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Remain Calm

Two friends and I went out scuba diving against the recommendation of the local divemaster. This was a very stupid idea and I knew it going in, but was frustrated that the conditions weren't good and really wanted my friends to get to scuba before they left. So we went out.

The main issue was the waves crashing against the lava rocks on the shore. We noticed, though, that they came in sets and figured we could get in safely if we just waited for a lull. Once we got out there it would be fine. No one really thought much about getting back in.

I went first, as I had been to this site several times. I timed the waves well and got in quite easily. I swam out a few dozen feet away from the rocks and waited for my friends. They dropped in with no problems as well and we went under. The turbulence of the 6-10 foot high waves had churned the bottom up so much that visibility was next to nothing. We were only a few feet away from each other at the surface, but couldn't find each other underwater at first. I found one friend and had him wait so that I could find the other friend. Once reunited we swam around a little bit, but the dive was pointless. Other than a turtle or two you couldn't see anything.

We decided to scrap the dive and went back to the surface. We bobbed up and down in the waves and realized two things very quickly. The first was that we weren't exactly sure where we were supposed to swim towards to get out. We knew the general area, but couldn't see the narrow passageway that led to the small cove where it was easy to climb in and out. At any given time there was a tall wave obscuring our view. The second thing we realized is that there was a rip tide pushing us away from the area to which we needed to swim. At maximum kicking speed we barely made progress against the ocean floor.

A lot of leaping, a lot of faith

On slow lane on the expressway

ON FILM: Taal, 2011

Yesterday, I spent one-third of my first paycheck this year by ticking off one item on my bucket list - learning how to swim. Yes, at age 23, yesterday was my first swimming lesson.

I’m glad our group was assigned to a seemingly knowledgeable and cool coach. I’m having this feeling that I’ll be getting my money’s worth.

Plus, yesterday’s lesson wasn’t much for me to absorb and follow. I learned how to bubble, float and do the flutter kick. I think it helped that I’m self taught, that it’s already a part of my instinct to glide, paddle and use my hands to swim from one point to another. I just needed the right technique so I can be more efficient and that’s what my coach gave me.

But I think more than learning the proper techniques, I have to face my fear of deep waters. Anything beyond 5-feet would make me quiver and I would resort to just dipping my feet. Or if I really have to, I need something to hold on for my dear life, like the gutter or some floaters.

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