A SCUBA Success

Hello Dear Readers!

Do you see that title up there? Do you?

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That’s right. I successfully scuba dived!

It’s a wonder what peer pressure will do for you. After leaving Airlie Beach, I had literally one day in Cairns before heading over to Alice Springs (and the Outback). After my most recent failure at scuba diving (not two days before) I was content to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. But I don’t know, maybe I was all jazzed up about the skydive, or maybe I couldn’t bear the look of incredulous disappointment on Katie and Shuaib’s faces when I told them I wasn’t going to dive, but I went ahead and signed up for scuba diving. Again. Third time’s the charm?

And it was!

This last time I was able to hold the panic at bay. It helped that it was a really simple beginner’s dive, and I clutched the instructor’s arm the entire time I was doing it, but scuba dive I did. Not just once, twice.

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It went so well that the instructor suggested I get open water dive certified. Lol.

Anyway, we had a fantastic time, and after the two dives were over, we still had plenty of time to snorkel, which we spent looking at fish and attempting to teach Shuaib how to dive underwater, which was…less than successful.

 

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But Katie and I looked good.

-Carissa “Scuba Master” Rawson

A SCUBA Disaster

Hello Dear Readers!

You guys remember how I talked about going to get my SCUBA open water certificate? Remember how excited I was?

Yeahhhhh.

Our third day started all right, as David and I headed out to the dive center in order to begin our certification. After 5 hours of classroom work (sitting and watching videos), we finally managed to get out and get our gear. Every certification class starts with pool dives, to teach you all the basic skills before trying your hand in open water.

It wasn’t so bad, at first. Our instructor made us swim laps and then float around to prove our competency in water (easy), and then we climbed into our wetsuits. We figured out our air tanks, slipped into the water, and then pulled the gear on. Not bad, right?

I have to tell you, the feeling of breathing underwater is pretty unreal. Snorkeling does a decent simulation of it, but nothing prepares you for those first few breaths from a regulator and air tank.

Now, I have claustrophobia, which almost never impacts my life. I simply loosen seat belts, avoid tiny boxes, and otherwise stay out of possibly compromising situations. Do you guys see where this is going? If so, you’re smarter than me, because I didn’t.

I did all right, all the way until we were required to remove our air supplies and throw them away. We then had to find them, put them back in our mouths, and clear them of water. Unfortunately for me, my mask was crappy and ill-fitting, which meant every time I cleared the regulator, my mask popped off my face and filled with water.

This gave me the very real and uncomfortable feeling of drowning.

We had to do this several times, and every time my discomfort grew, until finally I couldn’t take it anymore and popped up out of the water. Dragging my mask off my face, I tried to calm down, while the instructor looked on in concern.

There were only 4 of us total, David and I, who were learning, the instructor, and a guy named Paul who was learning to become a Divemaster. Thus, when I had to pause, everyone surfaced and spent 5 long minutes staring at me. Anyone ever calmed down under pressure? Yeah, I thought not.

I finally managed to catch my breath and get situated again, so back down we went. Our next task was then to purposefully fill our masks with water and sit with them on your face. I did manage to do this, as horrific as it was, but my panic levels were sitting pretty near the surface.

Thus, when the next task came, and the instructor came to take away my air supply, I scrambled away.

It was too much. I surfaced again, and this time I couldn’t calm down enough to try again. The feeling of all that water overhead, with no way out and no way to fix things if something goes wrong…it was not something I could handle. I usually pride myself on being able to take on most anything, but you guys, it takes a certain kind of person to willingly fake drown themselves under 60 feet of water. I am not that person.

David is though! He successfully completed his SCUBA certification, and has provided me with lots of lovely photos for the blog:

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I spent the next two days hanging out with Steve and Deja, which I’ll tell you guys about soon.

-Carissa “Not the Drowned God” Ragland

Beautiful Bali

Hello Dear Readers!

So I finally finished out my Europe/Middle East trip, and just yesterday made it home back to the United States. My flight took off from Madrid at 10am and I landed safely in Sacramento at midnight. It was a horribly long amount of time to travel, but Nala was very well behaved and I even made a few new friends who were stuck sitting next to me (for like…8 hours).

I managed to stay a full 30 hours in California, during which time I did a load of laundry (that’s all my clothes, really) ate real Mexican food, went to a concert (my kid brother’s band concert) and bought some new things from Target. I love America!

Alas, I am now back aboard a plane, currently headed to Houston. There, I’ll be meeting David, Steve (David’s older brother), and Deja (sister-in-law). We’re heading from Houston to Bali, with a day-long layover in Singapore. It should be fun. (This is all past tense. The flight was super long and we crashed out in the lounge in Singapore for the entire day).

Did I show you guys pictures of the Villa we got in Bali? AirBnB also does luxury rentals, and we’ll be staying there for about $150/night. I’ll be sure to take some good photos while we’re out there.

We’re doing all kinds of amazing stuff: an ATV ride on the beach, a nighttime hike past a blue fire volcano, snorkeling, aaaaand getting Scuba certified! I felt like it was really time, since I’ve got so many upcoming trips where the diving is supposed to be amazing. (Great Barrier Reef, anyone?)

Tales of our adventures to follow!

-Carissa “Scuba Steve” Ragland