We just returned from a scuba diving trip to Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel has an amazing scuba diving reputation, and it did not disappoint. Since it’s an island and not connected to mainland Mexico, I wasn’t worried about being kidnapped. Yes, as unreasonable as it sounds, I actually think along these lines sometimes.
All five of us were on this trip…a minor miracle it seems. I was really looking forward to having all three kiddos together, and not worrying about someone who wasn’t with us. Now I had the ability to worry about all three at once.
When we landed in Cozumel, we learned that cabs aren’t allowed on the airport property. The typical tourist catches a shuttle that costs and arm and a leg to get you to your destination. But if you take a “short” walk beyond the airport property, you can catch a cab.
Since I am not married to the typical tourist, and we didn’t have an extra arm and a leg to spare, we schlepped our luggage at Wayne’s behest. We trudged along in the blazing Mexican heat about a football field length to hail a cab. One of my husband’s pet peeves is paying for something that isn’t necessary (which he thought was the shuttle). One of my biggest pet peeves is sweating through my clothes while dragging my uncooperative luggage. My pet peeve was realized. His wasn’t. But hey, we are on vacation, no time to complain.
After the not-so-leisurely stroll to the cab off of the airport property, we were taken to our rental car place. The name of the rental car place was ISIS. Yep, you read that right. I prayed that wasn’t an omen. We shoved our luggage in the trunk where not a scintilla of air would fit anymore, and made our way to the condo we had rented.
Like I’ve written before, Wayne loves to prepare and plan out the wazoo when we take a family trip. I bet anything scuba related isn’t available on Amazon.com anymore. We must have gotten 1,000 Amazon shipments to our doorstep in the weeks leading up to our departure. If anyone needs a high-powered underwater flashlight in the off chance you get a hankering to see sea life in the pitch dark, hit me up. Lord knows I didn’t use the one he bought for me. The only way my happy butt would get in the ocean at night is if I was unconscious. And unconscious people can’t use a flashlight.
The kids had completed their book training in Houston, so they had to complete four open water dives in Cozumel in order to be certified as open water divers. I wanted to tag along on their training dives to be refreshed, since I received my open water diving certification 22 years ago on our honeymoon and didn’t remember ONE THING from it. Well, I do remember scraping my derrière on fire coral, which required me to get a shot in said derriere; getting gout in my big toe; being swarmed by sting rays because my dive instructor thought it would be funny to put squid on my tank without me knowing it; oh, and I remember feeding a baby sting ray and then later finding out the baby was an aggressive mama sting ray who preferred my finger over the fish food I was offering.
Back to Cozumel…as we were putting on our dive gear on the boat about to go on the first dive, the dive master gave me a belt with weights that are strapped to it. Everyone got a weight belt based on how much you told them you weighed. Oops. I prayed the optimistic weight I reported matched up with the weights I was given. If not, I might have been stuck on the surface of the water just staring down at everyone 50 feet below, which would mean everyone would know I said I weighed less than I really did…which, in all honesty, wouldn’t be breaking news.
The dive master made everyone motion to him how much air was left in your tank at different times during the dive. Stress must have caused me to suck the life out of my oxygen tank, because my number was a lot lower than everyone else. You start out with 3,000 psi in your tank and need to surface when you are down to 500 psi. The depths we were diving would enable us to have enough oxygen for a 45 minute dive. That is, 45 minutes if everyone breathed like normal people. Of all the times I wish I had been normal…
Caroline and Elizabeth made the universal shark sign to me (you know which one I’m talking about) and then pointed in a certain direction, which probably caused me to lose 200 psi in one breath once I saw the shark. I shook my head at them as if to say, “NO THANK YOU. NOT SWIMMING WITH SHARKS TODAY.” Or any day for that matter.
I felt like Dory out of Finding Nemo – I just kept saying to myself, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
The one big drawback about scuba diving is that I can’t talk. Maybe that’s why Wayne likes to dive with me. And I’m sure it was Murphy’s Law in action when I all of a sudden had the urge to yawn when we were in the middle of the dive. Several times.
We swam through coral reef tunnels – which meant I chose not to see anything except the flippers of the diver in front of me. I was picturing a sea monster darting out of one of the crevices. Actually, what was worse than swimming through the tunnels was realizing Jack was right behind me with his Go Pro recording our procession through the tunnels. If I don’t want my backside filmed while I’m in a swimsuit on dry land, what makes you think doing so at 50 ft under is ok? Yet another time it stunk to not be able to talk under water.
We survived six dives together and had a great time. I’m glad I didn’t go with Wayne and Jack on their end of the week dive – they were down 110 ft and had nurse sharks swimming in and out of their legs. Glad that’s in their memory bank and not mine.
I get sad when I think of how our vacations as a family unit will be getting fewer and farther between. Life moves too fast.
But I’m working on slowing down, breathing a little slower and easier, enjoying where I am at this point in life, and trying my best to keep my oxygen tank at a normal level.
In Cozumel (and in life for that matter) I found out what happens when your emotions go into overdrive…you drain your tank sooner than you want or are expecting.
And when that happens, you can’t appreciate the beauty around you.
I want to appreciate the beauty around me. Except for whatever beauty might lie in the ocean at night…