Thanks to my mother’s 1980s crush on Harry Hamlin, I spent my early childhood on Clash of the Titans overkill – resulting in both a mistrust of men with really long beards and a healthy fear of the sea. But when I booked a trip to Fiji’s Coral Coast, I realized it was time to muster the courage to scuba dive.
Initially, it was only anticipated Voice of Unreason from my appalled friends of, “you went all the way to the warm, coral-lined waters of Fiji and you didn’t go scuba diving!?!” that gave me a nudge; but ultimately, it was the sixth glass of cabernet that sealed the deal.
So I did it. And for those of you considering the same fate, here’s a little knowledge I retained from the experience:
Don’t Ride the Sea Turtles: Their massive shelves are just screaming for a saddle, but you must sign a waiver pledging not to “harass the sea life.” As I assumed a breach of contract resulted in the release of the Kraken, I reluctantly obeyed. Not worth it.
Don’t Hum the Theme to Jaws: It makes people oddly uncomfortable. But if you do actually see a shark, creating a fin with your hand on your head is apparently an appropriate gesture.
Don’t Hold Your Breath: Although it’s initially quite scary, you eventually get used to sounding like Darth Vader using a water pipe.
Don’t Smile for Pictures: It’s terribly salty.
Don’t Sit on the Coral: Coral is the “your fajita skillet is extremely hot” of the sea. You know you shouldn’t touch it, but damn it’s tempting. When they later pour vinegar over your gaping wounds you finally get the picture.
Don’t Get on a Plane Within 24-48 Hours of a Dive: Fortunately I did not learn this the hard way, I just once saw a really gruesome episode of House.
In the end, it was an absolutely incredible experience and I intend to get certified on my next trip. Until then, I’m going to scale back my underwater adventure movie-watching to the Disney variety.