Floating peacefully above a tube sponge, I lift my legs above my head and drop my hands down, my fingers extending to the edge. Slowly, two cleaner shrimp scuttle up the inside of the tube, curious about what I am and whether they should give me a manicure. I’m hanging upside down, about 50 feet underwater. Jen is nearby, taking photos of a spiny lobster. I breathe slowly, enjoying my moment of upside-down calm. As I drift away and slide onto my back, I look up through the blue to the sun beating down and smile, quietly thrilled to be here in this world so different from the one we walk in.

I was the last of my immediate family to become a certified SCUBA diver and I have no one but myself to blame for that. I was terrified, knowing that making a mistake while diving could have grave consequences, and I didn’t trust myself. I firmly believed that if something happened on a dive that caused me to panic, I would shoot to the surface and my lungs would explode. Sometime during my first year of college I realized how ridiculous that was. The entire point of training is to learn how to dive safely, what to do – and what not to do – down there. I also realized that my understanding of potential risks was a bit simplistic. So that summer I got certified in Colorado, completing my open water dives in Chatfield Reservoir. The visibility was so bad that I couldn’t see which direction my bubbles went. But on the way home, I told my mother that I couldn’t wait to do more, just maybe somewhere with actual marine life to see.

DCIM100GOPRO spongebob

yellow coralIn the years since, I’ve seen shipwrecks, sunken statues, sharks, giant clams, eagle rays, turtles, squid, seahorses, lobster, crab, conch, eels, nudibranchs, anemones, fish of all sizes and shapes, coral formations that look like something drawn by an animator on acid, and so much more. And it never gets old. Watching an eagle ray glide through the water, spotting a shark resting under an overhang, seeing a parrotfish poop, snapping at Christmas-tree worms to scare them into hiding (they slither back out pretty quickly), noticing a sleeping squirrelfish under a coral ledge, glimpsing a turtle heading up to the surface for air: all of these things make me giddy.Blue Tang

Jen joined me in this sport in 2008 and took to it right away. The feeling of weightlessness, the quiet of hearing nothing but your own breath, the comfort of safely trespassing in an ecosystem in which we don’t belong, the breadth of marine life to see and wrecks to explore have left her just as hooked as I am. We have far more diving ahead of us and we’ll inevitably post about it from elsewhere in the world. But this is the last of our Honduras posts and we can’t think of a better way to end this series than with Jen’s video of our Bay Islands diving.

4 thoughts on “The Joy of Diving

  • January 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Great video guys! So colorful! Nice capstone to the Honduras posts for sure! Looks like your trip was amazballs indeed. I love the tiger shark and the sea turtle the best.

  • January 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks! We appreciate it! It’s a Nurse Shark, by the way. Much tamer than a Tiger Shark 😉

  • January 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    It will be great for Sheila and I to be included in your adventure via this medium. I envy/admire you both, its a wild thing your are up to! I’ve shared your posts with some of my diving friends, Sean Ring who is headed for a few weeks in Myanmar divivg, he did the Thailand dive thing last year, my son Chris and our friend Cheryl whose e-mail address is diver19@aol so gives you an idea of her interest in the sport. Best to you both, look much forward to following your Chase as you post, its really just about being focused in the moment, you two have certainly expanded the opportunities!

    • January 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks for the comments, Bob! We’re looking forward to diving in SE Asia but first we have some exploring to do in New Zealand!

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