Unknown to me, my subconscious mind was making observations and taking in data. Like a multi-core processor, it worked silently in the background, crunching its way to a solution to a problem I wasn’t even aware of while I went about my day to day affairs. Finally, a tipping point was reached, and both the problem and the solution erupted up from deep within the inner recesses of my brain.
That point was reached one morning while I had my head in the starboard lazarette checking the fluid levels in our batteries. I heard a thumping noise on the dock, and pulling my head out of the locker to investigate, I saw a wetsuit clad diver dropping his gear on the pier in preparation for diving on the bottom of the boat in the slip next to us.
Like a flashbulb going off (you do remember those, yes?), I suddenly thought, “We need to get certified to dive.”
I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t had this revelation before. We live on a boat, after all, and it seems like such an obvious skill to acquire and add to your hat locker. We currently pay a diver to clean our bottom monthly, and while we have no real interest in doing that job ourselves if we don’t have to, I’d sometimes pondered on how we’d handle this necessary job once we depart for our Life On The Hook™. Our boat seems to be burning zincs pretty fast here in the marina, and we’ll obviously need to keep an eye on those after we leave (if you don’t know what that means, then don’t worry, because it probably doesn’t matter since you most likely don’t have a boat). One very significant item that I guess really put my subconscious to work was a recent article I read in Cruising World about a group who were sailing to Cuba from Key West. Motorsailing after the wind died in the middle of the night, one boat wrapped a heavy fishing net around its prop in the middle of the Florida Straits. I hoped that something similar would never happen to us, because I honestly think we’re getting a bit old to be free diving under a pitching boat with a knife in our teeth, trying to hold our breath long enough to cut a thick net away from our prop.
But hope is not a strategy. We would need to have a way to deal with such a situation. We needed to get certified to dive, and then make sure we had the necessary equipment onboard if the need ever arose to go under the boat to take a look or fix something.
So that’s what we did. We’ve spent the last two weekends studying, learning, practicing, There were a few bumps initially as we learned to trust the equipment to keep us alive underwater, but nothing an extra pool session couldn’t fix. As for our open water dives, well, let’s just say that Mother Nature once more played her favorite sort of cruel trick on us. She made it cold. Like really cold. The morning of our final open water dives, it was 57 degrees on the beach, with a chill 20 knot wind howling from the north. If you’ve been following along at all, you know by now that Rhonda and I hate cold. Hate it like a Baptist preacher hates demon rum. Oh, we sucked it up and dealt with it. All I can say is that 57 degree air makes 72 degree water feel pretty damn good. But just to show you how capricious Mother Nature can be, it’s supposed to be sunny and 82 degrees next weekend.
Anyway, we did it. Rhonda and I are now both PADI certified divers. Which shows that these old dogs can still learn a few new tricks when we have to. 🙂