Now that Jeff and I are settled back aboard El Gato after our four month road trip, I decided that I should indulge myself in a SCUBA refresher course. It’s been a long time since we have been diving. Jeff has an ear-clearing problem, so he’s not really keen to go anymore.
But during our travels on the water, I’ve made several cruising friends that love to dive, and I would like to join them on occasion. Besides, my gear is like, 80 years old, so I wanted “Scuba Steve” to inspect it.
I have to admit, I was a little anxious about it, as it seems that in my old(er) age, I have less interest in putting my head underwater and breathing. This became strikingly clear when, just last week, Jeff and I were boogie-boarding in big breaks, and I landed on my board wrong, getting slammed repeatedly onto the floor of the ocean. I guess I got disoriented, and was running out of air, finally fighting my way to the surface mere seconds before succumbing to death by drowning. Opening my eyes once my head surfaced, I was relieved to see that I was only in 6 inches of water.
When I stood up, the little kid beside me was staring like I was some sort of sea creature. After adjusting my breasts back into my bathing suit and pulling up my bikini bottoms, Jeff approached, asking if I had pooped myself. My bottoms had about 10 pounds of sand in them, and hung off my ass like a neglected baby diaper.
Anyway, I decided to suck it up and get back in the swing of SCUBA again. After pulling out my gear and finding that my mask, snorkel and one fin had bit the dust, I was forced to borrow the used stuff that 180 people before me had snotted and spit in that day. If you know anything about me, you know that I have an extreme aversion to other people’s bodily secretions. I almost throw up if someone spits on the sidewalk in front of me, and god forbid if I am privy to witnessing snot or boogers on someones face.
But I digress…
After watching me swim back and forth close to the bottom (we’re in about 6 feet of water), Scuba Steve is now ready to take me through the dreaded safety exercises. We do the regulator exchange and buddy-breathing with no incident. Then it’s time to flood and purge the mask. This is what I have distressed about, because, well, it’s just a scary sensation for me. He suggests I keep my eyes closed for this, and I obey.
Just as I get my mask good and flooded, something big, something very big and strong, attacks me from behind. I can feel its smooth skin on my bare legs, then feel that it has become entangled in my spare regulator. It is a great white shark!! But I can’t see! Panic replaces the anxiety of the mask flood. I am no match against a great white, and the panic turns to surrender. I feel bad for Jeff and the dogs. I should have paid more attention to them before I left. I should have told my friends I love them.
NO!!!! I refuse to give up so easily!!! In a burst of adrenaline, I do what my instincts direct me to do. I punch my attacker, as hard as I can! I quickly purge my mask, focus my eyes and get a glimpse of… the massive untanned thigh of a very large, bungling, and clueless gringa that is more interested in rushing to the steps to retrieve her long-awaited pina colada than noticing a submerged human body underneath her leaden feet. In my panic, I seem to have forgotten that we are in the resort pool, surrounded, not by a variety of perilous sea creatures, but tourists of all shapes and sizes. Scuba Steve gives me the OK sign, checking in. I return the OK, but I remain underwater until the dimpled leg has moved a safe distance away. Breathe, Jules. Just breathe.
Once out of the water, Scuba Steve suggests that I do a few more supervised dives before going out with my friends. I think that ‘s wise. And next time, it will be in the ocean, where it’s safer. Yes, I think that’s very wise, indeed.