First, I suck at blogging. I’m going to try and be a bit better at it, but no guarantees. It’s mostly because my extra LA activities usually only happen on the weekend but also because I am lazy. Anyways, moving along…
This past weekend I started my Open Water Scuba Certification course. I’ve been scuba diving in the Dominican Republic and absolutely loved it. Now that I live in SoCal I figure it is appropriate to actively pursue this as a hobby. Something about the underwater world is really enticing. I’ve been involved with swimming almost my entire life so being in the water feels very natural to me.
Saturday consisted of scuba “class” and pool training. I had to do this in the DR so admittedly it was a bit boring. But, these are the basics and necessary for being in the ocean. In the pool you learn what to do if you get water in your mask, what to do if your breathing unit comes loose, how to achieve neutral buoyancy, and how to ascend and descend properly. Neutral buoyancy is interesting because it is such a science. It’s not as simple as breathing in and out, it’s about controlling your breathing so that you move in the water. The last one is especially important, because if you ascend to quickly you can end up with a collapsed lung. Doesn’t sound very fun and I don’t intend on that happening.
Sunday is when the real fun began…with a 7am boat departure from Ventura. We went to Anacapa Island, part of the Channel Island. It is a beautiful island that is (mostly) untouched by man. The boat ride there was very choppy and rough. There was a point where I thought I might get seasick but managed to make it through (I honestly believe half the battle is mental when it comes to getting seasick). The same can’t be said for everybody in my class. Two got very sick and unfortunately couldn’t complete any of the 3 dives. We arrived at our first destination on the North side, called ‘Winfield Scott,’ geared up, and took our first “step” into the water. It’s amazing how heavy the gear is on land but how light it is in the water. In general the water is calm and soothing. A fun, quiet, and overwhelming place to be. We got to the dive line and down we went. Visibility wasn’t so great, but we explored for 40 minutes before returning to the surface. The underwater world is so vibrant and majestic, nothing like land. While under, there is this moment where you go “holy crap, I’m breathing UNDERWATER.” And that, my friends, is a wonderful moment.
We returned to the boat and were treated to some delicious food. The crew of our boat, called ‘Peace,’ were friendly, and helpful. Our second destination was on the South side, called “The Amphitheater.” This was my favorite spot for two key reasons. The first is because we got to see a pod of dolphins swim by. The second is because a sea lion came to play with us while diving. It’s fascinating to watch the sea lions interact with us, as they like to play games with the bubbles we blow, go behind us, and even bark! This is really what diving is all about, observing aquatic life in its natural environment. I think we sometimes forget how beautiful the Earth itself is, and this was a good reminder of that. Our third dive was on the East side of the island, called “Cat Rock.” Finished with surface skills and underwater tests. Not as exciting as the second dive, but peaceful.
As we were returning to the Ventura Port I thought to myself “Wow, I can’t think of anyplace else I’d rather be.” Can’t wait for next weekend and after that can’t wait to continue my scuba diving experience. My instructor told me I looked like a ‘merman’ underwater, so I guess I’m pretty good at it. Next dive site is Catalina Island! How was your weekend?
Till next time…