I’m a man who occasionally cave into peer pressure. Okay, I do cave into peer pressure but that’s only when something really cool is about to occur. This particular case, I had a chance to swim with Nemo.
But wait a minute, you don’t know how to swim!
Did I not just say that I cave into peer pressure when something awesome was about to happen?
So when I was in Australia this summer with MOzzie & Mordini, we all wanted to visit the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). I mean, we flew all this way, why not make the most of it?
During our first evening in Cairns, QLD, Australia, after having a cheap lasagna dinner at the hostel, we were sitting outside trying to pick through all our options for the GBR.
As MOzzie & Mordini were looking through the piles of brochures and packages, I kept on thinking to myself, “OMG! I’M GOING TO SEE THE GBR AND SWIM WITH NEMO! OMG! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SWIM! I’M GOING TO DIE! OMG! NEMO!”
After looking at the packages for an hour, it was unanimously concluded (i.e. Me saying “okay…”) that we’re about to experience the chance of a lifetime so we were going to scuba dive & snorkel in the GBR. (OMG! I can’t swim! I’m going to die!) As excited as we all were, I was sweating like crazy and it’s not because of the warm tropics of Cairns.
Getting on the Reef Experience was quite the experience in itself. Not only did all the crew members (who were also our scuba guides) looked my age or younger than me, they didn’t require previous scuba diving experiences or certification to scuba dive. All you really need to know is the following 4 things:
1. Know how to depressurize.
2. Know how to clear your mask from water
3. Know how to reset your oxygen mask if you lose it.
4. Know how to swim.
Now, MOzzie, Mordini & I all were hoping to choose the sailing option but that was already booked. So instead, we found ourselves on the fastest and most powerful boat in the Cairns harbor. Thus, I was heading to my death faster than I had planned. So much for enjoying the high seas before I see the bottom.
As the crew went through their rules (aka, this is how you’ll stay alive), I kept on turning to MOzzie & Mordini. They seemed a lot more excited than I; I wonder why. I just nodded and accepted what they were saying. All I knew is that worse case senarios, I have MOzzie & Mordini at my side (trust me, it sounded more reassuring at the time).
I was able to forget about dying diving for a short while as they passed out the wet suits. This is what I learned from the wetsuits:
Rule #1: they are cold to put on; I mean COLD.
Rule #2: make sure you don’t put on a size too small because it’s not pretty when you put it on and realized that you’re in pain.
Rule #3: you’ll never drown when you’re in own. However, you’ll won’t remember when you’re in the water.
Gotta admit, we didn’t look too shabby in them. Just a snugglier than I expected but hey, I was about to do something that 1. I never thought I would ever do and 2. not many people get a chance to do.
When we reached our first dive location, my heart was racing (as with the rest of the passengers). But thankfully, I was not the first group to dive. MOzzie too does not know how to swim (but at least he can float to save his ass), so he just spared my impending death for 20 extra minutes.
As the first batch of divers were returning, I started to waddle with my flippers to the rear of the boat. MOzzie & Mordini was already there, I just had issues walking with my enlarged feet. As the crew began to give us our gear and secure us properly, I kept on telling myself to relax and breathe. Relax and OOOPH! The freaking oxygen tank weighs like a ton! Now I may be a small person but holy crap! How can one walk w/ an oxygen tank and not say that it’s heavy.
When all my gear checked out and I was ready, I sat down at the edge of the boat and prepared myself to be submerse. I spat into my goggles and put a little salt water in it before I placed it over my eyes. Both MOzzie & Mordini were already in the water. I was about to join them, only I knew that I would not be coming back up alive. I turned around to see the boat one last time…