In 9th grade, i won the “Klutz of the Year” award at the High School Band Awards dinner.  i tripped over a music stand on my way to receive the trophy.

i have never been graceful.

In 2006 i got my SCUBA certification.  The same year i got divorced, became an empty-nester, and got cancer.  It wasn’t until 2009, when Studley became a certified diver, that i had a chance to put more than my toe in the water.

And it was life-changing…  We had quite an adventure in Cozumel!  Weighing myself down with far too much lead, unable to find neutral buoyancy, and being terrified during a night dive with a five mile per hour current did not dampen my enthusiasm for diving.

i wanted needed more. i’ve gotten it.

Not a cheap hobby by any stretch, so dive trips to sunny, warm-water locales with pretty colored fish have been a bit of a luxury.  Even so, we’ve managed some extraordinary excursions over the past five years.

The most recent adventure last week to The Cayman Islands is now tucked under my weight belt.  On this trip?  i hit the milestone “100th Dive”.  Celebrated with the dive boat crew, and my fellow divers.  It was a good thing that i was still dripping with sea water, or they might have noticed that i was crying…

How did i get here?


It wasn’t just the milestone dive that triggered tears.  That was just a number.  It was more than that…

No longer struggling to manage my air, i was returning to the boat with almost a third of my tank untouched after an hour underwater.  Buoyancy isn’t such an issue.  i can get in a very Zen-like trance floating alongside a coral wall at 100’… a wall that has no bottom for another 6,000 feet.  The gear doesn’t confuse me – i can easily rig my own stuff, and get in and out of the water without assistance — even perfecting the James Bond Backroll from the side of the boat!

It’s not really all of that.

Moving effortlessly underwater with a school of fish.  Face to face with a friendly grouper.  While most divers use a standard kick, or frog kick, to move along, i’ve adopted the double fin kick…

In the water, i move like a motherfucking mermaid.  For the first time in my life?  i am graceful. It feels good.


That’s me, doing the inverted photo-bomb as Studley and i explore a wrecked Russian frigate.  For once in my life, i am not clumsy.

It feels wonderful…

28 thoughts on “Bubbles

    • when i was swimming on a fairly regular basis, i remember that feeling… in the water, i’m a freakin’ ballerina! are you still getting to the pool? there’s a bit of magic in that feeling…

  1. Big smiles here at acheiving grace – – – Hmm perhaps I should reword that 🙂
    One day soon you will get the urge to do the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Bay – then there is the Red Sea and some wonderful sites in Indonesia – and – and – and –

    • Yes… more, more, more… 2/3 of the surface of the earth is covered with water, and now i can get to some of that! GBR is going to happen, as is Indonesia — but Pacific diving is a bit intimidating. The critters are a bit more toxic! Red Sea is on the radar screen – i’ve got a good friend who wants to do it as well, so we might meet up for an adventure next year…

      The thing that got in my head? In 2000, i was 250 pounds, and my body was horribly broken. A friend told me about diving in the Galapagos with her MOM – who was 70 at the time…. with the whale sharks! That was the moment i thought “this diving thing? maybe i can do it? whale sharks are amazing!” So Galapagos is also on the list… and – and – and -…. 🙂

  2. Not quite sure what to say here…congratulations and well done and fantastic all come over so twee.But I have had moments of supreme exhilaration, so I think when I say woosh!!!!!!!!!!! you know what I mean.

    • the ocean draws us in – we’re mostly water, so that sort of makes sense. feeling graceful… feeling… SMALL… it was just overwhelming this time. last week i spent 16 hours breathing underwater. that was a good week! 🙂

    • It is! And beyond the diving, i am in a beautiful location, with my phenomenal companion, hanging out with adventurous, smart, funny people… These dive trips feed my damn soul!

  3. I love the water, my mother used to call me a water baby. I never did get into the diving thing because of my sinus problems, but I have always loved the whole scuba thing.

    Congratulations on grace under pressure!

    • Likewise, i’ve always loved the water… one regret is that i didn’t have a chance to become a more serious swimmer, as that is perhaps the only ‘sport’ i could have done well (big shoulders, strong arms, thunder thighs). You could probably do a bit of snorkeling – there are locations where you can see quite a bit from near the surface!

      And i love the ‘grace under pressure’ line! Would have been a better title!

  4. I’m kind of shocked to hear that you’ve been on that many dives. I’ve been keeping track but I had no idea! Be safe out there.

    You got there because you worked your ass off. Long way from the flatlands of Ohio. Long way. Hope Sonny is okay. I was thinking about him the other day.

    • We’ve managed one or two dive trips per year – with 15-18 dives on each trip. We also had many certification dives in the sink holes of Florida as we were working our way through various training programs (Stress and Rescue was my favorite!). When i hit 50 dives, i was officially certified as a “Master Diver”, although i don’t feel like one…

      Yeah. i worked. From the time i was 16 i’ve always worked. And saved money for the years where we were ‘double income’, we lived on one and paid off the house rather than buy a larger, nicer house. So there’s that…

      The Boy is doing well – getting letters on occasion, and the rare phone call. Will be heading to his graduation in a couple of weeks! Pretty amazing…

  5. First off, big congrats on 100 dives!
    Awesome accomplishment!
    I’ve always felt more comfortable in the water.
    So calming!
    I swam competitively in school and miss it.
    Still keeping scuba diving on my list! 🙂

  6. I certified in 2009 and I am on 60 dives, same sort of story but without the cancer! I just love your Blog, it inspires me to keep mine up to date (The Adventures of Kerriann) Keep smiling, you are amazing xxx

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