Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Hitting the books.
It was a perfect day for studying. Meaning? It was pouring rain. Supposedly doesn’t make a difference in the water but did make a difference above ground. The notorious sand fleas and mosquitos of Utila were out in full force and bug spray was almost completely ineffective. I was beginning to look like I had chicken pox although Adrian remained almost unscathed. It didn’t help that Cross Creek Dive Centre was located on the boggy Cross Creek where the bugs were thickest. I covered up as much as I could in the muggy weather and lounged on our deck plowing through the reading material, briefly chatting to the American couple staying in the room next to us. He already had his certification so she was doing his so they could dive together. Which meant he was a little bored at the moment. They were only on a brief two-week vacation and were jealous of our trip. They were the first people we’ve met that haven’t been on big trips. It seems like everyone and there dog is doing a RTW trip so it was nice to be reminded that what we are doing is special.
By late afternoon the weather cleared up just in time for our first class indoors – of course. Actually it wasn’t a class so much as an oral test of the material. With just the two of us, it went by quite quickly, leaving us plenty of time to watch the accompanying videos for the next four hours. It was a lot to take in and we hadn’t even hit the water. I worried that it would be too much to remember especially when the consequences for not remembering stuff could be death. But Ita told me that once we were actually doing stuff with the gear it would all make more sense.
I was still really nervous about diving. I’m a control freak and relying on equipment to keep me alive underneath the sea is kinda scary because it’s out of my control. Plus all the skills we have to do look scary. It didn’t help that the skills were all things you need to do in case something does go wrong under water – although I kept being told that was very, very, very rare. And Ita insisted that diving was easier than swimming or snorkeling and was going to teach us how to free dive (snorkeling underwater) too. I hoped it would be easier. Because tomorrow we were heading out for our first day underwater. Gulp – I hoped we’d be ready.
Over dinner, we met Ellen, a Swedish girl who was a diving addict. She was just here for some fun dives and was considering doing her divemaster. I told her I was scared and she told me there was nothing to worry about. She’d been on the road for 3 months and was headed in the opposite direction. And she became the third person we’d met to tell us to go to Colombia, especially if we end up loving diving. Colombia is not only beautiful, it’s also another cheap and good place to dive. However, weather money and time will be the deciding factor about Colombia. We were seeing more rain and that could mean the start of the rainy season – which could make roads hard to travel and some destinations hard to enjoy.
Despite all my fears, it was nice to be back in school. At the end of the course, we’ll have accomplished something that we never would have done before and that’s one of the goals of this trip. As well, the course has given me an opportunity to collect more gold stars and happy faces, hopefully that would continue tomorrow.