Lifelist: Learning to Scuba Dive

18th October 2011

Things of which I have been afraid in the last few days:

  • Water filling my snorkel mask, and I drown.
  • Water somehow getting into my air tank, and then I drown.
  • Old-timey sailor sea-zombies pulling me to a watery grave.
  • I resurface too quickly and my lungs explode like a pair of mating puffer fish on a line.
  • Sharks.

Awestruck moments in the last few days:

  • I can breathe underwater.
  • Everything is so blue.
  • CHOOO-KAAAHH… CHOOO-KAAHH… This is what Darth Vader sounds like when he breathes under the motherf***ing water.
  • This is just like a flying dream.
  • I am a bionic turbo-mutant (half woman! half machine!) who defies the laws of physics with my awesome breathing powers!!
  • No one can reach me by phone.

So far, I’ve only practiced in the pool, but right now I’m on a flight to St. Lucia where I’m getting my Open Water Dive Certification for my birthday. I decided to get certified and take the trip about seven days ago, when a girlfriend said, “Do you want to go diving with me in St. Lucia?” And then I said, “Yes.”

For the record, I am also afraid of zombie sharks.

41 thoughts on “Lifelist: Learning to Scuba Dive

  1. QoB


    I got my Open Water 3 years ago and it’s been amazing. I’m going to Iceland to dive in Thingvatn this December (and hoping to tick at least one other thing off my Life List while I’m there).

  2. Leah

    Oh, that is so awesome. I can’t wait to hear stories of how your dive went. I have a medical issue that keeps me from scuba, so I live variously through all of you divers.

  3. Em

    This is so great! (I just bought 2 wetsuits – apparently they are summer and winter models – at a yard sale because on my life list is surfing.)

  4. Kara

    You must get an underwater camera and take photos! :)

    Seriously, if you think diving in the pool is awesome, then just wait till you are in the ocean and surrounded by all of the pretty pretty fish. Your head will explode from all of the mega-awesomeness.

  5. Melissa

    Diving is the best. I just got certified and am 1 week away from diving a glacial river in Iceland! Good luck!

  6. Shevon

    You are much more brave than I am. I fear finding dead people underwater, so I’m unable to force myself to SCUBA!

  7. Tammie

    Diving in the ocean, esp. the Caribbean is like being in another world. And it’s THE BEST way to get some time to yourself. I’ll never forget my first time. I hope you have a blast!

  8. Lisa @ Hers, His and Ours

    That is so awesome! What a great birthday gift to yourself. I have always wanted to scuba dive, but I have major claustrophobia. Scared I will panic when I am so many feet under water. Can’t wait to hear all about it – I’m sure it will be amazing!

  9. Nora

    When I was a kid, I read some paperback novel in which a girl’s father and brother die of The Bends, and she’s forced to support her family through deep sea diving (I think she’s an oyster diver? Maybe?). Anyway, I’ve been afraid of diving ever since. You go, not-at-all-in-danger-of-being-attacked-by-zombies girl!

  10. Aine

    I’ve always been a little freaked out about the idea of scuba diving (there’s just so much ocean… what if I get lost? I have similar fears about being in outer space, not that I’m astronaut material :-P )

    But if its like flying dreams? Oh wow, that just sounds so amazing. I treasure those dreams.

  11. shan

    you rock maggie… use the force! (and the wetsuit suits you!)

    thank you for being an inspiration to try new things…!

  12. Meegan

    Diving is my favorite thing, like, ever. I want everyone to experience it and I’m so glad you are doing this! AWESOME. And another check off the life list? You are KILLING that sucker!

  13. HeatherJamieson

    You had me at zombies & mating puffer fish. I do not know you, yet find it impossible not to like you very, very much :). That is all :).

  14. Tarable

    I was super-anxious before my first open water dive, but once you’re down there, it’s amazing to realize how much of the underwater world so many of us never get a chance to experience. Enjoy it!

  15. Cora

    The more you dive, the less anxiety you will have. I was claustrophobic when I started my OWD, I just loved it too much to quit. Now I’m a Divemaster (which btw is a life list check off!). Although, I still fear those dead people… good thing I hear there aren’t that many of them around in scuba-diving places. Enjoy, just never hold your breath ;)

  16. ms13

    eek, i was scared of the exact same things when i took my first OW class in zanzibar! I freaked out the first time (in a pool) so bad I almost quit – but it is awesome….enjoy it, you’re now part of an awesome community.

  17. heather

    This is amazing. Also, I’m heading to Mexico in a few days and will be snorkeling in some caves. This fills me with both abject horror and excitement. I mean, who knows what lurks in the water of a cave, right?

  18. Kris

    Nine years ago, I jumped on a plane & got married on the beach at Sandals in Saint Lucia. You could hear the waves breaking in the background as we said our vows, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

    The beaches will astound you & the clarity you find in the water will take your breath away. I was only brave enough to try snorkeling (way too buoyant to scuba!), but have always found that being in the water restores my soul. Wishing the same comforting affirmations for you, my dear.

  19. Cheree

    Great post. I had the opportunity to learn in the South Pacific several years ago and I have never regretted it. You are going to LOVE being in open water.

    I had many of your same fears when I learned how to scuba dive. It was so hard not to panic in the pool when the instructor told me to take off my mask and clear it while under water. I am so glad I overcame my fear and obtained my PADI open water diving certification. It was so worth it!

  20. Alexis

    I believe the technical term for bionic turbo-mutant is “cyborg” ;) That’s not to say you can’t be turbo-bionic, but don’t forget you’re also a cybernetic, shark-evading badass. Well done.

  21. Paige

    For those who are afraid to commit to scuba without knowing if they could handle it, consider snuba, a cross between scuba and snorkeling. If not an adventure on its own, it’s at least a cheaper way to see if you might like scuba.

  22. Elaina Winter

    All I have to say is HELL YEAH! Have a fierce birthday! I hope this year brings you the peace you seek, true joy and happiness within your soul, and many more amazing adventures on your journey of AWESOMENESS! All the best! Also, check out this book, “How to Get More Love, Money, and Success by Traveling on Your Birthday” by Bob Marks, it popped in my head when I read that you were traveling on your birthday. Enjoy every moment!

  23. Missives From Suburbia

    I told you on Facebook that you would never regret this, and with St. Lucia being one of your first trips, I can say with certainty that you’re about to learn that firsthand. Underwater meditation. That’s what diving is. Enjoy the beauty and the near-silence. I’ve been diving for almost twenty years. It never stops being amazing.

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