Last Time I Was In Napa

November 02 2016

Skipping the Napa story: onto diving.

I highly suggest everyone give diving a shot, at least once. I'm glad I did.

I've never been a water person. When I was younger, my older sister was an avid swimmer. She was good at it. As all younger siblings do, I wanted to be just like her. I asked my mother to enroll me in the swim club, too.

I just wasn't made for the water. It was cold, I couldn't touch the bottom of the pool, and I hated getting it up my nose. After my first practice, the club coach told my mom that ""maybe I should try other sports"". In many cases, this would be deflating. Can't say I was mad in the least bit: with every mouthful of water I spit out, I knew she was right. I quit, and built my adolescent years around other (land) sports.

Fast forward to every beach trip ever through age 18, and I still hated water. I hated how big the ocean waves were. I watched my sister get pinched by crabs 3 times (each time, she went digging for them, so she asked for it). Also, in the mid-Atlantic area, I couldn't ever see what I was sharing my space with. Risk salt in my nose and possibly step on sea life? No thanks.

Just after college, I explored some southeast Asian countries with a friend of mine. We ended up having more days in Thailand than anticipated, so we took the extra time to get all the way out to Ko Tao. Ko Tao, Thailand, is a small island known for turning out new PADI certified divers in troves (and for being beautiful!). Diving in the area is quality and super convenient.

Knowing my aversion to water, I assumed I'd spend my time on the beach. However, one thing I'm really good at doing is committing to things I'm fundamentally opposed to before I really think them through, so naturally, I agreed to try diving.

Through a PADI program called DSD, Discover Scuba Diving, uncertified divers can give the sea a whirl under the close supervision of a dive master.

I signed up for the course.

We got in the boat, put on the equipment, and jumped in. I didn't even panic throughout the introductory lesson.

However, I did begin to panic the first few times I was submerged. I'll admit, it was unsettling. You can feel out of control of the situation at first: once you're under water, you can't just shoot up to the surface if you feel panicked. Also, your breathing is controlled through a regulator, which feels strange. No massive, quick breaths-- you know, the kind you want to take when you're panicking. It's incredibly uncomfortable and unnatural at first, and is almost distracting.

But then you look around: You see rays glide over the sand, and eels peek out of their rocks. You see coral that hides away at your movement, and sneaks back out as you wait. You swim through massive schools of fish, light reflecting off of their scales like glitter. You notice the rhythmic sway of the shark's tale as it swims slowly, peacefully past you. You feel weightless, and surprisingly, careless.

The ocean is an incredible world. It took me a few days to get over the parts that felt unnatural, but I realized I wanted to see it again. Despite my innate aversion to water, I ended up getting diving certified in Ko Tao.

Give yourself the opportunity to get lost in some of the most peaceful, beautiful moments you could ever experience. It's incomparable to anything else on earth.

Some other musings:

Tuesday is a great reason for the good wine.

Pets are wonderful family members. Save a life, adopt.

One of my favorite foods is from a local burger joint. It's a bacon, egg and cheese burger-- on a grilled doughnut. Sweet, salty, and highly recommended. If your cholesterol will tolerate it, make your own version.

I love to travel, and would be happy to hear about your favorite places to visit-- particularly in Sonoma or Napa. Or your favorite diving locations.

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