Fotografía hecha en Playa del Carmen, México, ...
This is not me but I looked this cool. Sorta.

…because that test was SO HARD! I passed my Open Water Scuba Certification trip with a 92%, thats an A! I love A’s! Hopefully questions I got wrong weren’t any that would land me in a life-threatening situation. Keeping fingers crossed.

Its been a crazy couple of days here in Utila, suspended underwater with my life in my hands, trying not to blow out an ear drum while equalizing, I think I’m becoming addicted to that bubbling, crackling sound and the post-equalizing audible clarity. You can actually see bubbles coming out of peoples ears when they equalize! gnarly!! I think my sinus pressure issues are putting a damper my experience. Yesterday on the first dive I had trouble descending, freaked out, hyperventilated, floated away, and had to be brought back down. My emotions and self-control rise very quickly from “I love this” to “I cant breathe, I’m not going down, they’re all down there already, no one is noticing me all alone, I’m going to die and no one is NOTICING!” but I’m working on it. I keep quoting Jerry Seinfeld´s stand up routine about scuba diving, ¨there’s a fish theres a rock who cares dont diiie don’t diiiie.”

By our second dive I was more in control, and we had an amazing time, descending to about 60 feet or so, which turns out is REALLY DEEP when you look up. We were cruising all around the ocean and swimming through huge schools of bright blue fish (just like Dory! Yes, they’re a natural blue) and watching sea snakes. You look above and you’re so deep you cant even see your bubbles breaking the surface, and you look below and these tiny vibrant fish chasing each other around, eyeing you curiously, audbily chomping bright bits of coral.

We were circled by a huge, nasty looking barracuda when we first got down to the bottom, and our instructor Ben (who gets cuter by the life-threatening experiences he talks me through. We also shared a tender moment during a skill test, where you have to remove your mask from your head while underwater, replace it, and then clear all the water out, and I had a piece of hair breaking the seal of my mask, which he very carefully removed while looking deeply into my eyes. I underwater giggled. Hee hee I love him. Okay, maybe he didn’t look deeply. but it was a definite look!) told us later he was a bit worried because we were all wearing silver rings while diving and they make our fingers look like fish bait. Note to self: Remove jewelry next time, since if anyone is going to get attacked by a fish, its going to be me.

sunsets are ridiculous here.

At the end of our dive, the cutest wee baby sea turtle swam around us and it was so cool to see something you;ve always wanted to see, in its natural environment, reminding you how beautiful and crazy this world is. On this trip I keep having these moments like that – where you’re just hit with waves of gratitude for the experience, and even underwater in your mask you’re saying wow. Thank God I’m right here right now because this is so righteous!

Scuba diving and learning the process makes you feel cool and grown up, like part of a secret club, with all the scientific lingo and nicknames and acronyms, and feeling the weight of all that knowledge when you’re underwater, battling with your mind telling you “this is not possible that you are breathing underwater and totally weightless.” Yesterday we were taking a decompression stop, suspended in water, with no clear idea of how far we were from the bottom or the surface, and we all started doing somersaults and backflips and jogging in the water and throwing things at each other like you see astronauts doing in those old film clips. It was so rad! Brings back being a little kid and wanting to be the Little Mermaid.

Team Fun!

We’ve created a pretty great crew of eight of us while diving at Alton´s. Hanging out with the Spanish couple, Ana and JuanLu, is a hilarious learning experience, as they constantly stop us and ask us to explain whatever idiom or California lingo we’ve said, which leads to pants peeing conversations about the definitions of “freaking out” and “awkward,” “sleazy” versus “creepy” and “he’s got game,” and trying to explain why we describe everything as “awesome.”

They taught us how to say “high five” in Spanish “choca estos cincos!” and now we can’t stop saying it. By “saying” I mean “yelling.” Everyone we meet tells us Californians are the loudest and most excitable kind of people ever, and the three of us are apparently bent on proving it. Ana does a pretty spot on impression of us, adopting an American accent and saying really loudly “I KNOW! I mean it was like SOOOO amazing!!!” and giving everything a round of applause.

Our adopted boy for this island is Dotan, a 30 something Israeli or French or Indonesian (he won’t tell us which one and his accent is indiscriminate, and we think he might be a spy, since he also won’t tell us what his job is until the day before he leaves….very intriguing). He lost his board shorts in Mexico, so he dives in boxer briefs that always have something clever printed across the bum, and in white tube socks, which is the funniest outfit to see someone in on a boat, wiggling into a wetsuit and mask.

When we first arrived to our hostel, we were in a dormitory with him, and one night a huuuuuge cockroach invaded our room, and we demanded that he, as the only boy, must kill it. He took a can of our hairspray and a lighter and TORCHED the bug over and over until we were convinced it was dead. It was the funniest thing ever. And probably pretty dangerous, as we sleep in wood cabins. All the boys we tend to adopt also always have food, and hes constantly buying us ice cream or creamy peanut butter. He’s kinda adopted us, actually. OOH! Ears just popped some more. man thats crazy. I JUST started hearing the fan thats right behind me.

Alright I´m off!
love you miss you wish you were here!! big hugs and kisses from
raquel

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