“I so enjoy reading your blog posts,” my Aunt Janet said. “But last night I realized you’ve been writing them long before I started reading them. So I went back to the beginning and read them all.” I was touched. And a little surprised. That someone, anyone, would want to do that. Hmph. Cool.
So I thought of Aunt Janet today when I found myself re-reading the first blog post I ever wrote. And then kept going. And when I got to post #7, I found it there in black and white. I had made a list of things I didn’t want to do in life. Number six? Scuba dive. Why? Because when I was nine, I watched Ewoks: Battle for Endor. In the movie, there’s a scene where a boy, about my age at the time, gets stuck underwater. He’s right below the surface, but that surface is like a sheet of thick glass. He’s pounding on it trying to get out. Eventually, an Ewok touches the surface with a magic stick and he’s freed. But that 30 seconds was all that was needed to instill the fear of death in me.
Jumping out of a plane? Sure. I’d try that. Swinging on a trapeze? Why not. Scuba diving? No thank you.
But love can make you do things you never imagined. Especially when you fall in love with a certified scuba diving instructor.
It took seven years. But finally, there we were. Michael and I, bedecked in weight belts, buoyancy vests, and scuba tanks, were on a boat together, being driven out to the “dive site.” My diving instructor, Roger, had taught me all the basics just moments before, with Michael no where near me. But that was in water that didn’t even cover my head. Having passed Roger’s assessment of my skills, now we were going for the real thing. As the anchor dropped, divemaster Seth told me about the history of the six shipwrecks lying in Carlisle Bay. Five of them were sunk purposely in order to create reefs to attract marine life–and divers. “There’s only one that is an actual shipwreck,” Seth explained. “The Berwyn was sunk by her own crew in 1919. You see, the crew was really enjoying the ‘entertainment’ available on the island and wanted to stay. The captain said the only way they’d be staying on Barbados is if the ship sunk. So the crew made that happen.” I love knowing the stories, so was listening intently and didn’t realize Michael had already jumped ship. By the time Seth finished, Michael was impatiently waiting for me.
Seth helped me stand up–and I needed it. A scuba tank, it turns out, weighs at least 30 pounds! And then you have to wear a weight belt–to help with buoyancy or descending or something like that. I have no idea. I was in a “Discover Scuba” class so didn’t learn the ins and outs of the gear. All I know is the gear was heavy. I waddled in my flippers to the back deck of the boat. “So you’re just going to put one foot out like you’re literally walking into the water,” Seth said.
“Oh really. . . ” I said.
“Yep. Just step right in.” Michael repeated the instructions from the water below. I just needed them all to shut up so I could concentrate on falling into the water without knocking the tank on the back of the boat.
I took a deep breath and did it! I was in! I don’t think I’ve seen Michael smile bigger. Not even on our wedding day. And I completely understood. He had waited seven years for this. He never imagined spending the rest of his life with a woman who didn’t scuba dive. This was his lifelong dream come true.
Roger joined us and we descended. Were we under there for twenty minutes? An hour? Four hours? I have no idea. Everything moves slower underwater–including time. Roger held on to some part of my gear the entire time. Hand signals told me we were going to go down or up, left or right. Sometimes I saw Michael floating below us or next to us, sometimes with his waterproof camera at his eye, capturing this moment for posterity.
When it was all over, we popped up above the surface. “Did you have a good time?!” Michael asked.
“I did! That was awesome! I’d do it again. . . ” I said. And with those words, I made Michael the happiest man alive.