It was always just one of those things I wasn’t.
But when I saw that first cuttlefish; watched it spread its tentacles and change colours from white to brown and back again as it moved effortlessly through the Sydney Harbour, I knew I’d been missing something.
I knew a lot of SCUBA enthusiasts, but I just wasn’t one of them. I’m not quite sure why it never crossed my mind considering my love of the ocean; the fact that all it took was one deep dive under Bondi’s rolling waves to relax me.
To be honest, that trip was never a part of my plan for 2015. I was planning to go to Europe with Seamus and Elaine for a month. I had just started looking into getting the time off when my brother mentioned that he was going to be in Honduras for a wedding around the same time.
We were texting every day, exploring the possibilities. That was when James told me that they were going to Roatán, so I googled it. What I found were pure white sands, turquoise waters and reviews of some of the best diving in the world.
Do you want to get certified to dive?
James did, but juggling one-year-old twins didn’t exactly lend itself time to getting pre-certified in Seattle and we wouldn’t have the time to do it all on Roatán. So, I would go it alone but, I would be adding diving to the long list of hobbies I’d collected through the past couple of years.
It started on a cold winter’s day in Sydney. In the early hours with the heat blasting, we drove through Sydney to the Victoria Park pool where we waited as long as we possibly could to change into our swimmers and brace our sun-loving skin against the cold winter air.
That first lesson was all about overcoming that weird and completely understandable anxiety of doing something as unnatural as breathing underwater. But the worst part of the day was having to go to the toilet in the middle of the lesson and peeling the saturated wetsuit off only to squeeze it back on, wet and cold.
That day ended in utter exhaustion, we all sat silently staring out the window of the truck as we drove back to Bondi.
My instructor broke the silence.
Make sure you continue diving, you’re a natural.
I smiled to myself in the back seat.
That evening, I lay in my bed my muscles completely fatigued, the smell of chlorine still on my hair and smiled until I fell asleep. I knew I had made an amazing discovery.
Three weeks later, as I stood with my certifiably child-size flippers at the edge of the Native Sons Dive Boat, I took a giant step into my first certified dive.
The waters around Roatán are fiercely blue. We swam into the current above the rocky reef and watched as sea turtles glided below. It was like hitting a wall when we finally reached the edge of the reef and were confronted by a crystal blue abyss so deep it appeared solid. That sight was perhaps one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. That moment became the first of many on this trip that would remind me just how small I was in the grand scheme of things. A reminder of just how much there was left to explore in this world of ours.
When we did finally crawl back onto the dive boat, just as the tropical rain stopped pelting down, I sat down exhausted and took a photo of my ecstatic smile just because I knew it would make my dive instructor smile back in Bondi.
I never did see that whale shark, though… guess I’ll just have to keep searching.