Scuba, anyone??

Ok, so we’ve already established that basically, I am rubbish at sports. Always was, no doubt always will be. My sad little attempt to master the art of horse-riding many moons ago left no illusions on that score.

But despite the humiliation of that hapless endeavour, I still wasn’t quite ready to give up and just a few months later had persuaded my partner-in-crime (a.k.a. long-suffering-hubby) to join me on one more ‘fun’ sporting adventure. Scuba diving. In the city of Amsterdam.

I know, I know, perhaps a tad unrealistic given my lifelong fear of water smothering my face – but somehow, it seemed vaguely achievable. For a while.

So where to get lessons… well in those days (we’re talking 20 years ago!) it was a case of browsing telephone books and ‘asking around’. No internet, no Google! Someone, somewhere recommended a ‘PADI’ diving course to me. It sounded good. Professional. Manageable. We hopped along to an introduction day, and by the time the woman-in-charge had assured me I could always buddy-up with hubby and would be allowed to go-slow in the early weeks, we’d signed on the dotted line for their 12-week course.

Five weeks later, we headed off to the first session: theory. By now my Dutch was reasonable if not fluent, so I struggled a bit but left feeling quietly confident, this time I would not be bested! Lesson two however, the start of the ‘practicals’ was a different kettle of fish. Entirely.

In the bright lights of the swimming pool’s changing room, I glanced around at the other women, noting the athleticism of their bodies. Hmm. Slightly intimidating. Skinny (then), with muscles that knew best how to drag me out of bed and into a car, I slithered into my bikini with no small amount of trepidation.

Reminding myself that I could start slowly, I headed towards the pool, my newly purchased goggles hanging around my neck, my flippers clutched in a nervous fist, my oxygen tank strapped to my back. The whole group was waiting for me in the water, standing in a circle. No one spoke. I sat down heavily on the edge of a small wall, and tried to put on my flippers.

For some reason, the damn things refused to fit onto my feet. Shoving my toes in got me nowhere and after five failed attempts I was in danger of becoming upended from the tank on my back and my feet seemed to be doubling in size even as I watched them. I heard a shout, ‘wet your flipper, then your foot slides in!’. The group was becoming impatient. Two minutes later I was all flippered up, feeling more frog-like than any woman ever should but – hey – I was on my feet! My rubber feet. God they were huge! how the hell was I to walk into the pool??!

With all eyes on me, I took a step forwards. The flipper swayed, I wobbled precariously, took a step backwards. Fervently wished for the tiled floor to swallow me whole, then tried again. No dice. Suddenly, hubby was beside me, ‘it’s ok, just turn around and walk backwards’ he whispered. Minutes later we were in the water. Glares of irritation floated my way, I ignored them and focused on the instructor,

“we’re all going to float to the bottom now” she said, expertly popping in her mouthpiece and vanishing into the water in one smooth action. The rest followed suit. I popped in my mouthpiece but when I tried to sink to the bottom of the pool, discovered that I couldn’t. My legs kept rising to the surface and my flippers looked like shark fins, floating wildly above the waves.

Hubby was struggling equally. We thrashed around for a full minute, legs going in all directions, and I could feel the giggles rising as a realisation of what we must look like to the waiting would-be divers down below, hit me.

Suddenly, the instructor resurfaced, her eyes flashing furiously, “what’s wrong now?” she gurgled, “did you two not put on your weight belts?”. Damn, no we hadn’t. I caught his eye, and laughter burst forth. It was more than she could take, “I hope you’re going to work very hard here” she barked, making me laugh all the more, “this is a serious sport!”.

Oh Gawd. Now I knew I was in trouble!

Scuba diving lessons
My flippers were floating above the water like shark fins
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44 thoughts on “Scuba, anyone??

  1. You know… I’ve just worked it out!

    They actually exported you. Ireland could not dare having two of you on this one island… I mean… you and a sister! I pity the Europeans. NO, I don’t!! They’re blessed to have you running their continent!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heehee… Thanks!! Big smiles over here. Well I had a wonderful American manager in my last job who started life as a jazz musician and was full of fun. We were working for a major bank at the time, all very serious stuff but I had so much fun there, he used to call from one end of the floor to the other “where’s my Irish rose”. As I see it, ya gotta make the fun happen, regardless.
      And stay away from swimming pools, hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a lot of sympathy for you because I have also always been rubbish as sport (unlike my brother, who was great at everything). I’d like to try scuba one day, though. To that end, I’ve started work on creating my own built-in weight belt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!! Excellent! That way, u can’t ever forget to bring it along, a win-win! At this stage I am progressing fairly well myself in that direction… But after that experience I decided to stick to low-level snorkeling from then on and considered myself quite marvelous to do just that, in one meter of sea water! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t usually associate Amsterdam with scuba diving!
    I think it’s sad that the instructor was so harsh. That attitude has probably driven away a lot of curious people over the years, which is unfortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. And u r completely right of course, not a city sport as such, but it seemed interesting initially… For future use on vacations etc. oh well. I got over it, and (after much badgering) even got 90% of my fee back. And so we learn.

      Like

    1. Yes well, some things in NL r taken a lot more seriously than they would in Ireland, or other countries I imagine. This was one, and it is from quite some years ago but I find it amusing to think back on. No worries! Thanks for the visit! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not very long!!! 🙂 but I will post a second part, because there is a bit more mirth to share. And mild embarassment. My husband finished the course and was rewarded with one dark, gloomy dive in freezing, grey waters. Couldn’t see a thing so I didn’t really feel I missed out, after all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, well I laughed when he told me no one could see a thing… I would have hated that and felt all panicked. Just as well I eventually opted out. But I would not recommend the PADI courses, far too rushed.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Oh I think it was really a wish to learn a new skill, together, and as with my horse riding episode, there r very few sports we both find interesting or attractive! And as we travel to the South of France every summer, it would have been nice to be able to go scuba diving now and then! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very funny story, Gerie! You were very brave to try scuba diving, I would never dare do that although it would be great to see all the weird and wonderful creatures that live under the sea! xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha, thx! Yes well I had that idea also, how nice it would be abroad etc but NL is not a place for it and they had NO patience whatsoever!! U should have seen me in the flippers… 🙂

      Like

  6. Oh, wow, when your teacher tells you, “This is serious!” Run, don’t walk, run to the nearest exit because that teacher #1 Has no sense of humor so why is that person a teacher? #2 Takes herself/himself and the subject matter much too seriously so again, why is that person a teacher? Yikes, that woman expected you to already know the basics that you and your husband were there to learn! I’m glad you and your husband laughed and laughed right in front of her because it was truly funny that the two of you were thrashing around like shark bait lol! I hope her teaching method improves and that she can somehow realize that her method so far is condescending, rude, and intimidating to newbie scuba divers. You are such a great writer, sweetie, because your descriptive and wonderful storytelling abilities had me imagining that whole scenario and I was laughing my arse off! Good job Gerie! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, thanks hon! Glad to have made u laugh, that’s what this blog is all about haha!! And thx for the lovely compliment, so sweet. There is more to come but oh hes, u r so right, she was USELESS. And really bad mooded, especially for a total novice like me, who was already nervous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awful that you pay good money and take good time to be taught about scuba diving from a useless teacher, grrrr! Maybe you should file a complaint and then perhaps whoever hired that moron might replace her with a teacher that can actually teach! I can’t wait until I read the rest of this saga 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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