This past weekend I had the good fortune to take a mini-vacation with the family. We loaded up the car and took off for L'Estartit, a seaside village located on the Costa Brava in Northern Spain. Only three hours away from our house by car, the Frog wanted to introduce his tadpoles and I to his favorite pastime, scuba.
Believe me, I know. "I went scuba diving in Spain" has an air of being all she-she-la-la, especially when said in your best "she stepped on the ball" blue blood manner. Yet, to the French traveling to these places is not something limited to those living on VH1's The Fabulous Life of (insert name of celebrity/celebrity hack - Paris Hilton- here). Here, scuba diving in Spain, skiing in the Alps and bathing on the beaches of the Côte-d'Azur are all very accessible places and depending on how you work things out, very, very affordable.
Ahhh, the life of a princess (on a budget).
At 40 euro/person my introductory experience, la bapteme de plongée, into the world of scuba was well worth the expense. Not only did it include all the equipment, it also included a twenty minute private dive with an instructor.
Scuba masks? Hooded wet suits? We're looking HAWT.
After both la fille and le fils had taken their turns, with a grunt and a nod of his head, a pirate called me over to get geared up. (No, he wasn't REALLY a pirate). First, heavy weights were put around my waist. Then, the vest with the tank and the regulator were strapped onto my back. Getting back into the water proved to be a challenge. But I had to do it. The instructor waited. I couldn't look like a total wuss in front of the kids. I had to walk the plank. One flipper at a time, I made my way to the stairs and down the ladder...without cracking my head open.
Below, I get acclimated with our instructor, the devil.
Admittedly, I hated the first three minutes under water and became a bit panicked. The fear wasn't of the marine life swimming below; it was of suffocation. I'd always thought the first time I'd try diving would be in a swimming pool. And here I was in the sea. I didn't know what to expect, what kind of sensations I'd experience. It was odd, breathing only through your mouth and not through your nose. Still, I forged on. A mantra, I told myself to stay calm.
Hand in hand with the devil, I slowly descended into the clear waters. Little by little, my nerves calmed down and my breathing became natural, stable. I relaxed and enjoyed the world around me. A four dimensional experience, the sea life was plentiful – hundreds of tiny, fluorescent purple fish, large black and white striped fish, little yellow ones, blue ones, and even a couple of starfish. It was breathtaking. And sparkly.
Any of you ever tried to scuba? Snorkel? When you see fish do you think about sushi? On that, what's your favorite roll? Do you believe in mermaids? Would you date a merman?