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Grab life by the...


I did a thing.


I went scuba diving in the Galapagos! If you know much about diving, you may know that diving in the Galapagos is the pie-in-the-sky, dream vacation. Diving in the Galapagos is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Diving in the Galapagos is the bees’ knees!


But – know what? I have been beating myself about it! I am working less than part-time at the moment. I am broke. I don’t know what my future looks like! I don’t know how the heck all my bills are getting paid in the next couple of months. And, Galapagos is pricey! It makes no sense to go to Galapagos now. Also – the current is crazy in Galapagos. I’ve never really dove in current. They say you should have at least 100 dives to dive there, because it is advanced diving. (I have more than 100, but the large bulk of my dives have been in the calm clear waters of Roatan).

Two things made me swallow my fear and dish out my money. One, the price I got was a lot less than the normal price! I mean, that is difficult to turn down. Second, I have a great deal of fear about global warming and what it is doing to our oceans. I learned to dive back in the mid-nineties. I went diving in Cancun fairly soon after I was certified. I’ve been to Mexico diving again a couple of times in the last five years. While diving is still good, the reef has faced much destruction. If one watches any documentaries on the matter (I recommend “Mission Blue” if you are at all interested), throughout the world, reefs are only a fraction of what they were twenty years ago, and destruction is happening rapidly.


But, boy oh boy – I have been through some angst about this trip. Was I crazy to be spending this amount of money at this time? Am I ready as a diver? Should I try to wait until I have more of a base? Should I cancel the trip and throw myself into work? Even today, having now taken the trip, I was shuddering looking at my credit card bill. I am not one too charge up my credit cards. I have been fastidious about paying those off every month throughout my entire life. Have I lost my damn mind?

This first dive though, near the end, out of nowhere, this sea lion comes down and swims around me. Sea lions are beautiful creatures. I’ve always enjoyed seeing sea lions. Honestly, it never really crossed my mind that I wanted to dive with them. But, how joyous they are! They hop in and out of the water, like kids playing in a sandbox. They bark and blow bubbles. I was awe-struck.


The second dive, also intended to be a “getting your feet wet” dive. A shark! The guide told us later it was a Galapagos shark. I hadn’t even heard of them. Now, I’m not an avid shark diver. I like sharks, but I don’t go hunting for them. I can tell you, prior to this trip, I’ve seen about ten of them. But, I was genuinely looking forward to seeing hammerhead sharks. They are so silly looking, but also so beautiful. I couldn’t wait. I was not expecting to see a shark on my second dive. Then a turtle. He came up to me as if he were going to tell me something. He paused in front of me for a minute, and then swam away. The sea was speaking to me.

But serious magic started on the fourth dive. Now, if you know me, you know that I hate crowds. I hate crowds on land, and underwater. I don’t like others crowding into my space (and being as I’m under tall, this happens a lot). So, on this particular dive, I was slightly behind and away from the group. The current was vicious, and the entire group clung to the rocks to not be blown away. The group was in a line – and I was in the back. The sharks started parading on the bottom. One after the other. Mainly these were hammerheads, with the occasional Galapagos shark, black tips and white tips. But, all of a sudden, there was a school of sharks coming in the opposite direction. I had the first, unobstructed view of about twenty hammerheads slowly parading by. Minutes passed. If I hadn’t been 70 feet down, I might have held my breath, watching the majesty of these animals. When the parade slowed, the divemaster leading the dive high-fived me, and made a sign of her head exploding.


Halfway through the week, I hit my four-hundredth dive. Now – I don’t know how readers will feel about this. I know divers with thousands of dives (in fact the owner of the dive shop where I worked hit her 13,000th dive while she was traveling when I was in Roatan). But, for me, 400 is significant. When I started my dive master program, last July, I had 40 dives under my belt. So, in just over a year, I’ve done 360 dives. But more than that, five years ago, I had a scary experience. It was one of my first dives back after a very long breakI wasn’t sure I

really wanted to dive again. My confidence in my abilities was shaken. But, I decided not to wait. I went back to diving the very next day. I tried again. That dive was still not great. It took time, and some very patient teachers to regain my confidence. But, honestly – I’m better for it. I think it makes me a more aware diver and a better teacher.


What have I learned in the past through my time diving? Well – in life, even if things have come pretty naturally, it doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Things that you love still take attention and effort. While most people are well-intentioned, it is important to know how to handle yourself in an emergency. It’s better if you don’t have to rely on others to keep you safe. Be smart about who you give responsibility for your life. If you run into problems, don’t wait too long before you try again. Don’t let fear obstruct your goals. There is beauty in the world

even in the most mucky places if you only take the time to see it. Learn from your mistakes. Let them make you better. Be humble. Everyone makes mistakes. When you can, throw caution to the wind and embrace the adventure, but be smart about when you do that. Take time to pat yourself on the back for the accomplishments you’ve had. Enjoy the big and the small. Take in the moment. And, every once in a blue moon, do something for yourself even if it’s a bit beyond your means. As far as I know, we only get one life. Live it.


The underwater pictures are not my own. I have shamelessly stolen them from my fellow divers. I hope they forgive me.




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Guest
Aug 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Words to live by!! YOLO👍

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jeniferfoster2
Aug 14, 2023
Replying to

I love it! Yes! :). Do the unexpected!

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