This past week our family went on a scuba diving vacation to Bonaire. It was an interesting experiment in togetherness while participating in a sporting activity. I learned a lot of things, including the fact that staying with three teenage boys and one husband in the same room big enough only for three beds is a challenge to the olfactory senses. Add in five wet suits that stink to high heaven after being constantly wet and by Wednesday mouth breathing was the only option.
Bugs, who had been diving with this particular group before didn’t seem keen on being within twenty feet of his brothers (hard to do on a small dive boat), so he took to the bow while the rest of us sat at the stern, much to the dismay of his mother who suspected that it wasn’t only his brothers he didn’t want to be associated with.
Roo and Buzzard had taken lessons before we left and did their final open water dive in Bonaire. I think they had fun, in spite of the odd scary moments, like when Roo showed me his air gauge and I misread it and thought it said he only had 500 pounds left (which is the point at which you should be climbing back into the boat). I actually said, “Oh Sh—!” into my regulator because I didn’t know where the boat was, let alone the dive master. We were at the end of the dive, so I hooked a thumb at him and took off in the general direction of the boat until we found the dive master and I could signal Roo’s low air. He pointed out the boat and we made a beeline for the ladder. Turned out I had misread the gauge, as he actually had 750 psi and we weren’t that far from the boat.
Buzzard had his scary moment when we did the wreck dive, and he thought he’d beat everyone to the bottom–at 60 feet, especially when maximum depth of the dive is 90 feet. We later had to explain that descent is not a race, but a slow, deliberate ballet of reaching the coral reef. I can hear Bugs now, “Ballet is not a scuba term…” Is there any wonder he placed himself on the other end of the boat?
Turns out Bugs is quite the ocean photographer. If he will let me, I will share some of his photos, which are really quite amazing and make me want to hide my own. The first trick to underwater photography is buoyancy control–something Bugs is very good at. He can hover just about anywhere with little or no movement, unlike me who actually put my hand down on fire coral (not on purpose, I assure you) just so I could get a picture of a shrimp on an anemone.
He also has an uncanny ability to sneak up on creatures of all sorts so he can get extraordinarily close. Maybe it’s because he’s smaller than me, but when the creatures see me coming, they run–er, swim the other way.
After we’d had a few days of diving I commented on how smooth the water was, and how much I appreciated the calm ocean and the lack of a rocking motion. Buzzard chimes in and says, “But I wanted to see you throw up off the back of the boat!” I responded with a dry, “Thanks.”
Thursday came and after hundreds of disappointing photos, I reconciled myself to the fact that if I wanted any of my own decent photos I would have to dive Friday and forego the previous plan of cleaning up all the stinky dirty laundry for our return trip. Otherwise I’d have to go begging for some from my son. Upon voicing this thought, Roo says, “Moms are supposed to do ALL the cleaning up. You know, do the laundry, fold it neatly, pack EVERYONE up…” I laughed loudly at this and pointing to myself said, “This mom? Not likely.”
So now I have a clearer view of my role to three teenage boys. I’m supposed to, 1. pretend I don’t know them in a group, 2. experience moments of public humiliation solely for their entertainment, and 3. clean up everyone’s week worth of fun while they are still having fun. Hmm….I think I’ll take my next vacation ALONE. :-)