everyday that i've worked, i've seen the scuba diving boats out at the cove. i love leading snorkel tours over the shipwreck and pointing out all of the divers 40 feet below us. for a while there, they were just distant, underwater people that blew out bubbles to tickle our toes. but then i became pretty good friends with the crew of those dive boats, and they started convincing me to come out on a discover dive for free.
i wasn't too eager to take them up on that offer, because on my days off, i usually want to hide from the sun on dry land. i also figured that i could free dive almost as deep as the divers, so how different would that experience really be? but since my time in st thomas has been dwindling down, i made a last minute decision to tag along on a morning dive.
it was pretty strange being out at the cove at the same time as the castaway boats and not being ON them. i waved to the crews on castaway 1 and castaway 3. "what... what are you doin' over there, stef?!' trying something new!
i dare say my friends were a little envious.
while the first round of certified divers went out, they had the discover divers snorkel on their own to get used to the waters. but being a snorkel instructor, i couldn't bare to just let these poor tourists wander around the reef without knowing what they were looking at. so, on my day off, i led a little snorkel tour for the first timers. they were really appreciative that i was there and willing teach them a couple things. and i was glad to do it :)
then it was my turn to dive! greg the instructor took me out one-on-one, which was oh so nice of him. he knows that i'm a good swimmer and free diver, so i got to skip the redundant first steps and get on with the diving. as soon as he knew i could equalize properly, we went straight to 45 feet.
and just like that i was hanging out at the shipwreck, able to touch it and analyze it and really take it in. it was unbelievably cool to finally see something up close that i had been looking at from a distance for 6 months. i got a fairly close look every time i'd free dive, but it's not easy to soak it all in when you're holding your breath.
at the shipwreck, i looked up and could see the snorkel tours at the surface. the divers call snorkelers "butt fish" because all you can see is their butts, although if they were snorkeling properly, you'd see them floating face down. i looked up and i knew the chaos that was happening at the surface--the people splashing, kids crying, parents trying to adjust gear. thinking of all that noise made me that much happier to be right where i was, 45 feet below it.
i was so happy in the serenity of our depth.
being that far underwater is like being in a different world. the life down there is quiet and calm, yet vibrant and exciting. it's an incredible new perspective. to not only swim down and point at fish for a moment, but to actually swim along with them and watch them. it felt like i was a part of their world--not just an ordinary observer.
in other words, i loved it. i didn't want it to end. i was so high on euphoria afterwards that i swam over to castaway 3 (amber's boat) to tell her about it. and because she didn't have an afternoon trip, we decided to go out on the dive boat again, for her first time.
for the afternoon trip, we went to two new spots. we went to a spot called "cow and calf" (two rocks sticking out of the water that pirates used to think were a whale and its calf), and a spot called "barges", which is basically a set of underwater navy barges covered in the most beautiful coral. diving those three beautiful spots all in one day? it sort of blew my mind.
i'm going to try and get my open water scuba certification before i leave! the diving guys said they could get me certified for cheap, so i figure i should take advantage of that, right? i think this is one of those things that i'd regret later on if i didn't do it.
hey remember that time i lived in the caribbean and knew all the diving instructors and could've gotten certified for next to nothin? i should've done that!
yyyeah, i don't like the word "should've", so i'm going to avoid that scenario and just do it ;)