Best way to start the year? Diving of course

01 Jan

First of all let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone! Our new year’s eve wasn’t very eventful. We let our diving instructors live it up and stay out late while we sat at home, watched bad tv, and hung out with our friend Keith. Keiran slept most of the evening and little Rog only had a few instances where he was shaking like crazy in fear of the unexplained bangs that kept going off (fireworks!). For me, it was perfect. I even skyped my parents just as we went into 2013 (it was only 11 PM for them and they were practically in bed at the time. I don’t think my dad has stayed up for New Years since 1970…! Ok, perhaps that is an exaggeration 🙂 )

Well, I woke up this morning, gave all my boys a little cuddle, and I thought to myself “New Year… new day… I’m going swimming.” (You thought I was going to say diving, didn’t you?) I haven’t been in the water in 2 months, not since Keiran was born. This was on orders from my midwife.

So I said to Chris, “I’m going swimming! I think I will swim out and get Octopussy and bring her in.” You see, Octopussy was on one of the outer moorings as the weather was a little windy last night.

“Why don’t you get Arvor instead.”

“Because I want to get Octopussy.”

“Sally, you haven’t been in the water for 2 months, you haven’t driven a boat in longer than that and you pick the windiest day ever to swim out, get the boat and bring it in. Why don’t you just go swimming.”

Well, Chris had made his point, and it was well put so I let him know, put aside the picture in my head of me gallantly bringing in the jewel of our fleet and got into my bikini. Scary moment!!!! Last time I wore this bikini I had an enormous belly and was waddling down stairs! I actually didn’t look that bad, and Chris said some really nice things to make me feel better about my post-pregnant body and I went down to the water.

It felt a lot colder than it did two months ago, but at 80F I’m not complaining. The freshness of the water was actually great. I dived in to get the full effect and I suddenly remembered how great water feels. The way it pulls your hair back and slides over your entire body. It is kind of indescribable. I dived in again and opened my eyes. I love swimming under water with my eyes open. Everything is blurry but sparkling, and the water feels so great on my face.

I swam around for a bit, floated on my back, and then I thought “I know! I’m going to go diving!” This little giggle sort of erupted from my throat and I was glad that I was all alone. I thought about just sneaking into my scuba gear and not telling anyone in case I made a real fool of myself. That didn’t seem the responsible thing to do however, so I crept up the steps, opened the door to the house and told Chris. Keiran was still asleep. “Ok.” That was all Chris said.

Then I went to get my scuba gear. MY SCUBA GEAR. It sounded so exciting!!! I think I giggled again. I don’t know why, but I found myself creeping around a little bit. I got my Bella BCD out (you will remember my sadness at retiring my old BCD years ago), my fins, my mask (which needed a lot of cleaning before I could put it on my face), a set of Octopus Diving rental regs (Chris took my old regs and set them up on some tec equipment a few months ago), some weights and my wetsuit.

Now, at this point I was really glad that there wasn’t anyone around (we had given the staff the morning off so they could recover from last night festivities). Getting into my wetsuit wasn’t as easy as I remember. I think this is because it was super dry and hadn’t been used in almost a year, and didn’t have anything to do with the size of my butt! 🙂 It made me sympathize with all the women out there who are subjected to male instructors that give them wetsuits that are one size too small. I did the wetsuit dance for a few minutes and finally got it on properly. Took my gear and put it on a tank.

OK, it was coming back to me. The tank band goes just below the curve of the tank, I want the flat of the tank valve parallel to the back plate of the bcd. Not too high, not too low. Then the reg goes on, first stages on the right, now connect the low pressure inflator. I can do this! I remember! I guess after 4,000+ dives it is probably pretty hard to forget, even if it has been 10 months, 4 days and 23 hours since my last dive (not that anyone is counting).

Suddenly Chris appeared with Keiran looking very cute in his pajamas and he snapped this photo of me!

Scuba Dive and Snorkel in St Martin SXM

Then I took my fins in my hand, my mask in my other, walked down the steps and into the ocean. Can I just take a moment to comment on how cool that is? It is New Years day and I just walk out of my house, grab some gear, get a tank and walk into the ocean. So effortless. This is one of the reason’s that Chris and I decided to have a diving center in the first place! It is just so freakin’ cool to be able to dive whenever I want! Plus my husband is a genius so it is all so streamlined and easy.

Anyway… I do my checks like a good PADI instructor, let some air out of my BCD and descend. Wow! Now I’m under the water. It was like being reunited with a long lost friend. You know you missed them, but not how much until you see them again for the first time. Everything was so sparkly and shiny. The surface of the water from below looked like millions of ripples of light having a party. The sand was so soft in my hands and full of little tiny precious pieces of shells and rocks. I loved each and every one. I went out a little deeper and felt the familiar pressure on my ears. I equalized, no problems!

I kept thinking of the first time that I went diving, the wonder that I felt just breathing underwater.

Then… I saw a fish! It was a tiny fish, a little yellow tailed snapper, but it looked at me, and I looked at it. We had a moment! Yup… a moment, me and the fish. He winked at me and said “looking good, Sally, looking good.” I replied with “Thanks fish. I’m feeling pretty good too!”

Oh to be in the water again. This truly is the best way to start the year. My son has no idea what a sacrifice not diving for 10 months was for me. I will make him pay when he is 16 and wants to borrow the car! 🙂 A sacrifice well worth it though.

Oh to be back in my element, it felt so good! And this is just at 6 ft deep!

And now, later on, I just feel so much more complete, more satisfied and more myself.

I hope that everyone else had such a wonderful start to 2013 that I did!

(A very content Sally wrote this 🙂 )

One Response to “Best way to start the year? Diving of course”

  1. Frank Schoonens January 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Have a very good, no great and Happy New Year Sally, Chris and Keiran.

    We have our club’s New Year’s dive on Saturday at water temperatures of around 4C.

    Cannot wait to get back to SXM.

    Love Frank.

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