Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Cozumel Diaries - Day #3 - Monday

As mentioned previously, you’ll have to scroll down for the posts from Days 1 and 2….


We left off with me swearing off taquitos for the rest of my life…


When I got up Monday, my tummy still felt a little less than cheerful.  As we had a 9:30 am date with a boat, we ate a light breakfast.  I was trying not to think about what it would be like to have an accident in my wetsuit.  As Sunshine pointed out, fish poo all the time in the water…Uh, no thanks, I’ve barely mastered peeing while diving.


Our boat picks us up…Time for more diving 101.  Our dive shop (Deep Blue) has small fast boats that take no more than 8 divers at a time, with 2 dive masters “DMs”.  Deep Blue has four full time DMs:

Gabriel: The shop’s most experienced DM.  So incredibley nice.  Knows where all the good stuff is to look at….

Hector:  Been on a boat with him, but never dove with him.  Extremely good looking.  And muscular. 

Sandro: Dove with him last year.  He remembered us.  He also helped us dingdongs turn on the lights of the Jeep.   More later.

Timothy: British import, looks to be of Thai descent.  LOVE THE ACCENT.  Extremely cool guy, great DM.   


On a boat dive, you generally do two dives with a surface interval in between to allow you to vent excess nitrogen.  The first dive is typically the deeper of the two (80’-95’) and the second dive is generally 60’-75’.  The typical dive profile has you down for 700 psi (a full tank has about 3300 psi) or 45 minutes.  If there are two groups, the boat drops one group off first.  You enter the water by a backwards roll into the water…it really is the easier way to do it.  The captain makes sure you ok on entry, the DM gives the signal to go down, you start letting the air out of your BC and you descend. 


The DMs on our boat that morning were Timothy and Javier.  Who’s Javier, you might say, he wasn’t mentioned above.  That’s because, unfortunately for us, the shop was overbooked and hired out a freelance DM.  He reminded me of a used car salesman.


I should point out that Sunshine likes to dive.  However, it makes her anxious.  I suppose she feels like she’s out of control and doesn’t that feeling…that and I think she worries about everything that could go wrong.  Which is a lot, but most of what could go wrong has to do with divers being careless.  So what happens next couldn’t have happened at a worse time….


We enter the water, Javier gives the diver down signal (basically thumbs down) and we start our descent.  At least some of us do.  Sunshine is historically slow to clear her ears, so I hang back with her.  It becomes apparent she needs help going down (insert pervy comments here).  I attempt to help, but I don’t have enough weight to pull her down and me down too.  I go get the DM.  By this time, her mask is flooding and she can’t clear it (panic does amazing things to you).  He sends her to the boat.  By herself.  This is not standard procedure.  Granted me and the other two divers in his group were drifting, but he didn’t do anything to help her.  So I spend a while contemplating where Sunshine went and what she’s doing…then the fat Ecuadorian guy that’s diving with us almost kicks me in the face…I reach out to block him and end with a cut on my hand from the coral.  I spend the rest of the dive trying to conceal the blood and worrying that I got into fire coral or some other type of stinging coral. b/c it hurts like a beeeyotch. 


When we get out of the water, I see Sunshine and she does not look happy.  Her jaw is set, her eyes are wide and glassy.   It’s clear that she’s already made up her mind to not ever dive again.  All I could think of was that she needed some Xanax.  I was concerned as was Javier.  Others on the boat were sympathetic as well.  But it was clear she still had no interest in getting back in the water.  I knew if we didn’t get her back in on the second dive, she would probably never go again.  We weren’t diving on Tuesday, so she would have had all day Tuesday to continue snowballing her fear and anxiety and by Wednesday, she’d been done.  I know I was walking a fine line between being supportive and pissing her off.  I tried the tough love approach…you know, you shouldn’t do it if it’s not enjoyable to you…I tried to appeal to her comfort zone with horses…it’s like when you get bucked off, you have to get back on…and I finally went for the jugular…maybe you’re just not able to master the skills.  I think that one did it.  Sunshine is an overachiever and has probably never failed at anything in her life.  Javier finally came through and took her out in the surf on her surface interval to work on her mask clearing, which seems to be her big fear.  She finally agreed to go on the second dive when Javier promised we’d go no deeper than 40 feet.  She made the dive and Javier lied…we went more like 65 feet.  Javier also literally physically held her hand the entire dive.  Neither one of us really liked him.  He followed different protocols and did things differently.  That’s one thing about diving with the same dive shop, you expect consistency.  Especially when you’re like us and only dive once or twice a year.


When we get back to the hotel, Miss Sunshine decides wisely that she would like to do a shore dive in front of the hotel the next morning as we took Tuesday off from the diving schedule.   Mostly she just wants to sit somewhere underwater and just breathe.  And occasionally practice clearing her mask.  We end up hanging out at the hotel on this day, laying out, taking it easy.


That night we went into town and went to use the internet.  Tim, the other DM on the boat happened to be in the same place and asked Sunshine what happened with her dives….he pretty much thought old Javier was worthless and told us so.  Suggested we go talk to Deborah, the owner of the dive shop.  So we did.  I think she was concerned, but she was very calm and talked Sunshine through what happened.  Sunshine decided she wanted a private DM for the rest of the trip.  If it makes it enjoyable for her, more power to her.  We had dinner at Prima’s and then went on to Carlos and Charlies to burn off the consumed calories .  Shakin ass is a hella good workout.  I was absolutely soaked (with sweat, that is) by time we left.  I will say there were a TON of freshly graduated high school kids there that night.  It was a little weird.  Actually more like a LOT weird.   




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