The Life Aquatic With Holly Burns

Uh, did you know I'm going to the Bahamas next Tuesday? Nope, neither did I. Well, that's not true; I knew, of course---you don't just forget about a trip to the Bahamas, after all---but I guess I just wasn't expecting it to come up so fast.

And I haven't even done anything to prepare for it! Well, unless you count running out to Marshall's to buy three deeply-discounted sundresses (seriously, one of them was FIFTEEN BUCKS), because the realization that I've just been wearing tights for the last few weeks brought about a sudden deep-rooted panic attack this weekend about what one wears in places where the temperature reaches a high of more than 55 degrees. (Answer: not tights.)

Now you might get jealous when I tell you this, but here it is anyway: I'm going to the Bahamas for work.  I know, I know, it's a tough life, isn't it, when a person has to take a business trip to the Bahamas, but please do try to feel a soupcon of sympathy for me, since I  have to take a THREE-LEG plane ride out there, the first leg of which is a redeye that deposits me in Houston at 6am on Wednesday morning (4am my time). There, I'll choke down as much coffee as the airport Starbucks will legally allow me to buy, before hopping the next flight to---wow, I had to look this up---West Palm Beach in Florida, and then finally a tiny puddle-jumper to the island of Abaco in the Bahamas. And then we take a ferry to our hotel, by which time I'll probably be so tired that I'll be speaking in tongues, but hey, did you see that SEA? That WHITE SAND? Somehow I think none of it's going to matter the moment I dip my toes in that turquoise water.

But it's not all going to be toe-dipping and sandcastle-building, because I'm actually going to the Bahamas to learn how to dive. Trust me, this surprises no-one more than me---well, actually, it might surprise Sean more than me; we had the chance to do it in Thailand and Vietnam when we were traveling, and my response was a resounding "meh"---because I've honestly never expressed any interest in scuba diving. In fact, the ocean freaks the crap out of me, if we're going to be honest, and even now, even just typing about how I'm going to be jumping into the middle of it and floating down to the bottom---with the FISH! Oh my god, the FISH! WHAT IF THEY TOUCH ME?---has made me break out in a light sweat. I also believe I may be hyperventilating. Just everso slightly. Anyone have a paper bag?

(By the way, it totally doesn't help that earlier this week I innocently googled "are there sharks in the Bahamas?" and found this. Which I COULD NOT pull myself away from. It was like a trainwreck or an episode of A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila! I couldn't look away.)

(Oh my god, I just watched it again. Excuse me, I need to go and dry heave into my toilet.)

So this weekend, in preparation, I'm going to be spending Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 6pm, flailing about in a swimming pool---an outdoor swimming pool, and did I mention the 55 degrees? I think I mentioned the 55 degrees---learning to dive before I'm let loose in the Bahamas, where the sharks will gobble me up and you'll never hear from me again. And while I haven't done my homework yet---which consists of watching a DVD, reading a book, and answering questions, all of which is supposed to take a total of six hours, which means I had BETTER GET A MOVE ON---the thing that's worrying me most at the moment is this: I do not own a one-piece bathing suit.

Do you own a one-piece bathing suit? I just....don't. Frankly, I actually find a two-piece more flattering---there's something very romperish about a one-piece, I find, at least on me---and yet it just doesn't seem entirely appropriate to wear to my diving lesson on Saturday morning. Don't you think? I mean, I already know I'm going to have to do a fitness test (a fitness test!), and it's going to include swimming twenty lengths (swimming twenty lengths!) and treading water for ten minutes (treading water for---ah, you get the picture), and doing all this in a bikini just seems......weird. Like I'm going to get out of the pool afterwards and spread my towel out on the edge and flip through a few issues of Us Weekly while asking the dive instructor to get my back with the Coppertone Dry Oil.

But then again, after the fitness test, we put the wetsuits on---trust me, I asked exactly what we'd be wearing for which part of the training---and then the one-piece/two-piece debate is rendered moot for the remainder, because I'll be covered head-to-foot with a large black piece of neoprene anyway. (I just had to look that up, by the way. I was going to put "a large black piece of rubber." But that sounded so....wrong. I mean, sure, maybe in some parts of San Francisco, but probably not at 9am on a Saturday morning for an activity as wholesome as diving.)

So what do you think: should I rush out immediately and buy an Emergency One-Piece Bathing Suit---something nice and serious and life-guardy, like a black Speedo, or maybe something with racing stripes by Nike---or should I not worry about it and wear one of the more modest two-pieces I already have and just get into the water really, really quickly? Bear in mind, of course, that I basically have from 5pm until midnight on Friday to do this before my 9am class on Saturday, and that I also need to fit my, uh, six-hours of dive homework in there as well. (Aaaaaand this is not looking good: anyone in the Bay Area have a  one-piece bathing suit I can borrow? Anyone in, say, Ohio have one they can FedEx me?)

All in all, it's not really going to matter in the end, I know, because on Tuesday night sickeningly early on Wednesday morning, I'm going to be on a plane pointed towards paradise, and once I get there, I'm going to be so busy trying not to freak out about BREATHING UNDERWATER or accidentally jostling a cranky stingray, that what I wore to swim twenty lengths and tread water for ten minutes the weekend before is barely going to register.

Which reminds me, have any of you been scuba diving? Because if you have and you're still here and you didn't get The Bends and have to be flown to a decompression chamber in North Carolina or anything, that would make me feel a lot better about the whole trip, and the sinking-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean thing in general. All week, I've been repeating that Eleanor Roosevelt quote to myself---you must do the thing you think you cannot do---and today I thought sure, Eleanor, that's all very well, but what if I really can't do it? What if I'm too scared? What if push comes to shove and I can't jump off the boat and into the blue? Huh, Eleanor? What then?

Aug 07, 2008

I am having a HARD TIME feeling sympathetic Holly. Really, I am. I'm working 12 hour shifts - because when the retail chain I worked for got sold, I decided to move over to the new company and not transfer out - and I ache all over constantly. First week we had absolutely NO MEN, and were doing all the work ourselves. I really would love to go on a holiday. But isn't it wierd how when people holiday, they complain about jetlag - rightfully so, it's killer - when often they go for R and R?

I don't own a one piece, I honestly don't believe it flaters me either. There is a vintage like swimsuit line which makes stunning two pieces with a slighty highwaist bottom cut and a very cute rushed bust. I've been dying to buy it. For now I've got my 15 dollar 2 piece. CHEAP AS HELL, and it does the job.

Aug 07, 2008

I think if you have the sort of two pieces that don't move around too much, you should be fine, but if they are of the sort of falling down variety, I wouldn't want to be treading water for ten minutes in that.
Maybe just to be safe I would check out Sports Basement...they seem to have a gazillion sporty one pieces whenever I'm there.
I have a terrible fish and shark phobia and not in a billion years would I go scuba diving, but I am so proud that you are facing your fears and doing it! The promise of white sand probably doesn't hurt...
The scientist hubs says people never get shark attacked in the Bahamas. There was only one fatality in the ENTIRE world last year and it was not in this hemisphere. So you're safe, at least according to science.

Aug 07, 2008

Yeah, not a whole lot of sympathy coming from Chicago. :) Have a wonderful trip, even though you might be TIRED of all things! ha ha!
House of Jules

camels + chocolate
Aug 07, 2008

Um I totally forgot about the coursework until about half an hour ago, meaning tmrw is going to be like cramming for a college final.

And I stand by my bikini choice. I really do think you'll be fine (sketchy dive shop guy and all)!

Aug 08, 2008

Awww poor Holly :)

I think if I were in your shoes, I would certainly not be spending my own hard-earned cash on a one-piece I found unflattering for the purpose of indulging in an underwater sport that freaks the hell out of me and therefore I would not be likely to repeat after this work assignment is over. It just doesn't seem worth it. So I'd probably go with one of your more modest bikinis. But that's just me.

As for the scuba diving, I have never tried it, although I'm dying to, but my dad goes all the time... he's been diving in various parts of Mexico and the Pacific Northwest. He's never gotten the bends and never been eaten alive, and he looooooves the cool marine life he gets to see. So hopefully that helps assuage some of your worries!

Aug 08, 2008

Hey Holly! While I don't scuba, my boyfriend is a certified diver. We've done numerous trips to the Red Sea where he dives and I gracefully (ha!) snorkel nearby. ANYWAY...I am here to tell you that from what I've observed you have nothing to worry about. First of all, you're fine to do the pool sessions in a two-piece as long as, like Elizabeth said, it's not the sort that moves around too much. I've witnessed numerous women learning to dive in a two-piece, no problem. Secondly, you really don't have to worry about the bends. They're careful about this sort of thing. The bf has been diving since he was a teen (in the cold waters off the shores of England! *Shiver*) and he has never once come even close to having to worry about that sort of thing. And finally - it's going to be amazing! You're going to see things that very few people get to see. I remember reading somewhere that we know less about aquatic life than we do about outerspace. So enjoy and have fun!

(And apologies for this novella of a comment...)

Aug 08, 2008

I am of NO help here, as I panic after about 15 minutes of snorkeling. My husband, however, is part fish (he was a college swimmer) and he is currently seething in jealousy to be sure. The concept of a one piece, however, scares me. I would think you could get away without having one personally.

Aug 08, 2008

Long time reader, first time commenter...

Forget the one piece--it'd be a waste of money. I used to dive in bikinis all the time. No one is going to think you are a pool hussy or anything.

Diving is really fun. It's not that difficult as long as you remember to breathe but don't suck down the oxygen too fast or else you'll have an empty tank. I'm not trying to scare you...just saying don't hyperventilate. You'll do fine. And probably have fun! It is absolutely amazing what you'll see down there, especially in the gorgeous waters of the Bahamas.

Aug 08, 2008

When I took my open water diving course, I wore bikini bottoms and a running tank top...think surfer girl goes underwater to stay. It was brilliantly comfortable.

Have fun.

Aug 08, 2008

Holly, I am a longtime reader of your fab blog. I have never left a comment because i do not feel worthy. However, I could not pass up the opportunity to tell you that I have been to the Bahamas and have snorkeled, (although did not scuba dive) Anyway, it was a very very enjoyable experience, and nary a shark in sight. Although, a barracuda did swim by me. Wait, are baracuda's sharks? I don't know.. But he\she was just being nosy and left me alone. I think you will do swimmingly! Have fun!

Aug 08, 2008

First time commenter...diving is spectacular. Period. I resisted getting certified for a long while but I got sick and tired of snorkeling while watching my husband dive and listening to all the cool stuff he saw "down there." I find diving very relaxing--no phone, no email, no talking--just you and the water.

In terms of safety, the instructors and dive masters take safety VERY seriously. That said, you do have to pay attention to what you are doing but as long as you follow the dive master's instructions, you'll be fine. In terms of not breathing to fast--I agree, don't hyperventialte, but also, it's not a contest to see how uses less air and new divers typically blow through their air quickly. The instructors expect it. As you get more comfortable in the water, you'll use the air more judiciously.

As for the two piece, you'll be fine! I've not worn a one piece since middle school and I typically wear a tankini type suit when diving. One word of advice, when on a dive boat, do NOT zip your wet suit up all the way until you are about to put your gear on and get in. You will roast and feel terrible if you sit there in it. And sharks hate divers--they hear a pinging from the tank that they hate. Shark attacks on divers are almost unheard of.

Have fun! I am so jealous...just spent two weeks on a dive trip in Hawaii, but I am pregnant, so it was back to snorkeling.

Aug 08, 2008

As a year-round allergy sufferer, I can not dive. I took lessons, but as soon as I went deeper than like two feet, it felt like my head was going to explode.

So, as a word of warning, if you are the least bit congested, don't dive!!

And what's with the one-piece hate? There are a lot of adorable one-pieces out there!!

She Likes Purple
Aug 08, 2008

I think you'll be fine either way, but a one-piece may be more comfortable underneath the wet suit. Also, I have to ditto what Elizabeth said. After being subjected to four straight years of Shark Week shows (husband has a wee obsession), diving in the Bahamas is one of the safest places to dive. Although that's easy for me to say, since I'll be on land all this weekend and next week. Isn't it annoying when the people NOT going in the water tell you you'll be just fine!

Hopefully there will be fruity drinks with umbrellas waiting for you when you're done. On the company card!

Aug 08, 2008

I find two-pieces more flattering too. I blame it on being short and not exactly small chested. Last summer when my baby was 6 months old I really struggled with the swimsuit issue. I wasn't quite ready for a bikini yest at 6 months postpartum. In the end, I found racing suits to be the most flattering, although there is that romper feel. Have you tried Title IX? I was pretty happy with what I found there.

Aug 08, 2008

If it were me I would be worrying about exactly the same things in exactly the same order--what to wear, and then not dying while in the water. I was going to suggest a tankini too as it seems like a good compromise between the one & two piece. However I don't own one and I would probably run out of time to shop for one and then I'd end up wearing a bikini anyway. So wear whatever you want!

Aug 08, 2008

I think that quote was referring to Eleanor donning a two piece which would be a lot scarier than any sharks you might encounter. I say go with the two piece. You want to be comfortable, and you really don't have time to shop. I've never scuba-ed myself, but I bet it'll be an amazing experience.

Aug 08, 2008

Can you please tell me who I have to, contact, to get a travel writing gig as sweet as yours??

Aug 08, 2008

First, I did my dive training in a tankini. Still more flattering than a one piece AND won't ride up in places not appropriate for family-pool viewing.

And diving is AMAZING! I learned to dive many years ago with a psychopathic ex-boyfriend and miss having a dive partner. But wow! Once you get under the water, and experience the world in such a new way. No one will bring you anywhere close to sharks or pointy pieces of stuff. You will love it! Just take slow, relaxing breaths when you're under water and enjoy it all. Can't wait to see the pics :)

Aug 08, 2008

I think you'll be fine in a more modest, not moving two piece or you can toss a tank over the top and be good if you are really worried about it. I wouldn't bother with going for the one piece in the short amount of time you have.

I went snorkeling in Key Largo recently and not even 2 minutes in the water, someone saw a shark, I just swam the other direction; no harm, no foul. Those crazy people all swam TOWARDS it. Yeah, I don't think so. It's really easier than one might think to avoid them :) Someone will call them out and be excited to see them and you being SMART will just go the opposite way! I did have a barracuda swim along with me the entire way back to the boat but it didn't bother me and I didn't bother it, so other than being mildly unsettling, there was no incident.

Aug 08, 2008

My boyfriend and I are taking our final dive this Sunday and then headed to Belize to use our fancy certification (so it probably wasn't a fabulous idea to watch that youtube video). I wore a two piece suit that I wear lap swimming so that my, um, upper body would stay in place. I did see women wearing bikinis underneath their wetsuits, so I wouldn't go out and buy a new one-piece.

Good luck. It's really not as difficult or as scary as it seems. And it's a lot of fun! Have fun in the Bahamas! I can't wait to read all about it.

Aug 08, 2008

I have been SCUBA diving since I was 11 years old; learned down in the Caymans and have been all over the world doing it. I am now 27. It can be scary, but it's very safe. As long as you pay attention during your training, it is unlikely that you will get the bends or otherwise hurt yourself. I've dived in the caribbean mostly, seen a lot of sharks, never had anything bad happen to me.

In fact, the best advice I can give you is this: get a one-piece. You may think that because the water is upper 70s you will not get cold, but you are wrong. You WILL get cold, and a one-piece is at least a little helpful in that regard. The wetsuit is also helpful. In the summer I usually dive in a "shorty", but in the winter (even in the caribbean) I use a long one.

Also, try not to touch any coral for several reasons. Most importantly, touching it with your hands or your equipment kills it. Second most important, if you accidentally touch fire coral, you WILL be sorry.

The fish are wonderful. The colors are wonderful. Reds and oranges are the first colors in the spectrum to disappear underwater, so bring a flashlight if you're going deeper than 50'. The fish will not touch you, so don't even worry about it. E-mail if you have any other questions. I've been diving in a bikini and it works, but the weight belt around the middle always made me feel like my bottom was going to come right off.

Aug 08, 2008

Lucky! The most exciting place I've gotten to go for work was Reno, and there's no SCUBA in Reno. There is, however, "Spot the Meth Addict", which is probably just as fun and fascinating. Have fun!

Aug 08, 2008

I absolutely love diving. You'll be fine with a two-piece. Don't worry about sharks. They scurry from divers. I've seen 3 while diving in the Caribbean. As soon as they see you, they're gone. You won't get the bends as long as you follow your training. Relax and enjoy the peace down there. It's incredible! I can't wait to hear about your experience.

Aug 08, 2008

It's a good thing you're only stopping briefly in Houston. There's not much to see here anyway.

But the Bahamas? And for work?! I'm really jealous. I vacationed there once a very long time ago and although I didn't personally go scuba diving, I seem to recall that another family staying in our hotel went scuba diving one day. They came back very much intact. You'll be fine.

Aug 08, 2008

I can't speak to the diving part of your questions (and it looks like others have already covered it) but I needed a one-piece in order to start lap swimming a few weeks ago (trying to lap swim in a halter-top bikini with little bits of fluttery fabric on the sides of the bottom part didn't work out so well) and ended up with a basic black racerback suit from Ross for eight bucks. If you decide you need a one-piece, you might try there.

Have a great time, btw!

Aug 08, 2008

I own a simple Black Halter one piece, which I procured from The Gap for approximately $6.99. I have never, ever worn it.

Also, I wish that I had time to knit you a Red Team Zissou Hat. Oh well, NEXT TIME. :)

Aug 08, 2008

I'm sure you'll do fine Holly.

I got certified to dive about two years ago. I don't think you'll need to buy a one-piece for the fitness test because it goes by quickly, and it'll be over before you know it. Also, you'll spend most of the day in a wetsuit anyway and it won't matter what kind of swimsuit you have underneath.

The thought of diving is a little scary because of all the variables out there - the underwater wildlife, your tank, your equipment - but I find that if you relax and pay attention you'll do just fine.

Aug 08, 2008

When I was in the Caribbean, I went snorkeling above a bunch of scuba divers. I actually wished I could scuba dive, because they got so close to all the gorgeous coral and fish, while I was squinting down from the surface wishing I could tell if that was a large fish or a small plant.

I think starting a sentence "when I was in the Caribbean" completely neutralizes any jealousy I could possibly feel.

I bet it will be one of those experiences where you look back and wonder what you were so worried about because that? WAS AMAZING.

Sensibly Sassy
Aug 08, 2008

So the farthest place my work has sent me is Pizza My Heart to pick up lunch. Have a great time and consider yourself ridiculously lucky!

Aug 08, 2008

why don't you buy one of those sporty two pieces like the sports bra top bikini top? i have to say patagonia has super cute ones.

sigh. if you chicken out, can i go in your place?

Aug 08, 2008

You are going to LOVE diving, believe me. Ben did a lot of scuba, and while he's too protective of me to let ME dive, he taught me to snorkel when we were in the Caribbean. I was all like "Oh my God! I canNOT breathe through this thing!" and then I ducked my head under water, and saw all the fish, and suddenly I (1) could breathe perfectly and (2) never wanted to come out. It is absofreakin'lutely incredible.

I agree, two-piece bathing suits aren't recommended for diving; Ben actually generally wears a shortie wetsuit in warm climates, if you can rustle one up. Else the one-piece is fine; go to a sporting goods type store and get a good quality sport rather than fashion suit (sport suits are more careful about the inside seams, which on fashion suits can chafe like hell). Anyway you are going to love it, trust me! Have a great time.

Aug 08, 2008

Like Gretchen said... You are going to love diving, but then I been diving for over 15 years.. Bahamas is a great places to dive, in fact that is where I got certified.

Once you get over the fact that OMG, I'm breathing under water! then you will see how peaceful and beautiful the underwater world is. While it is a SPORT, and you do GET TIRED doing it and a great work out in the legs (all that kicking of the flippers)... the sound of nothiness (of your own breathing) is better than YOGA!

I'm soooo jealous! Do you have room in your suitcase? I can meet you in West Palm Beach (only a 3 hour drive from my house) and fold myself neatly and quietly.. what you say?

And the bathing suit, go to TARGET and pluck less than $20 and get a one piece, its more comfortable, trust me. The 2-piece you end up worrying if things are in place at all times...And then you won't be paying attention in class and then you will never know where to breath in and out.

Aug 08, 2008

Take me! Take me! I can write stuff. I can say "The water is very blue and pretty (that's about the extent of my descriptive skills but I'm pretty sharp when it comes to dialouge. You know, in case you have to document the sketchy dive shack guy)."

I've never dived but I have snorkeled and get you on the whole kind of creepy aspect of it. Especially when the fish would come and swim up into my face and then I would inhale water and then was sick for about 3 weeks due to the lovely parasite that I picked up.

Don't breathe in the water! It's bad! But other than that and the fear of touching the coral and the yacht-full of people that decided to swim right over me (and kick me in the stomach), it was really cool. I would like to learn how to dive someday but am thinking they probably don't make wet suits in my size.

Wow. I just went a little nuts here. Sorry.

Aug 08, 2008

Sharks? Ocean? Death? You're braver than me. :)

As for the swimsuit, I think a 2-piece is fine if it's one that will stay in place. But if you're at all concerned, I agree with Monica. Go to Target and spend a few bucks on a cheapo that you can just keep on hand for occasions like these.

Personally, I'm waiting for full-length body suits to come back in style for swimming...

Aug 08, 2008

Ugh, I DO feel bad for you! I live in Mexico and really don't like the ocean. I go in to my knees, and sometimes splash up to my waist, but there are SHARKS! And sting rays, and jelly fish, and all kinds of creepy crawlies that don't exist in freshwater lakes. My husband wants to learn to scuba dive and I have zero interest.

Good luck!

Aug 08, 2008

oooh, you're gonna have a fantastic time. i got to do a dive in hawaii and being in the water is so peaceful, yet i felt so very james bond jetting through the ocean with all the gear (minus the knife strapped to my calf). plus, hearing yourself breathe like darth vader is really cool. i look very forward to reading about your trip. have fun!

Aug 08, 2008

Hi! First time commenter. I have never scuba dived, but i have SNOOBA dived, in Mexico. Snooba is like scuba except your air tank stays on a raft above you instead of on your back, and you are tethered to it by a long oxygen line. I went in Mexico and was terrified, they took us out on a boat, strapped some weights to me, stuck the oxygen thing in my mouth and pushed me in! No need for silly certification... it was terrifying until I actually got under and then it was SO much fun. I've wanted to learn to scuba ever since.
Anyways, my point is that I survived snooba, and you will survive scuba!

Aug 08, 2008

I promise that you'll have a great time with the dive. Maybe not right away, but when it's over and you find yourself on terra firma, you'll have HAD a great time.

I did my fitness test in a two-piece and pretended that I was very cavalier about doing fitness in a bikini. To me it seemed a lot like the girls who wear teeny tiny shorts to the gym and so I pretended I was not one of those other girls who wears oversized tshirts and looser-fitting clothes to the gym. It worked out AND I saved about $60. Unflattering one-piece bathing suits are surprisingly expensive!

The dive itself (in the Caymans) was terrifying. I went because my brother and I have a fear of deep ocean water and we thought there was no better way of getting over it than getting over it together and in deep ocean water. The first three words out of my mouth when we broke the surface were some not-so-eloquent curse words, but in the days that followed, I realized that I did really enjoy it, heart-poundingly-frightening as it was.

I promise you'll have fun, even if it's the kind of thing that's more fun in retrospect than in actual experiencing it. Be safe and trust your dive instructor! I just got back from the Bahamas and can assure you that even with the deep ocean water, the islands themselves are also totally rum-soaked and lovely.

Aug 08, 2008

Delurking to tell you that you'll be fine! I was totally freaked out before I took the classes too- and found out that the fitness test was actually harder than the whole "breathing underwater" thing. I still get a little nervous before going down because of the waves and it's the OCEAN, but once you're underwater, it's very peaceful. Just be sure to breathe deeply and slowly, and you'll do great!

Aug 08, 2008

I second (third?) the suggestion to buy a sporty bikini (though Patagucci is pretty expensive - Target has excellent rip-offs.) Otherwise, just wear a comfy two-pieces and don't worry about it. Try to pick one without an underwire (if you even own one...), as it will dig into your ribs once you have the neoprene on!

Aug 08, 2008

Holy crap, my palms are sweating a bit for you after watching that video! As for the suit ordeal, if possible I'd probably get a 1 piece, but that's just me. If you don't have time then don't worry about it too much. Like you said, you'll be covered eventually anyways. Good luck!

Aug 08, 2008

Fish will touch you, but hey people pay good money for fish to pamper them!

Aug 08, 2008

holly, holly, holly.

1. sharks don't eat people. they may accidentally bite you, and you may die from your injuries but sharks don't intentionally bite people.

2. you can wear your bikini if you want. it's going to be under a wetsuit so it doesn't really matter.

3. don't be surprised when they tell you to pee in your wetsuit should you get cold. (oh and don't be grossed out either.)

i was scheduled to go to the bahamas for a vacation and broke my leg 2 weeks before we were to leave. we went anyway and i tol the dive master that i had come 3000 miles to dive and that's what i was going to do. he agreed to be my dive buddy and after taping two garbage bags over my cast, that is what we did. it was awesome.

Aug 08, 2008

Silly Holly! People only get eaten by sharks in Australia! Just ask Dave, he went diving off the Great Barrier Reef and where his dive operator told him a story about [you don't want to know until you get back] and then told him it was time to jump in. Nothing like that happens in the Bahamas, though. I promise.

Aug 08, 2008

Although, I do have a black, one-piece MATERNITY swimsuit (with attached skirt) that I would be happy to FedEx you if the need arises. Why I keep it is beyond me - I might be pregnant, but I'm not BLIND, and it is UGLY.

Aug 08, 2008

Holly - the Bahamas and scuba diving! Nice job ma'am. On the other hand, anytime that I have tried to SCUBA, I have failed mostly because I not in the least athletic, coordinated and really cannot do anything besides snorkle with a floatie. Also, have wicked claustrophobia and it freaks me out. However, my husband got certified on our honeymoon and totally loves it and highly recommends it.

I got a new job that will have me travelling like you - and I will be in the SF area in October and will totally be thinking of you and Jemima.

Aug 08, 2008

uh, did you know I've just finished a 13 hour shift serving people at a shitty wedding (no, the bestman wasn't hot).

send me a postcard!

Aug 08, 2008

You're going to love diving, it really is amazing.

Just two things to remember: Don't stop breathing. Just breathe in and out and you'll be fine and the other thing is to ascend very slowly. Keeping those two things in mind, you won't get the Bends. You'll be fine.

As for sharks, they go for snorkelers or divers or things on the surface, not divers, so don't worry.

And as for the two piece vs the one piece - I would say just do the two piece. You don't want to have to rush out and buy something you'll never wear again.

Have fun!

Aug 09, 2008

That video! EWWWWWW (Shudder!) Why??! Why in the name of the deity of your choice would anyone in their right mind be kneeling on the bottom of the ocean with only a stick & a camera between them and those sharks? All well and good, barbie2be and those others attempting to reassure you that sharks really don't eat people. I'm squarely in the "you're braver (or dumber?) than I am, Kiddo!" camp. Good luck though. And, uhm, if at all possible, have fun?

Jerri Ann
Aug 09, 2008

As badly as I want a vacation...scuba is more of "yikes" for me than a "meh" because...holy mother of the sunshine what if I can't breathe????

Aug 09, 2008

So, it's after 7PM now here in the Bay Area. Did she survive Day One of the lesson schedule? What happened with her bathing suit?? Is she still gonna go through with this??? Inquiring minds? Oh yes indeed we do want to know!

Anne in SC
Aug 10, 2008

There I was - on a blog I have been reading with regularity since I began blogging in '06. On her Blogher ad on the right side of the screen is a JC Penney, Linden Street ad with "Nothing But Bonfires"'s JC Penney post listed 1st at top of the list.

You should get another $500 gift card for the advertising they're getting from your lovely post.

By the way - I did a "resort diving course" way back when. I loved it adn felt totally at ease - but I was a fish to begin with.

I hope that your course was good and that you enjoy your time in the ocean in the Bahamas. I always felt uneasy bobbing around on the surface with all of the gear. But once I was under water I always felt a sort of freedom that I hated to leave when the time was up, or the tank ran out.

Heather B.
Aug 10, 2008

Wow. You're life sounds about as difficult as mind does. What with my going to some island in Florida in November, FOR WORK. Hard times all around.

Also, are you going with Kristin? Because if you're going with Kristin, I want to cry a little bit.

Aug 10, 2008

You are to be congratulated for avoiding diving in Thailand. Unless you enjoy it when the boat driver gets annoyed at you and pisses in your hat when you're not looking. Also, you have to boat so far to get to the reef, if you are even slightly prone to sea sickness (like, uh, me, who can't even snorkel I get so seasick; and this hasn't always worked against me: when it was time to do my "tired diver tow"--oh, they haven't told you about that one? well, by now, I'm sure you know all about it--my check out instructor took one look at my green face and decided that should I have to pull a drowning diver to safety, I'd be just fine), you may just leave some of your lunch in the ocean. Or so I've heard.

Diving is seriously awesome. I think of being underwater as sort of like being in outer space. It's so other-worldly. Have fun! (and use a wet suit; you get a lot colder than you think you will).

Aug 11, 2008

Yay! The $15 dress! I just found one this weekend, and the friend I was shopping with when I made the discovery said, "Just like the one in my closet!" (Meaning that she had also recently purchased a $15 dress, not that mine was identical.)

Based on that, we've decided to have a $15 dress party. Our husbands are expected to attend and are both a little concerned about what we want them to wear.

Aug 12, 2008

I'm a little late with the comment here, but I have been a certified SCUBA diver since I was 13 and I'm still here, 17 years later. Although I haven't been diving in quite awhile. I've never been anywhere paradisaic or beautiful like the Bahamas and have only dove off the coast of California down in the Santa Barbara area, which can be hit or miss as far as visibility goes. The scariest thing for me was diving through thick kelp beds. I always thought I'd get tangled up. But my dive buddy, my dad, helped calm me down. I learned to just go with the tide and not fight against it. Plus keeping a knife strapped to my calf was nice in case I really did get tangled up. Never needed it, though. I did have some anxiety about sharks but good ol' dad reasoned with me: are you afraid to ride in a car? No. Well, more people die in car accidents than people get bit or killed by shark attacks. Okaaaay. I guess I feel better about it. I don't remember seeing any sharks. Maybe a small one or something. But I did see sea slugs, octopi, crabs, lots of fish, and other interesting things. Mainly we went for the halibut which means diving in areas of little scenery and scoping out the bottom for the two eyes looking up at us from the sand. Hope you have fun!

Aug 13, 2008

Hello from Seattle