. The March water was cold and the sun wasn’t out to offer any warmth. Even so, I was too excited to pay much attention to the cold. Plus, I was off that wretched boat! I had managed to not get sick, but much longer and I would’ve joined my fallen comrades in back…
As soon as the group had made it into the water, we started to go down the line. Just as it had with every other dive, my right ear was having trouble clearing. I moved to the other side of the line, so I could go slower and not impede anyone else’s progress. Even so, Captain Rick could see I was in pain. He motioned for me to go up, but as soon as I felt a tiny bit of relief, I stubbornly continued my slow descent.
Eventually, I made it to the bottom and was giddy! Below the surface, the sea was calm. There were no waves crashing onto me and no boat rocking me. Though my regulator was safely in my mouth, I happily hummed, as I swam along the ocean’s floor. I felt so weightless and peaceful. Naturally, I pretended I was a mermaid…just one who needs an air tank to survive under the sea!
After some time, we all made our way to the surface. I don’t think any of us were happy to be back out in the elements. The ocean had provided such a great shelter, that I’d almost forgotten the almost-storm waiting above. We tried our best to stay in a group, while waiting to board the boat, but the waves kept separating us. Eventually, the group was able to get out of the water and back on the rocking boat.
It didn’t take long until half of them were seasick again. I was still determined to not, but after forty minutes of being thrown around, my super-food filled oatmeal decided it didn’t want to be in my body anymore. Let’s just say, the back of the boat was colorfully redecorated. Trust me, I was rather bitter about it – do you guys know much raw cacao nibs and goji berries cost?!
Though I was still feeling rather off, there was no way I was going to miss the second dive. I ignored the queasiness stepped off the boat. Once again, I felt much better in the water and ended up being so happy I went again! We swam around a wrecked ship, in the middle of schools of fish, and over beautiful coral reefs.
After we made it back to the dock, we grabbed some food and began to plan our night dive! I had been told by all my friends that night diving is an incredible experience and was greatly looking forward to it…