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[livejournal.com profile] molasses was talking about taking scuba lessons and it set me to think about my scuba diving.

My parents got me scuba gear for my seventeenth birthday, I seem to remember it was in part a reward for some accomplishment I think (my parents didn't do that much with me which is why it stands out). I was very excited about it since it's the closest thing you can get to being in a spacesuit on earth. Further, like most fat kids, swimming was a particular delight for me growing up, the bouyance and cooling the water provides made me feel normal like I could compete on a more even level with my peers. Then once I started taking the classes getting into all the science and math of figuring out dive tables (pre-dive computer) and understanding boyles law and the bernoulie principle and all the compressed gas sciences involved I was enthralled.

I did my Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications within a month and went diving almost every month after that. Most of the time I went in the east texas lakes near where I lived (particularly the Sam Rayburn resevoir), but I went out to the ocean a couple times. The best was a cool trip out to florida where, besides diving in the gulf where I saw a hammerhead and barracuda, I got to do down over 100 feet into some springs and explored the caves at the bottom. One of my peak experiences was being down there,taking off my tanks and BC to push in front of me into the limestone cave, and then after I got in there and my eyes adjusted and turning on the flash light seeing the strange field of grass spread out accross the cave. Then noticing the grass had eyes. Then seeing the huge (looked like 12 feet) mama swimming along the back of the cave and realizing these were baby eels.

Almost as exciting is having that happen, compulsively cheking the Air Guage and (since we were well into 4 atmosphers of preassure) beaing able to see the needle move when I took a breath and imagining a minor rock fall blocking me in and remmembering I can't let myself panic and have to control my breathing.

I hooked up with an older guy who was also a diver and had a buisness pulling up boat motors & props for yahoos stupid enough to take their big powerful bass boats over a not quite sunken log too fast. And did that off and onn my senior year. I collected half a dozen or so specialities (my favorite by far was deep diving something about being down way deep in the cold and the black with the strange transformation of the noise just was increadibly comforting) and then the summer I turned 18 got my rescue diver certification. I wound up taking a scuba class for PE in college and got my Dive Master certification.

I think the last time I went diving was my dive master certication practical. I left my gear with my parents and bits and pieces of it would up disappearing (I think my sister hocked them), I gained weight (which always made bouyancy control difficult), and I guess I gave up fantasizing I was ever going to be an astronaut. I haven't breathed through a regulator in nearly 20 years.

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litch

May 2009

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