My whole body, head to toe is emerged beneath the chlorinated water and I am hesitant to take my first gulp of air. Clenching the regulator between my teeth, I inhale. The feeling is so unfamiliar, but truly an amazing sensation.
Scuba diving had changed my life from that moment on.
In spring of 2012, I attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo for a semester and there they had a deal on a PADI open water diving certification. I decide “when in Rome” am I right, or should I say “when in Hawaii”! I was very excited to start this under water adventure.
After the class and pool training we did 4 open water dives in the ocean. I realized from this that I wasn’t drinking enough water because I was feeling a little dizzy and sick ish when I would come up from a dive. I also found out that diving makes me very cold under the water no matter what and that I eat a ton of food when I am done.
Mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness
Why is this you ask? Many people in the world have the opportunity to see the sea let alone to explore what is beneath its surface. It is quite spectacular to be able to live like a sea creature for a short amount of time, just long enough to begin to wonder more and more about its depths. And for the flip side of that, anything could go wrong. Yes, we have training for this to prevent accidents and prepare ourselves in case of any accidents.
Later I came to realize that I feel so much safer when I’m underneath the water rather than floating on top. You are then apart of the environment, a foreign creature that is aware of your surroundings.
I will tell you an important story leading to my decision.
My first dive after my certification dive was a night time Manta Ray dive. From the start of the day all the way to the end was much more than I had ever expected. On this St Patty’s day, I jumped on the boat and headed to the dive site. Along the way, we saw a humpback whale nearby, spinner dolphins riding the bow, and a manta ray breach. Then we have a day time dive to familiarize ourselves a bit with the dive site, but also to see some other organisms of the sea. Our night dive was specifically to see the mantas. It is hit or miss really, no one ever knows if one manta will show up or two dozen. Yes! It was our lucky night! About 20 manta rays presented themselves. We held flashlights above our heads so that these large animals would swoop just above them sweeping all the plankton into their mouths.
Let’s get to the point, why did it change my life?
In awe, I knew I needed to change my goals. I was a biology major, but thought the medical field was my calling. Keeping biology was the still the goal, but dropping the medical aspects and adding marine science courses was still the best decision I made.
If I never signed up for scuba diving I may have not ever learned that my true calling was not in a hospital, but yet in our great oceans.
Lastly, I have traveled to places just to go diving too. So it is supported by my passion to see the world.
Moral of this story is get out there and try something new! You may never know if you will fall in love with something if you aren’t brave enough to try new things.