Thursday, May 16, 2013

'Stay out of the water'

These five words are like fingernails on a chalkboard to a scuba diver.  It's like beginning your under water descent without turning your air on.  It's like a jelly fish wrapping itself around your neck.  It's like hearing the motor of your dive boat turn over and over, but insist on not starting.  It's like getting ready to take a picture of a shark and realizing you forgot the memory card.  It's like getting the signal to head to the surface when you've still got 1600 psi.

They've all happened, and they all suck.  Big time.


I sat quietly, trying to listen to the words I recognized in Spanish, as the doctor explained to Alex the prognosis for my unbearable ear/face/jaw pain.  The words I understood were inflamed, antibiotic, alcohol and water.   Alex turned to me and said 'you have a very bad infection, it is badly inflamed, so she is giving you antibiotics and painkillers'.  pause... pause... pause... 'Oh, and no alcohol and NOOOO DIVING!'  My heart sank, even though I knew this was the case.  I think I actually got sick to my stomach when he said no diving.  A year or two ago, I would have been distraught over the alcohol part, but I can live without that.  It's the diving that's I've grown so very fond of.

I don't dive near as much as I'd like, but I dive more than your average Jill, so I'm not complaining.  Typically a once, hopefully twice a week, I walk down to my favorite dive shop ,West End Divers,* on my lunch hour and go for a little cruise along the reef.  It's become my meditation, my getaway from reality, my peace and quiet, and actually, my social time as well.  Working at home has a tendency to leave you feeling a bit isolated from the rest of the world, so it's fun to jump on the boat and chit chat with the group, the visitors and the regulars, dive masters and instructors about what they've been up to, where they're from or what they saw on their last dive.

Chit chattin after a dive @ West End wall
(there was a hammerhead sighting this day, so lots of 'chit chat' going on here!)

Often times my friend Joe, who owns the bar in front of my house, and I will sign the other one up and send a text or Facebook message 'we're on the board for 11:30 tomorrow, can't wait!'.

*Check out their live web cam here!

I feel a little lost without my diving.  Partly because I was told I can't, not because it just so happens that I'm really busy with the construction season in full swing and gears changing at the marketing gig.

The thing is, that is what this island is built around.  The diving (and the drinking, but that's certainly behind in the lineup)  It's the one common denominator between almost all of the people here.  We all gossip about who saw a hammerhead or who found the seahorse first (and who snuck out in the middle of the night and moved it)

But my #1, all time, favorite thing about diving is...  We Are All Equal.

Beneath the surface it doesn't matter what race you are, what language you speak, what your sexual orientation is, where you attended college, if you did, or how much money is in your bank account.  Beneath the surface there is no race to the finish line, no competition for material possessions or debates about who is smarter.  There is no pecking order or language barrier.  There is simply one thing you share with the others around you, and it's a passion for diving, no matter what it means to you.


  1. Hmmmm. I have sunset beers on that dock just about every night. Will have to remember there is a live webcam ;)

  2. Your blog just gets better and better :-)
    Although I'm very sorry to hear about you losing a fight with a jelly fish, i suppose it could be worse? Be careful, you!