Travel Story -- Scuba Diving



Goggles fit?  Check. Enough spit in goggles to keep them clear underwater? Check.

In waters off the coast of Gili Air, Indonesia I sat nervously going over the tasks I would be asked to complete for my final test to obtain my scuba diving certification.  My first task would be to remove my gear then put it back on all while in the water.  Am I going to fumble my weight belt and have it fall to the ocean floor? I positioned the weights to where I thought they'd go on my waist and checked the fastening latch before removing it and placing it near my flippers.

Today it was just me heading out with my instructor. A group that began as three was now just me as the other two people in my group dropped out. One couldn't quite master the breathing, opting to snorkel more before continuing with the certification and the other would continue at another dive site later during his vacation. Because of this we were on a boat with another instructor doing a fun dive with a family of four. The youngest of the boys wouldn't stop describing everything he saw and felt loudly and in great detail adding to my anxiety. “The boat rocking is making me pee, daddy!” “Is that a shark?” My husband sat quietly watching and taking photos. And there was also the driver of the boat.

Unlike the other dives where the sky and ocean were both blue and clear, today the sky was overcast and the water was choppy.

"Will a rain storm affect us down there?" The boy asks to no one and everyone. "No. You won't even know it's raining under the water” the instructor says to the boy before turning to the parents and telling them that visibility is not the best but that we should be fine. “The fish will still be out,” he joked. I checked the fit of my goggles, again.

My instructor who had been in the water called for the other instructor. Something was obviously going on. I checked the straps around my oxygen tank, again. Then both instructors popped up and indicated to the driver and us passengers that the current was a bit strong and we would be moving to another location. I made sure my mouthpiece was working.

The earlier dives were easy but I didn’t want to be overconfident as that was usually when something went wrong. I tried to remain focused by reviewing the underwater hand signals.

The longer it took to get in the water the more the thoughts in my head ran wild. "Is this stupid? I live in NYC. What do I need a scuba license for?" What if I forget to breathe? I'd done that before. It's easier than you might think. In order to quiet my mind, I did another round of equipment checks and went over the signals again to pass the time.