08.07.2010 - 08.08.2010
“I just want you all to know that I am deathly afraid of sharks.” Before even uttering my name, these were the first words out of my mouth at my scuba class this weekend. Yes, Juan and I are taking the plunge. Putting our toe into new waters. Exploring new depths. Okay, I will stop with the cheesy clichés. We started our two weekend journey to becoming Scuba School International scuba divers this past weekend. Thus far, the class has consisted of pre-work (watching a dvd and reading a scuba manual), six or so hours of classroom work and then about six or so hours of pool time. In the pool, we learned how to clear our masks of water, remove our buoyancy control devices and some other maneuvers that may prove to come in handy should problems arise (i.e. sharing air in an emergency – yeah to breathing!)
During the classroom work, we didn’t quite cover the whole shark issue, so I decided to take the bull by the horns or maybe the shark by the teeth in this case?
Me: Um, so if we do come upon a shark, what should we do?
Instructor: The truth of the matter is, the sharks really are not interested in us. There are plenty of fur seals down here and that’s what they prefer to eat. If you do get bit, it’s just a case of them testing you out. Unfortunately, a test bite is often deadly, but you should be good.
Another student: Oh, a mate of mine saw a great white a couple of weeks back. Said it was unreal.
Instructor: Oh, yep, about 5 months ago, I was out and had a two and a half ton great white swim right up to me. Man, that thing was huge about the width of this table (7 feet) and had massive teeth.
My inner monologue: Seriously!?!? This is not helping the nerves.
Regardless, we are venturing out for three dives on Saturday to Lake Te Anau about 90 minutes from Invercargill. I was probably the biggest advocate for diving in the lake.
Instructor: Righty-o, folks. Next weekend, we can either scuba in Bluff or Lake Te Anau.
Me: (in the most overly aggressive jeopardy contestant manner) what is Lake Te Anau!!!!
On Sunday, we’re going to do two dives out at Stewart Island. This is like the Farallon Islands of New Zealand: a great white breeding ground. On the plus side, visibility is usually about 20 meters. Which means… if I am going to be attacked, I’ll probably have plenty of time to see it happening and can get myself into a good panic before it all goes down. Sounds fun!! Until then, I will probably continue dreaming about scenes from jaws, complete with theme music.