Scuba diving? Yeah, sure, why not?

16 Apr

When we got back to Santa Marta I happened to be going to the same part of town as two of the Germans, Lorin and Janina. My plan was to just walk back to the center, check in to another hotel for a couple of days, and make it back to Bogota sometime before my flight back to Quito on Tuesday. But they had other plans, they were going to Taganga, which is only 20 minutes away but is full or gringo tourists and dive shops. I had been there, mainly to check out the beach, but wasn’t interested in being in such a touristy town. But they were going for the scuba diving and invited me to tag along, which is exactly what I did.

I ended up getting along with both of them really well, and I kind of replaced their third amigo that was in the van with us but was going off on his own adventure. Lorin and Janina were both college students from Berlin who were in Colombia for a few weeks as part of an end of the course excursion. Their travels with their fellow classmates reminded me a lot of my experience in Sevilla with my fellow Texas Tech classmates. They were done with that though and now travelling on their own. Neither one of them spoke much Spanish (their trip was more culturally and history based than linguistically) so I was happy to be their unofficial translator.

Janina was an experienced diver and really wanted to do some diving, so we spent our fist day looking for a dive shop. Turns out Lorin was not very interested in diving and after thinking about it for a while I decided it would be an amazing experience I could not turn down. It was only going to cost me $70 and seeing as I had no experience whatsoever I thought when would I have this opportunity again? I mean what other country besides Colombia lets you do things like that with no experience? So we got up early the next day, I watched a 45-minute instructional video, we geared up and hopped on a boat. All together there were six of us on the boat, two instructors, two beginners, and two advanced divers. The other beginner and I were dropped off at the ‘playa de ensenanza,’ or ‘learning beach’ with one of the instructors, Ruben. He went over the basics again, this time in Spanish (the video I watched was in English) and we got in the water. At first we just dipped our heads under water and got a feel for breathing under water. Now for somebody who has never tried it before, let me tell you that it is a very different sensation and takes some getting used to. The body is not used to it and at first it is very uncomfortable. We are not meant to breathe underwater! But I got the hang of it and eventually Ruben and I went about ten feet down and he did some tests with me. The first test was to remove the mouthpiece while continuously exhaling, then returning the mouthpiece and breathing in. After that we did the same thing, only this time I had to completely let go of the mouthpiece, then find the cord it was attached to, then returning it to my mouth. The third and final test was to purposely fill up my goggles with water, to practice removing it. This is done by looking up and applying pressure to the top part of the mask, then a strong exhale from the nose. The air pressure pushes the water out of the bottom of the mask.

After I successfully completed these three tasks Ruben and I swam around the bottom for about twenty minutes until we ran out of oxygen. The poor girl that went with us didn’t go with us because she just couldn’t get the hang of it. She was waiting for us with everyone else up at their cabin, where lunch was served. Lunch was bologna and cheese sandwiches and some Coca-Cola. The main thing I remember about it were all the flies, they were everywhere. But it was actually a really nice spot a few hundred steps up from the beach. We actually could have stayed there for the night, but we had a plane to catch the next day. Janina was waiting for us up there and excitedly told me all about her first dive.

After a relaxing lunch, we set out for our next dive. This Marco took the three of us that knew what we were doing (I sort of knew) down. I enjoyed that dive even more because there were four of us. We saw all sorts of fish, oceanic plants and corral reefs. The reefs are supposedly what make this part of Colombia special, because they are so close to land. That’s good for beginners like me because we don’t have to go very deep to see amazing things!

Overall I am really happy that I went diving. It’s great to look back and say that I’ve done it. But the truth is it was not easy. It was very different getting used to breathing underwater and trusting the equipment. It’s something that I’d like to do again, but I also don’t think I’m going to become a diving fanatic. People are just not meant to be underwater, but I guess were not meant to fly either and that doesn’t stop me from flying to all these amazing places!!

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