My whole week has been surrounded by thoughts of scuba diving this weekend. One minute I was nervous and the next minute I was excited. Justin was so supportive and reminded me often that he believed in me. He knew I’d be great.
Driving down to Muncie, I was anxious. What if storms? What if I die from a lightening strike? Okay, that’s too extreme. Well, what if the water is cold and I get frost bite? What if someone drops their weight belt on my head and I pass out? Do sharks live in the quarry?
Okay, stop, I told myself. Slow down. You are fine. You…are…fine.
Carol gave us a debriefing about the day while we were sitting in the dive shop. I started to get hot flashes. What if I don’t pass the skills? What if the water is pitch black?
Does my mind ever stop racing?
So my body started to sweat and my stomach started to turn. But I didn’t have a choice. I was about to do this no matter how scared I was.
Gearing up was a nightmare. I was so sweaty that my wet suit was sticking to my body and barely moving. It literally took two people, Justin and another lady, to pull my wet suit up over my wide hips. Story of my life, right? I felt like every movement was like a rubber band and my body retracted to the original place super fast. I would have felt better falling and rolling down the hill than trying to walk to the entry place.
Then I put the rest of the gear on: dress, boots, gloves, head mask. I was on FIRE! And since it was all 7 mm thick rubber, I was even more like a rubber band. I have never felt more uncomfortable in my life. I had no idea how I was going to swim since I could hardly walk. But the best part was I didn’t care that the wet suit was tight. Being too fat never crossed my mind. I just wanted to pass. I just wanted to swim.
Jumping into the water was instant relief, and it didn’t bother me that the temperature was only 55 degrees. Bring on the cold. I literally thought my body was going into hyperthermia.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a “first” Ashley Bedwell scuba dive if I didn’t have issues sinking right away. My feet were over my head and no matter what I tried, it was nearly impossible to get down. I was kicking people in the face and practically doing back flips. I probably looked like a wild fish caught by a happy fisherman.
Eventually, Carol came back up to the surface, told me relax, don’t kick at all, exhale, and sink. She is so smart; I sank almost immediately after that and down we went to the cold bottom.
I don’t remember much because I was constantly checking to see where Carol was and trying to hold my buddies hand. Justin wasn’t actually my buddy because I was with another student and he was supposed to stay behind us. But his wet belt came undone when he was trying to sink. Dropped 20 feet to the bottom and he shot right up to the surface. I was worried about where he went and didn’t even realize what happened until we came up to relax and prepare for our skills test.
The rest was incredible. I did my skin surface dive with all my gear on (minus the tank and regulators) to 12 feet on a breath hold dive, cleared my mask, and did all buddy breathing skills. After I passed all of my skills during the second dive, Justin was floating right next to me while Carol performed skills with my buddy. I looked over at him and gave him a regulator kiss. I could tell by his eyes that he was smiling and it made my heart melt. I love him so much and I am so glad he was able to share this experience with me.
The second dive was amazing. We got 35 feet deep and I was so proud of myself. The visibility wasn’t that great and the water was pretty cold when we got lower, but it was amazing.
I saw a toy alien (ET) and a metal shark, which made me laugh. If I came to the surface during a tornado, I would have faced all of my fears in one day.
In the most non-conceded way, I am so proud of myself. I moved a mountain. I did it. I really can’t wait to do it again.