Once we decided that we would set sail, we all agreed that for both practical and pleasure purposes, scuba would be a good skill to have. There will always be under the boat work to do, such as scraping growth off of the hull or maybe even untangling line from a propeller. Beyond that, it seems unfathomable to be in some parts of the world without seeing the undersea world as well. So we did some research and traveled to Cozumel to earn our open water certification in order to scuba dive.
I will write more about the process of getting open water certified later. There really is a lot to write about from this whole adventure, but for now, suffice it to say that we are all three PADI open water certified. This means that we can dive to depths of about 60 feet and have demonstrated the necessary skills to deal with some emergencies, like running out of air. We know we need more experience before we attempt too much on our own, but now we are at a place where we can gain that experience.
Diving is like nothing I’ve experienced before. You are 20, 30, 50 feet below the surface of the ocean and it’s a world that is teeming with life. From sea slugs to Eagle Rays to seemingly countless types of fish. It truly is an amazing world and when you are below the surface, everything above just melts away.
Seeing firsthand the types of life that are below the surface, that you might have only been previously aware of from episodes of Jacques Cousteau brings on a flood of emotions and awe that is indescribable. There really is nothing like it. As we drifted in the current at 50 feet, I saw a coral that had something under it spitting put sand,I tried to get closer to see it, but passed by a little too quickly to really get a chance. The disappointment at missing out on this was short lived because as I drifted on, I glanced under a rock shelf to spot a lobster poking its head out, as moved on past the lobster, I looked up to see an Eagle Ray flying effortlessly through the water.
I didn’t get to see it, but Matthew saw a couple of sea turtles. He said it was amazing, that one of the turtles was huge. Of course, size and distance are distorted underwater. But he was in awe of the turtle. It was also amazing, we saw a shark one day…after we saw the shark and surfaced, I asked our Divemaster, what do you typically do when you see a shark? He said, “Just what we did, watch them go by.” I felt a little silly asking that question, but as I reflected, when we go backpacking there are definite things you do if you see a bear. But really the first thing you do, is just watch and keep your distance.
All of our dives were limited to about an hour or less. This was dictated by both air consumption and safety. But even in that short amount of time, it was awe inspiring. We plan to get some other dive trips in this year, we’ve already started researching other locations, prices, etc. With all of our other plans, needing to save some money, potentially move to a rental, etc. Getting dive trips in will be challenging, but life is short. And I know these will be the things that I remember as I age.
I am also going to put an unpaid plug in for the Cozumel Dive Academy. Phillip has done an amazing job at hiring and training dive masters and instructors. If you have a desire to learn to scuba dive and you can get to Cozumel, visit the Cozumel Dive Academy. It’s well worth the time and money.