The bubble of resort life is hard to break. How could one be persuaded to leave the warm comfort of a resort, where food is everywhere and drinks are free? The answer is simply: scuba diving.
Scuba diving is the ultimate activity to mix things up during a tropical resort vacation. Leaving the nest of the resort, I can suddenly be swimming through what can only described as the closest thing to alien life that can be found on earth (outside of Roswell New Mexico of Course). Life underwater is a menagerie of sand and colorful living rocks, the fish flying like birds in swarm-like clouds above coral forests, the sunlight refracting through water on the surface to create a blanket-like patterns of shadow and light on the sandy floor below. Its awesome.
Stepping off the sandy beaches of the resort and onto the narrow seats of a diving skiff, I found myself lurching over the aqua marine blue colored water. As we bumped along, the dive instructor was filling my Dad in on the do’s and don’ts of scuba diving. For instance, your life is sustained through oxygen that flows out of a little plastic tube. Dont stop breathing. Holding breath can lead to other health complications, and so on and so forth. Essentially, he told him that once he started breathing under water, the goal was then to never stop. Pretty basic stuff.
Our captain somehow found the floating anchor amidst the rest of the open ocean, and once we were attached, it was time to get in the water. Getting over the idea of breathing out of a plastic tube, I moved the goggles over my eyes, and began my descent.
The water was close to 80 degrees farenheight. I cleared my ears of pressure by equalizing, and began kicking my flippers towards the swarm of coral life that teems like a miniature metropolis on the ocean floor below. A school of fish approached like a rolling fog, and then spread around me on either side as they continued towards their destination in the blue unknown.
I stopped my descent on the sandy bottom with an outreached hand. We were now 40 feet below the surface of the ocean, and would be going no deeper. Our dive master hit something hard against the side of his tank, and I looked over to see that he was leading us away from the anchor attached to our boat, and further into the underwater jungle. I kicked my fins and followed.
Weightlessness is another part of the space-like feel of scuba diving. I floated weightlessly above the coral, flying through the thick new aquatic atmosphere, where I could choose to either hover over an interesting scene of vibrant and colorful coral life, or kick my feet and fly to a new destination. My lack of weight made it feel like I was in space. The life around me made it feel like I had been abducted. Everything was interesting, like being in the setting of a science fiction novel.
After what felt like 10 minutes, but must have been closer to an hour, our dive master hit something hard against his scuba tank again. We were now back at the anchors we had started at, and it was time to re-surface.
Waiting for 10 minutes at an altitude of 10 feet below the surface of the ocean, we did a safety stop for decompression, an added layer of protection between the diver and the bends, and one of the signs of a good diving company. The light blue color of the water glittered like jewelry as the sunlight shined in varying degrees of intensity along the waves.
After the 10 minutes was up, we rose above the quiet sanctuary of underwater silence, and burst into the sounds of seagulls and crashing surf of the surface world above the coral. One of the boat workers lent me his hand, and I returned up the ladder and into the quasi dry area of the skiff. Sitting down on the narrow seat, we were driven back to the resort.
Comfortably back on the beach, I got a margarita from the bar, and settled myself into the seat of a lounge chair. Looking out over the sweeping blue landscape of the ocean, my thoughts once again returned to the coral life down below. I almost wanted to stand up, throw my shirt off, and start swimming back into the alien world of coral beneath the ocean waves. But it was almost dinner time, and we were eating fish. I kicked my feet back into the sandals at the base of my chair, and stood up returning to my room for a shower. It had truly been the perfect way to escape from the bubble of our resort.