Certifiable

29 07 2007

Well, it’s complete. I am certifiably a scuba-diver. If any of you are PADI-certified as well, we can be buddies and descend to 18 meters together. Exciting!

Turns out that scuba is pretty darn spiritual after all. The main focus in on deep and relaxed breathing, much like meditation. You actually don’t use your arms, and to control them, I kept my hands folded together, sort of in prayer stance. There’s a lot of Zen to the whole thing, as I would see a beautiful school of fish one minute, and the next, they’d be gone. Good practice for living in the present. One of the most important skills that we had to master was the hover. You sit like a Buddha, cross-legged and holding your fins in your hands, and try to float. No sinking, no rising. Simply hovering in mid-water. How spiritual is that?

I loved every second of it, from the fish to the turtles to the eels to the stingrays to the plants. Especially the plants. Underwater gardens galore.

In general, I have found that animals seem to like me. I must give off some friendly scent, unfortunately to dogs and mosquitos alike, but I was pleased to see that fish followed suit. Many a school let me swim with them, surrounded me with their colors and fins. Now, when I close my eyes, I see schools of little blue fish swimming. Sort of like after a long game of Tetris. Clearly, I prefer fish.

So, the beginning of the end. Today and tomorrow are wind down days. One of my favorite travel companions, a French-Canadian named Nicholas, is finishing out the trip with me. He was in my scuba class, and on Monday, I was worried, because he didn’t seem to understand the movies and got all the answers wrong on every quiz. I swore that I’d never be his buddy underwater, as I was convinced he’d forget to check my air supply or misunderstand how to see if my vest inflates.

However, assumptions are no good. Nicolas, as in Petit Nicholas for all of you French speakers, turned out to be a gem. He’s fantastic at spotting underwater creatures and his enthusiasm is outright hilarious. He takes such pleasure in introducing me to places on the island, even though he knows it only as well as I do.

Every meal, he exclaims, “You will not believe where I going to take you! Guess what I have to show you! You would like the grilled fish, no?” (read in French accent, please). After lunch one day, he said to me, “This is the lunch I have dreamed about, but never knew existed.”

We decided to boat out to some Cayes today, but we needed two more people to make the trip affordable. I went to bed and he went out to bars to make friends for our journey. 

In the morning, he greeted me with, “You will not believe what I have found for you!” On his right was a teacher from Boston. On his left, he displayed a Brit named Tommy who had a black eye. It turned out that Tommy also had deformed toes, and Nicholas was so excited that he began to photograph them. “Do you see the amazing kind of people I bring for you?” he asked me.

(Halfway through the day, Nicholas confessed to me, “I am not sure that his name is Tommy. Does he answer to it when you call him? He might be Angus.”)

How fun to have a character like this around at the end of my time. I have been blessed with lots of good scuba and life buddies around these parts.

Well, team, it’s time for the big parade on the island, so I gotta run and see my Spanish teacher in action. This very well may be entry finale. Maybe I’ll keep up the blog thing, but I’m not sure.

Just in case, I’ll end with a good joke that Natalie learned in Spanish and taught to me.  I’ll translate it into English, but it won’t be the same.

Here goes: “What is the last animal that God made?”

Our answer: Delfin. (translation…dolphin). Del Fin. The End.

If you don’t get it, I apologize. However, given that I saw some dolphins today, it feels particularly appropriate for my ending.

I arrive in NYC…slight rerouting…late Monday night/early Tues a.m. The cell phone is in Boston, so I won’t get to it until Thursday. If you know me well enough to want to talk and to know my mom’s phone number, call away. Otherwise, we’ll be in touch soon.

Lots of love and thanks for tuning in.

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One response

27 08 2007
Bokie

Will you marry me? Thanks
Bokers

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