Friday, April 3, 2009

Shark Attack! Day 2

Ironically, one of the least scary things about the dive were the sharks. Grey nurse sharks, leopard sharks, white tipped sharks and black tipped sharks are pretty mellow. To be sure, they are quite intelligent, but they are mainly just interested in seeing what you are up to before swimming away again. On the other hand, the breathing underwater thing was much more frightening, something I hadn't even given much thought to beforehand. It was standing on the edge of the tank, doing training when all of a sudden, the entirety of my survival instincts went:

Survival instincts: What are you doing?!!! HUMANS AREN'T MEANT TO BREATH UNDERWATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Logical part of my brain: Oh dear god, you are right. But it will be so much fun!
Survival instincts: Land is good. Underwater is not. YOU HAVE LUNGS NOT GILLS.
Logical part: But I already paid! I HAVE TO DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Survival instincts: SO not my fault if you drown and have a horrible death getting gnawed on by the giant grouper.
Logical part: Thanks ever so much for cleaning that up.

Needless to say this debate went on for a few minutes until we actually practiced going underwater, just kneeling. I was much calmer after that, just getting used to breathing through the mask and focusing on keeping my breath nice and even. (Take that survival instincts, I can too breathe underwater.)
Do you see the terror in my eyes? Okay, terror might be a bit strong so let's go with serious apprehension.Notice how I'm not looking at the diving instructor at all? That is because we are simply on the ledge at the top of the regular tank and the fish and sharks are SWIMMING BY AND AROUND US WHILE WE TRAIN. Usually, they do training in the holding tank but since they are getting ready to transport/sell the lemon sharks there were 5 sharks just circling in there. Why were the lemon sharks being sold? Because they started eating everyone else in the tank. I'm quite pleased that we were not training in the very small (comparatively) holding tank with 5 restless sharks. Just saying. Second thing to notice: see how my hands are neatly folded together instead of at my side? This is because fish and sharks associate hands out with being fed (they are hand fed to assure that each one gets to eat instead of just the strongest). If you wave your hands all about they come over and want to be fed. I didn't really want to leave the tank with less than 10 fingers so dorky clasping, check.While waiting for everyone to reach the bottom we stood in line, holding hands. S., my diving buddy, and I didn't let go for most of the dive. I think we were each a bit nervous. It's also incredibly disorienting underwater. What I should have thought of in advance: bobby pins to get my bangs down. They weren't in my face or anything but they look a bit strange in the photos. I was wearing a headband that day and just didn't think about it, I was more giddy about swimming with SHARKS.So there was no zoom on this last photo, this is the nurse shark up close and personal. Lovely teeth eh? We did find some great teeth on the floor of the tank. I want to make mine into a necklace but it's Really sharp. I'll probably need to file it down a little first.This really big fish is Paulie, a grouper. Apparently, they once found a human head inside the stomach of one of these bad boys. Who knows, it would certainly fit though.
Imagine going to the aquarium with your kids one Sunday morning. You are by the side of this Gigantic tank oohing and ahing over the sharks and fish when suddenly a bunch of divers get in and start wandering around. Everyone was smiling, waving, pointing, and taking pictures of us.Me, underwater, with a mohawk and freakishly white hands giving "Asian Fingers" as they have been dubbed by a friend of mine. Yes, I risked getting nibbled on by a tuna for this picture. It was completely worth it.Thirty minutes later, here we are getting out. I was shaking pretty hard by that time from the cold. It's not too bad when you move around but we were standing still doing training for awhile. If I ever go diving again, I want it to be in tropical waters. Tropical I tell you.Look how happy I look! This is just after getting out. A minute later the instructor notices how hard I'm shivering and gets my tank off first so I can run to the showers and warm up. Overall, the dive was a blast and as it got put "a life experience." I mean really, how many people can say I went swimming with sharks?

Tonight is a ladies night. We are going to Dr. Fish, where you sip on beer while you put your feet in a pool and have fish nibble at your calluses. This seems to be a theme lately, the fish. I love ladies nights, you get to hang out with all of the girls and people generally feel obligated to stick together and not flirt too much until later in the evening. It's good fun and most men are too intimidated to come over and bother you. Will probably regale you all with stories on Sunday or Monday.


Nancy K said...

Blue lips and shivering, even in a pool in the summer when you were really small. Great pictures. I love the people watching.

Jessica said...

Yay, more pictures. Jealousy ensues. Got to register for summer courses now. Tonight is the BCL Showdown, wish me luck. Hopefully Rob will take pictures.

Alex said...

Glad you like the pictures!

Anonymous said...

That looks like so much fun! I think I'm going scuba diving this summer