Fact About Me Number One: I don’t usually try to keep my personal space. Fact About Me Number Two: There is one and only one exception to this rule.
‘Imagine a hot summer’s day; you are staying, abroad in a lovely seaside town. It’s 8:30am and already the temperatures are soaring, with little wind in the air you look forward to the day’s diving, wondering where you’ll go today. Hopping on board the diving boat, you’re greeted by dive masters and instructors who are, as always, smiling and friendly; it’s these people and the great diving sites that make your holiday.
The captain offers you a tea, declining you take your belongings upstairs; the boat is starting to fill up already. Squishing your bag under a bench you wonder downstairs again to set up your diving gear. The gentle rocking of the boat makes you smile. You carefully select a 10l tank as close to your fin and mask draw as possible yet keeping away from other diver’s gear as the boat continues to fill.
After preparing your gear you relax, that to be honest was the hardest job you had to do all day apart from choosing where to go for lunch. A quick glimpse at the whiteboard tells you the two morning dive sites and who you’re diving with. The boat engine starts up, you go visit the captain in his cabin.
You watch him drive with such ease all you can do is stare as he manoeuvres the boat with such care over the waves to cause minimal swaying of the boat. The boat was the first out of the harbour and will be the last back, as per usual. It’s time for dive briefing; it takes twice as long because the dive site was changed half way through due to the swell. Everything is relaxed, well organised and as it should be. Until…
As the captain starts parking the boat at the dive site you start kitting up, doing so quickly so as to make the most of the dive site before other boats start to arrive. Zipping up the wetsuit you walk towards your BCD and tank and my worst nightmare is in front of you. A certain L sized BCD and M sized BCD have sandwiched your diving gear.
At this point in time I usually look around trying to figure out where Mr L and Mrs M are, they’re usually still in their dive briefing so I start fastening myself into my BCD. But their briefing is done before I’m ready, Mr L, with precipitation rolling down his forehead, comes and sits next to me and also starts gearing up, his wife also comes over after a short detour to grab her dive watch from her beach bag, she too soon starts preparing.
By now I am so squished it is impossible for me to stand up, I have to wait until they’re completely ready before being freed. We’re like a tin of sardines and I begin to feel like shouting at the top of my voice for them to let me out. They seem to take an age to gear up, everyone else is already ready. Mr L elbows me in the ribs whilst Mrs M hops up. Finally! Freedom!
I get up and bend down to fish my fins and mask out of my draw but then inwardly groan when I realise that Mr L’s legs are in the way of my box. He’s struggling with a buckle but finally sorts it out, I ask him if he can move his feet for a second, thinking he’ll move his legs to the side I bend down and get a face of cheese. I pull out my draw and grab my fins and mask carefully working around the cheese, biding Mr L a good dive. I do a buddy check on my friendly buddy and we enter the water.
By the time the regulator enters my mouth I have completely forgotten about Mr L and Mrs M.’
Although this example was totally fictitious this is a prime example of what has happened to me in the past on dive boats, although it has mostly only ever happened with me and my family, we do have a good laugh. And in the end that’s what family holidays are for, we laugh it off, its all part of the whole experience.