Scuba!

 scubaandhannah.jpg

Well folks, it took me a few extra trys than the other divers, but I’m now a certified scuba diver! We spent the first two days in the pool, then the next two doing open water dives. No boat — we just walked right into the water (Nelly Bay, to be exact) and swam out to the reef. It was pretty incredible bobbing along out there, looking at X Base in the distance. I felt like a true Pisces — happy as a fish in the sea J

So yeah, why’d it take me longer than the others? My eeeeeaaaaarrrssssss. So lame. You’ve got three open spaces in your body, and when you go under the water you’ve got to equalize them. You equalize the first, your lungs, by breathing. In…out…in…out — you keep your lungs the same size by taking in the air, and the scuba gear is designed to give you more air when you go under more pressure. The second, the sinuses, equalize themselves with the air you’re breathing from your lungs, though if you have bad sinuses you can’t scuba dive because they won’t equalize. That’s why you can’t go with a cold! So glad mine went away. The third, your ears, for me, was the hardest. You’ve got to equalize them with the air from your sinuses — basically just gently holding your nose and blowing to pop them. If you can’t do this as you’re going down it hurts! You could burst your ear drum. Yesterday I went down the first time no problem, but the second dive gave me problems. Finally after a few tries, I managed to get down. Today, same thing. Went this morning, was fine on the first three descents, then, for the life of me, could not pop my ears the fourth time to go down for the full second dive. Lucky, a few of us did the two “fun” dives this afternoon, and I managed to get down and complete the scuba course. The very last thing I had to do was clear my mask — you take it off underweater and put it back on again. Something you think would be super-hard, but is actually totally easy. Whenever it gets filled up with a bit of water, you tilt your head back and blow out air of your nose. The air pushes out all the water, you stick the mask back on and voila: no more water! I’m a dork, but it’s actually quite fun.

The visibility today was only about 8 feet, give or take, but we saw loads of fishies, fed some, and even saw a few sting rays. The group before us saw a turtle — jealous! — but I’m happy with my first five dives. By the end I felt pretty comfortable, and I’ll definitely try to do a few in Cairns. Hopefully the weather will clear up and I’ll get down in some clear water to see some Nemos!

HANNAH

My dive buddy! First rule of diving: breathe. Second rule: Always have a buddy!

This is Hannah, and she was mine. She’s 24 I believe, comes from Dover, England, and bared with me as I tried repeatedly to get the hell under water. She’s leaving for Townsville today, but I wish she was staying so we could chill. We might meet up in Sydney around Christmas, because everyone and their grandmother will be there.

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