March 4, 2011
MY UNDERWATER FREAK OUT
I’m nervous. I can feel butterflies in my stomach, my forehead is tightening and my palms are sweaty. Scuba diving makes me anxious and seasick. My husband is the opposite. He is so excited.
Once you’re in the water it’s not so bad. But I have to work really hard to control my breathing so I don’t suck down all my air.
This particular morning we’re on a boat in Tortola with one other couple plus the captain and the dive master. Everyone is exchanging stories about where they’ve gone and what they’ve seen. I’m just sitting there with a nervous smile taking deep breaths to calm myself. Sigh……….
The boat slows to a stop. Good. We’re there.
I go to the back of the boat and get ready to take a giant step in. I put my regulator in my mouth to check the airflow one last time, and cross my right arm across my chest to hold all the tubes. My left hand holds the front of the regulator and the bottom of my mask as I take a giant step in.
Splash! Don is already in the water waiting for me. So off we go.
I’m tagging along behind him. The water is pretty clear. Visibility is about one hundred feet and the currents aren’t too strong, so the swimming is easy.
All of a sudden I hear a fizzing sound like carbonation in a soda bottle. And then PHSSSSSSTTTTTT. Air starts gushing out of my regulator at a rapid pace. It feels like you put the lawn hose up to your mouth full blast. Only it’s air. It’s choking me.
I start kicking and reaching for the hose of my octopus (my spare regulator.) It’s clipped to my vest. I finally have it in my hand bring it to my lips. Something is wrong. This one is free flowing too.
Oh my gosh. I’m going to drown on my honeymoon.
I immediately start to panic. I don’t want to die. I need to get to the top.
By now Don is at my side and is handing me a regulator. I push him away thinking he is handing me my spare – which is free flowing. He’s angry and frustrated with me. He is shoving the regulator at me.
My heart is pounding.
He grabs my arm and drags me to the surface. I’ve kicked so much I’m now only two feet from the top. But I don’t know that.
Why didn’t you take my regular?” he shouts!
“I thought you were handing me mine. I thought I was going to drown.” I said, completely exhausted from my thirty-second brush with death.
“I wasn’t going to let you drown!” he said.
We swim to the boat and the captain helps me climb in. “What’s wrong? You don’t like the dive?” he asks.
“I almost drowned.” I respond, with tears in my eyes. I'm sure Don rolled his eyes at the captain. I was not the dive buddy he was hoping for.
It turns out both o-rings on my rental gear were bad. The captain replaced them so I could go on the second dive.
Ha. Like that’s gonna happen.
Don felt bad. And sad. He wanted me to like diving as much as he did.
So much for all the lessons and coaching on how to handle an emergency in the water.
This was not my first bad experience diving. The first one involved an old fishing boat on the Red Sea, hairy German girls, a giant Jew fish the size of a whale, a poisonous lion fish and a hungry eel.
But that’s a whole other story, for some other time.
I just couldn't shake the feeling I had of complete panic. I really thought I was going to drown.
But I didn't. Everything was ok. And life went on. And I actually did go diving again. It's still not my favorite sport. But I didn't let my fear defeat me.
Today's TRDC topic: Write about one or both of these statements."Water gives life. It also takes it away."
©2011 What’s Cooking? Food. Wine. Life. All mixed up.