Where the ocean meets my worries

Dave and I got scuba certified 2 summers ago and have yet to dive anywhere outside of the cold northwest waters.  Personally the cold water diving experience, while adventurous, was murky and a bit claustrophobic for me.  I’m not completely sold on the sport yet (I react that way to most activities involving drastically cold temperatures).  On the other hand, Dave saw a giant octopus within his first 5 minutes underwater and is thus a bit more sold on the idea than I am.  With that said, I am ultimately  very attached to the ocean and vow to keep diving until I learn what the draw is.   I imagine it has something to do with warm clear waters and huge schools of brightly colored fish: two things that do not exist in the northwest and I have therefore yet to experience.  The question for us now, is where should we dive?

We’ve drawn up an itinerary that is very ocean focused.  Primarily because we’re both lacking beach and sun time after living in Portland for nearly 7 years (Portland’s ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ summers have been an uphill battle for me).  Plus, I’m a beach dweller at heart and the many beaches of the world are the places that are ultimately at the top of my list.  Call me shallow, but I feel more attached to a society when I understand the pulse of their little beach towns.  Life tends to be simplified in these places, and my lenses tend to focus easier.  I’d take a beach town over a nationally recognized museum almost any day… unless that museum was doing an exhibition on little beach towns, and even then…


The biggest challenge with diving is simply the cost involved (the financial dilemma seems to figure into just about every decision we make).  Diving is an expensive hobby.  And when I weigh the cost to snorkel versus the cost to dive it worries me.  I assume, however, that any more experienced diver would tell me that these two activities do not compare and that the underwater experience is well worth it.  We can only pick a few locations, and if I end up ‘getting’ this diving thing then I am going to want to experience it everywhere.  Narrowing down the list will be a struggle.

We’ve decided to pack our own masks and snorkels in our tiny carryon bags—a big decision for such a small bag!  This way we’ll be able to snorkel everywhere we wish for little to no cost, and save the best places for big dives.  Hopefully this will be a good middle path for us, and hopefully we won’t realize how much we are missing out on by forgoing the diving experience in so many places.  Luckily we are realizing that long term travel and the decision to travel, while extreme to some, is really about the middle path: It’s about learning to wander, to accept, to rethink life’s priorities, and to appreciate the now.  We certainly won’t be diving off the docks at a fancy vacation resort, but we’ll get to experience the same beach.  And the opportunities we do take to dive will be all the more special.  Our memories of this trip will be vivid and colorful no matter what we miss, or skip, or choose.  The important decision, and the one we will appreciate the most, is the one we’ve already made.

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