April 1, 2016

Sun Deck and Below

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I posted several photos of our amazing day today, but I like to think that nothing says a thousand words better than a thousands words, so here we go-

I am not sure what inspired me to become a certified diver. It is not like I was on some tropical holiday and was suddenly overcome by a whim to start a course. No. It was actually November. San Francisco was cold and wet and rainy and since this was the period before the Internet, I must have used the Yellow Pages to find a dive school, somewhere South of Market. As a student and a waiter, I was not in the habit of spending $500+ on anything let alone some weird hobby, but nonetheless I signed up for the Open Diver course and on a drive home from Tahoe with Jason we stopped at a dive shop in Terra Linda and I bought a mask & snorkel and a set of fins, ready for my first pool class a week later.

I remember riding my bike in the cold wet rain only to crawl into a full wet suit for pool sessions. All the classes were at night, and I seem to remember being alone for most of the sessions. The final dives were in Monterrey a few weeks later and just like that I was a certified diver. None of my initial dives were particularly fun or even interesting, but there was something about neutral buoyancy and the ocean that had me hooked. I quickly added some fish/bird ink on my arms and I was ready to head to Peace Corps and Mozambique. Little did I know that once in African, I would experience some of my best diving- seeing whale sharks and mantas rays. I would earn my advance certification which included deep and night dives in Lake Malawi.

I took a bit of a diving break while we lived in NYC, but Mairin and I were quickly back in the ocean as soon as we moved to Malaysia. We dove on Costa Rica, Mauritius, Sipadan and every other island holiday we went on.

Until the dive holidays came to a halt on July 8th 2006. With two kids, diving felt like a selfish all day activity that only one of us could enjoy. But today, I saw into a window to our future. One where in just a few years, not only can we return to diving holidays, but we can dive as a family.

Kaia was a natural. After some initial nervousness, she was social on deck talking to her instructor, as well as the salty tanned tattooed German diver telling her about the sea life in the area. I watched on deck as she made her way around the boat. I watched from above (I was snorkeling) as she dove with her instructor. And I listened to her on the sun deck on the ride back as she told me how much she wants to live the island life and lead dives. It was great to see so many young women role models as instructors. I always love when she sees confident women doing what they love.

From here on I can let the photos do most of the talking. I hope they show that today was one of the better days I have ever had in my life.

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