In my search for a D word, I thought of diary, which prompted me to look through my old diaries. I thought that I could perhaps find some inspirational message to myself. Yet, most of my diary keeping was during my service in the Peace Corps, and without going into too much detail, many of my entries were a little wackier than I would like to admit. In my defense, one could become a little wacky whilst living on a tiny island, without running water, electricity or a phone, but I digress. I did, amidst the crazy ramblings, find an interesting document of my first night scuba dive. And that is the long version of how I arrived at the topic of Diving.
According to my diary, I completed a night dive on a sunken World War II ship on April 21, 2003. This is an edited version of what I wrote:
We waited for our divemaster, Dave, out on the wharf. At about six pm, just as the sun was about to set, he drove up in his boat. At this point, my stomach was churning, but my knees weren't week, which was a good sign. My nervousness gave me energy and, surprisingly, kept me level headed. The boat ride seemed to take forever, and the only thing I seemed to be able to do was talk 90 miles an hour to anyone who would listen.
When I saw Dave start to gather the anchor to the boat, I knew the time was getting close. When he finally stopped the boat, we geared up and flipped over backwards off the side. By this point, it was dark, and my heart was racing, almost beyond control. We swam to the front of the boat, and Dave said, "Let's go down."
I slowly let out my air, and as I began to sink, I was met with an ocean full of stars. We were in total darkness with thousands of tiny flashing lights surrounding us. Every time I moved, I made a path of stars. I was already in a dream world, and that was just the beginning.
We used a line to work our way down to the ship, and I couldn't see anything. I tried to keep track of my dive partner, but it was hopeless, so I just kept inching my way down the rope, heading into the dark abyss.
All of a sudden, Dave switched on his flashlight, and I could see that my knees were almost touching the bow of the ship. Chills ran down my spine, but for some reason, I didn't find the her eerie, but absolutely beautiful. We began our dive by heading down to the cargo hold. We then proceeded to swim inside the ship.
Inside, we swam through what appeared to be an enormous hallway. When I looked down, I could see that we were swimming over several jeeps, tanks, and tires. Dave instructed us to grab onto a beam jutting from the middle of the ship and turn off our flashlights. As we were hovering in total darkness, I was very aware of the fact that I was 35meters down in the ocean, on an old sunken ship, in complete darkness, holding on to a slimy beam. It took everything I had to keep my flashlight off and will myself to relax. What was probably a minute seemed like an hour, and just when I was about to turn tail, I saw a sparkle, and then another and another. Slowly glowing fish began to appear. The longer we hovered there, the more glowing creatures presented themselves. As the fish darted every which way, they left a trail of sparkle behind them. It was like an underwater meteor shower.
As if this wasn't enough, Dave led us down deeper, and motioned for us to sit on the hood of an old jeep. Once more, we switched off our flashlights, and once more we were met with a Fantasia-style light show. Fish were flickering here and there, and after a few minutes, I could see my own bubbles and hand movements sparkle. As I watched in wonder, I could feel the energy of the sunken ship, and what it once was. All too soon it was over. We turned our flashlights on, and slowly made our ascent.
After the proper deco stops, we reached the surface. I couldn't keep my mask out of the water. I wanted to stay in the stars and let it all soak in. On the way back to the wharf, I watched the bioluminescence sparkle off the side of the boat, and I felt a sense of empowerment and accomplishment that I had never felt before. I felt like after this experience, I could do anything.