I went to the moon, but there were no craters or lunar dust- just a grayish blue infinity wrapping all around me, a misplaced floating speck. It was both frightening and soothing at the same time, to hear nothing but the overpowering sound of my own, deep inhalations, followed by a flurry of bubbles racing towards the surface. You never lose track of what’s important underwater. Every single breath echoes in your head as if it were the only thing that mattered in your wet, blue world. In a sense, it’s meditative, clearing your mind of the problems that persist on dry land. Short of a few hand signals, I couldn’t communicate with the other specs floating around me. I was alone, but safe. I was in awe, but relaxed.
After you learn to trust the rubber hoses and aluminum tanks harnessed around your body, it all comes into focus. There was a forest of stringy, dark green seaweed strands, anchored to the reef, swaying together with the unceasing rhythm of the ocean wind. A school of tiny neon blue fish hovered around us for a few moments, curiously eyeing their alien visitors. Then there was a tiny gold fish swimming through them, like a beam of light, oblivious to their nautical ballet of coordinated turns- someone has to be the rebel I suppose. And then you roll over and look up, and feel tinier than ever when you see how far away the surface is. We were only 40 feet under, but it was quite a view, and quite a thrilling sensation. After spending a half an hour underwater, you don’t want to come up. Gravity is a buzz kill.
The English couple who were running the course, Paul and Diane, had enough personality to be cartoon characters, or bobble head figurines at the very least. Diane decided to show off her American accent by singing me Happy Birthday Mr. President, like Marilyn Monroe. Our instructor, Paul, was an ex-seminarian, who became a standup comedian, then a DJ, a restaurant owner in Spain, and was now was a spear fisher, cave diver, ice diver, and treasurer hunter, who spends his work week relaxing in the eerie skeletons of half millennium old Spanish galleons. They’re such interesting people, and will always have the gratitude of the Peace Corps' mosquito ravaged masses, for giving us unreasonably low prices for their course, and always bringing us a second round of bread with dinner.
Thanks so much for looking after my Peace Corps group! Hopefully we will see you soon for advanced diving certification!
If you own or manage The Dive Academy, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.