Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rewind: SCUBA Training

Rewind! (this post is out of chronological order)

training area at Aldive 

Back in mid-October I learned to SCUBA dive! I trained with Aldive in Loubiere, Dominica, and had an excellent experience. Thanks to my instructor Billy, I am now Open Water Diver certified, and aching to get back underwater. Alas, I’ll have to wait for Australia. (Botswana is landlocked and the only surface water is the drinking water reservoir behind the Gaborone Dam, and the multitude of shallow rivers in the Okavango delta (the world’s largest inland delta).
me and my dive buddy (the other diver taking the course)
ready for our first dive

Billy said I was a natural, and I definitely felt at home in the water once I understood how to use the gear. I highly recommend the experience to all. I’ll never forget the first breath I took through the regulator. It takes a great deal of trust in oneself and one’s gear to reject the idea: nope, no air underwater. But I inhaled the compressed air, and had to figure out how to hold the regulator in my mouth while grinning like such a buffoon. The most important rule of SCUBA is to breathe normally--never hold your breath!

Our deepest of the training dives was 60 feet, where the coral reef transitioned to seagrass beds. It was such a joy to see the relatively healthy reefs off Dominica’s coast. And I was pleased to have recognized many corals, gorgonians, sponges and fishes from my tropical biology courses at Wheaton. Diadema urchins galore! (Lionfish too, though, which are invasive to the region.)

Solomon Reef (from above)
mm those clear waters!
Of course, there were plenty of algae growing on the reef, but I was very impressed by the diversity of species and all the beautiful colors. While hovering above the sandy bottom, I got to chill in the middle of a school of blue chromises.

I found diving extremely meditative, and hope to do it frequently in the future. Let’s go together!


P.S. Billy is sending me some underwater footage. I'll try to share that in the future.

me post-dive. those tanks are heavy!

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