Monday, May 02, 2011

A world most of us never get to see

My husband and I have been scuba certified since the early days of our marriage.  In the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, as my kids like to tease.  We haven't done nearly as much diving as we would have liked; being pregnant and raising kids doesn't leave a lot of ability, time, or money for hobbies like scuba diving.

This year, both boys were interested and old enough to get certified and we planned it so they could do their classroom and pool sessions in the great frigid northeast and do their check out dives in warm Belizean waters.

This is my youngest kiddo in a zen moment at 40 or so feet.

eric 3
photo by N. Halin, used with permission

And a shot of the two of them after their official certification as open water scuba divers:

photo by N. Halin, used with permission

The undersea world is a world of great beauty and strangeness.  Creatures that would be impossible on land, thrive here.  Others who are awkward and lumbering on land show effortless grace.

Photo by N. Halin, used with permission
I have never tired of the quiet and the rhythmic pull and push of the current.  It is the ocean's heartbeat; as rhythmic and as vital as our own.  When we dive, we enter an alien world.  One that is not fully welcoming, but one that tolerates us.

coral 16
photo by N. Halin, used with permission

As peaceful and as hypnotic as the world of water is, I never forget, not even for a split second, that I am an interloper.  The sound of my breathing is a harsh reminder that my equipment and my skills stand between me and either serious injury or death.  Yet, I was not worried about letting my sons become divers.  I want them to respect the part of the world covered by water; to experience the otherworldly sense of weightlessness, of quiet, and of the rich variety of life beneath the surface.  I also want them to respect the dangers inherent in any activity.  We take such insane risks on a daily basis.  I think the chances of getting hurt while crossing a busy street or driving a car are far greater then in a no-decompression scuba dive.  And the care we take in handling and maintaining our equipment will probably put any car owner to shame.

Diving as a family has to be one of the highlights of my year.  I am extremely proud of the hard work my boys put in to earn their certification as open water divers.

(Kudos to East Coast Divers in Brookline, MA for running such excellent learning to dive classes and pool sessions, and to Tuff E Nuff dive shop in Belize for running our dives and doing the kids' check out dives.)

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