Posts Tagged 'Key West'

Scuba Diving Class 2 – Two Open Water Dives

This is Part 2 in a Series. Read Part 1 HERE.

Did I mention how terrified I am to scuba dive? No? Well, rest assured that I told my instructor. And Zach. And Kate, the other student diving with us. Here I am, yesterday morning, having problem after problem with pool gear. Mask too tight, respirator too difficult to breathe through, can’t get properly weighted. Bleh. Still. Not giving up yet.

IMG_3698

Then we spent time calculating nitrogen concentration in one’s body, safe dive times, etc. I liked this because it was math-y, and also showed that dive sickness is avoidable, and not just a matter of chance circumstance. We got onto the boat for a 40 minute ride out to Sand Key, part of the coral barrier reef 7 miles from Key West. I cannot imagine a prettier day on the water. Calm and glassy and teal.

The crew had the tanks all lined up.

1-tanks

We squeezed into wetsuits and hoods. This is Zach making his “THIS IS AWESOME” face.

1-pre dive zach wetsuit

This was the view off the side of the boat. Those greeny patches? They’re corals 20 feet below.

1-pre dive water view

My nerves kicked in while strapping up. I actually had to put on a ton of gear and then just JUMP off the side of the boat. It took a full 2 minutes of hyperventilation on the “gangplank”, and ultimately I asked Rick, the first mate, to push me off. Once in, I had a bit of a panic, until Zach saw a loggerhead sea turtle 20 feet away on the surface, and I realized that I needed to get under that water. Here’s a bit of bubbly surface panic, but check out those fish! They kept coming close, giving me curious side-eyed looks:

2 surface panic 2

I clutched the rope, all the way down to 5 feet, adjusting and readjusting my mask, my respirator, and finding all my gauges. I hovered there with Duane, the instructor, while Zach sort of paddled around nearby, getting his bearings. I realized I needed to cry, and then prompltly discovered that there is no crying in scuba diving. I surfaced, jittery, breathed a bit (but didn’t cry!), then went back down. Slowly, slowly descending to 16 ft, whimpering and grasping at my teacher’s jacket, bug-eyed with terror.

2-dive bug eyed terror

Duane had a tablet for communicating, so he wrote encouraging things like “slow down, you’re doing fine” and “no drills yet, this is the fun part”:

3 dive notes

It took me ages to relax and let go of that rope, and then I was only willing to swim in circles around it. Finally, I calmed down and we set off to see all sorts of fishies and corals.

3 blue fish

Zach gave me the camera, which was soothing, and took my mind off basic breathing. Time was almost up, so we went to the back of the boat and rested with our knees on the sandy bottom. Zach did his drills, taking out his respirator, getting it back in, and clearing the water from his mask:

2 respirator

We surfaced and I said something I never thought I’d say “I didn’t want to come back up.” We climbed aboard the Sea Eagle and the crew switched up our gear for fresh tanks.

kate 7

Then we cruised to our next spot. I noticed that my hands were really itchy and tingly. Duane said this was from hydra stings and fire corals that grow on the ropes. A good lesson…I won’t be clutching the rope next time. The second plunge was much easier, though I still asked Rick for a tiny push; it’s psychologically pretty difficult to jump in with that much gear on. It just seems impossible that you’re going to float.

On this dive I got comfortable faster, and did my own drills of taking out my respirator, tossing it behind me, relocating it, and putting it back it. Then we just cruised and swam and took pictures of pretty things. Our coral reef is gorgeous.

2 reef

I didn’t think I could do it, truly. Zach says he knew I was capable, despite all my worries, because he’s seen me work through all kinds of fears.

3 feeling groovy

A brave new adventure! Two more dives next week, then I’ll be a card-carrying, PADI-certified open water diver. This time, I can’t wait to go back under. Zach was glad to send his 20s off with a bang. Happy 30th birthday today, mister!

4 after diving

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Key West Winter 2013

Some random photos from, oh, the last few months…

I volunteered to go to Key West Botanical Garden on a kindergarten field trip with my kids’ class. I didn’t realize we were going so the children could look for and identify native SPIDERS. I found one with the back of my neck. *shudder* I hope you’ll forgive my shaky camera work.

spiders

Here I am, out for a morning ride last week or so. Gorgeous weather, getting my thighs tan again…

out for a ride

The Atlantic Ocean was like a lake that day. Here is the view down into the rocks of the White Street Pier. I saw a dad with a little boy; the kid  was on a cell phone telling his mom about all the kinds of sea creatures he could see from the pier today.

pier water

Winter means that Debby comes down from Maryland and gives me classes in glass beadmaking! Here’s the view of my workspace with the blowtorch, mandrils, glass rods, and all kinds of cool supplies she was showing off!

glass bead making

Unrelated: somehow I blew a blood vessel in my eye. Didn’t hurt, but it looked like it did.

blood vessel

The Boogedy rides for joy, now, and wants to use the bike to go everywhere. He got this new big-boy bike for xmas and I just bought him his own rear- and headlights as well as a cable lock. He was thrilled that he got to choose his own combination.

riding for joy

 

 

Flood Day

School was closed for the Boogedy this morning due to weather conditions throughout the islands. The temperature was about 81 degrees and only lightly raining after days of downpour and nights of lightning shows. So we hopped on our bikes and went across town to check out the flood.  Here are Zach and the Chibberty at the intersection of Frances and Eaton streets:

(Oh yeah, that is the swimsuit Zach was wearing when he got kicked out of the water park in Utah this summer).

Here we are in the middle of Simonton and Front streets:

The Chibberty enjoys a floating take-out meal.

Dog and boy agreed that this is the Best. Day. Ever.

 

Late July Adventures

I checked out this awesome book from the library,  because Zach is going through a ‘no-white-flour’ kick. It’s the first cookbook I’ve ever read that truly addressed the challenges of cooking with whole grains, and not just substituting 1/2  a cup of whole wheat flour but still making essentially fluffy white breads.

Thanks to this YouTube video, I now know how to make a 6-braid challah! I also know now that I don’t really care for poppy seeds on top of bread.

Here is the poor Chibberty in my shirt, which I had heard can calm a dog down in a thunderstorm. I don’t believe he was calmed by our laughter or this photoshoot.

In our little town, the moving of this house from its place by the cemetery, across the busiest intersection in town, and into the lot next door to the cupcake shop, was big news and a spectator event.

Hee Hee. A modification of the Fleming Street sign downtown where the road begins.

I bet my Walgreens is cooler than yours. Formerly the Strand Theater. The place where I spend buckets of money on athletic tape for my poor, injured footie.

As a reward for learning to swim, the Boogedy received Perplexus. Possibly the coolest toy ever invented. We are all addicted to this game. As Zach says “there’s no better reward for a physical workout than a toy that will put you on your butt for hours”.


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