We’re on a diving course at the moment, as in SCUBA diving. John and I first learned how to do SCUBA when we first landed in Australia in 1991. I was always a keen aquatic and one of my biggest dreams as a child was to be a mermaid. More specifically, I wanted to be Aqua Marina from the British children’s TV show, Stingray. She was beautiful and brave and the only downside that I could see to being Aqua Marina was that she couldn’t speak. But that was okay because I could speak, so all good. At some point in my growing years, I heard about the theory of evolution and came to the conclusion that if I just pent long enough lying on the bottom of the swimming pool trying to breathe, then I would eventually develop gills and clear vision. I do remember one brief moment where my vision did fully clear underwater, but, to my vast disappointment, the clarity disappeared as soon as I blinked. I spent literally hours of my holidays and evenings just lying at the bottom of the pool, looking up at the surface trying to force evolution to turn me into a mermaid. After that I did a lot of swimming, synchronised swimming, water polo, diving and whatever other watery activities were available.
I hadn’t, however, done SCUBA diving. But in 1991, we were in Australia, doing the obligatory backpack tour up the Queensland coast, and we were close to the barrier reef; it was the perfect opportunity. The only downside to the possibility of SCUBA diving being John: John and water don’t mix. At all. In fact, I’d already rescued John from the water on several occasions, including on our honeymoon when he panicked because of the depth of the water. He was adamant that he wasn’t going to spend any money on a SCUBA course because he didn’t want to do it. So, I did what any self-respecting creator would do: I won the diving course in a $5 raffle! And not just any old diving course, I won a 6-day trip on a yacht out to the Barrier Reef, and John had little choice but to go.
I won’t say that he was a complete convert and he’s loved diving ever since because he definitely hasn’t. In fact, he hasn’t been diving since 1991; no matter how much I’ve harassed him about it, he deftly steers me away from the activity and we never seem to actually get into scuba gear. Until now. What’s made the difference now is that I’ve agreed that we’ll meet my brother, Alan – a keen diver - in Egypt next April to help him celebrate his 50th birthday. We’ll be diving wrecks and reefs and generally having a fat old time, so John needs to get his scuba gear on again and he’s not happy about it.
In preparation for the Egypt adventure, I booked John, the girls and I onto an Open Water Divers course. We’ll do some more diving when we’re in Bali and try to get our Advanced Divers Certificate before we go to Egypt. At least, that’s the plan. Judging by the state of high anxiety that everyone’s in today, I think I’ll be doing any future diving by myself.