Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thank You, Jacques Cousteau

Hawaii is back on. To make up for the delay in going there, we gave each other a Christmas gift of scuba lessons. There is an instructional DVD that we watch before doing the homework. Then we go to class for hours of instruction and pool work.
It is fascinating to watch the DVD. Happy, incredibly fit, bronzed young people with flowing hair (even on a windy boat or underwater), easily handling heavy equipment, looking like they were sewn into their wetsuits. They move effortlessly on land or in the water, in perfect control of their position and equipment, handling emergencies calmly and easily. It is as if they are live versions of Disney cartoons. Not the villains or the sidekicks, but the romantic leads. I look at this and think, "This is going to be easy. And it will be fun looking so smooth and gorgeous in the water."
Then we get to class and start working with the equipment. I quickly realize the main point of all this is probably to provide entertainment for the diving instructors. I feel awkward and clumsy, I can't control my buoyancy or where I move in the water, and this is in a pool where there aren't currents and waves. The instructors seem to be enjoying all this, even as they tell us that we are doing fine and we will have a great time once we get out in the ocean. Mike, who is part fish, is doing great. But he already looks better than the guys in the DVD. Knowing he is my permanent diving buddy is the best thing about all this, and I know I'll do just fine in the water.
None of this would be possible without Jacques Cousteau. I remember seeing the Jacques Cousteau underwater documentaries ever since I was a child. I loved seeing this amazing world of gorgeous marine life. Then I learned that he is the one who invented Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, and that SCUBA would make it possible for anyone to explore underwater. It has only taken me 45 years to get around to learning how. Okay, so I've been busy.
My daughter Anna was in Cozumel last week on her first scuba trip. She told me about the amazing things she saw, and I told her Cozumal was one of Jacques Cousteau's favorite dive spots. She said, "Who is Jacques Cousteau?"
Just what I need. Another mother-failure moment. How could I have not taught my kids about Jacques Cousteau?
I guess I will need to make up for it by sending them photos taken of our underwater dives, of me floating glamorously above colorful reefs, my hair floating beautifully around my head, surrounded by turtles and tropical fish, happily diving with my handsome buddy.
Thanks, Jacques.


Barbara Bee said...

Ah, Hawaii sounds so much fun:) I am excited for you!

Big Bahama Mama said...

When do we go? And when do you pick me up for my diving classes?