My granddaughter, Elena, has a problem with swimming pools. Specifically, exiting them. I mean, she’s eight years old, so it’s not like we expect to tell her, “You have ten more minutes in the pool” and have her jump out ten minutes later. This is simply a way of setting expectations to mitigate the systemic shock when she does actually have to finally get out. For real.
We give her 2-3 warnings, then say, “Okay, you have to get out now.” But somehow she’s always across the pool and/or underwater, so she can’t hear us. So it usually takes five minutes from the point where she’s told to get out of the pool for her to actually climb out. Whatever.
Which brings me to the dive I did today at Atlantis Dumaguete in the Philippines. It was a beautiful reef/muck dive, about which I’ll say more later. This is about ending the dive.
We’d been out for a perfectly reasonable, actually generous, length dive, and had come back under the boat. Our group consisted of Lisa, me, and another Lisa (hereinafter “Smiley”, for avoidance of confusion).
It was our last muck dive of the trip, and we were sitting on seagrass in about 12 feet of water, 15 feet from the boat. The sun was beaming down and a cloud of tiny silver fish were playing in the first couple of feet of water above us. The sunlight glittered off their bodies as they moved as a mercurial whole, a sci-fi scene of a luminous alien.
Our divemaster, KF, was hanging on the bottom of the swim ladder, looking at us, wondering why we weren’t coming over, since the other group had gone up. Or maybe he knew.
Anyway, in that moment, I channeled my inner Elena Catherine, looked at Smiley, crossed my arms, squeezed my eyes shut, and shook my head vigorously from side to side.
The international dive sign for, “Nope, not going up.”
Then I turned, faced Lisa, and did the same thing. Elena, had she been there, would have understood and supported my position. She would wholeheartedly agree that going up, when we had plenty of air, and this magical fairyland setting, would be dumb.
But then I saw that neither Lisa was buying it. Silly grown-ups.
So I actually did a generous thing. I was last to come up on the previous dive, so I put on my big boy pants, kicked over to the ladder and the awaiting divemaster, and went up.
Giving the two Lisas a couple more minutes with the seagrass, sun, and tiny silver fish.