When I decided to take a sabbatical from work, one of the first things I did was research amazing things to do around the world. I quickly found Mt. Kilimanjaro. 1. I’ve never been to Africa 2. Its the highest summit available to hike without oxygen assistance. 3. Why not?
And so it began. I hiked and summited Uhuru Peak Mount Kilimanjaro.
A week later and its time for Ocean Dives of the Open Water Course. I missed Saturday’s session because I had family in town. On Sunday, I woke up at 5:30am and drove down to Monterey, CA. The popular dive spot for open water courses is Breakwater Cove. It looked like there was about 4 different classes going on. Any Water Sports (AWS) had 7 divers. Diver Dan’s had 16 divers. I don’t know the ratio for Diver Dan’s, but we had 7 divers, 2 instructors and 2 divemasters. Claude (the DM that lent me tanks) was hanging out before his tech course. oh la la, tech course anyone?
The AWS folks are in the center of the grassy area. Everyone in good spirits. Well Kinda. The students had minor complaints about the wetsuits still being wet and geese poop everywhere. It was about 7:30am on a Sunday, so I would be cranky about goose poop and wet wetsuits as well.
Green Eyes. Dry Suits.
I felt pretty bad wearing my sweatpants and putting on my drysuit. The students were a pack of seals eyeing a sweet piece of fish. Every now and again they would look over at the instructors and DM. Sigh, drool, yelp. Yoga posing to get into the wetsuits. Did I mention how much I love my drysuit?? I pull on my suspenders a bit and take a step back to hang out while waiting for the students to suit up.
Dive 3 Navigation and More
The instructors did a quick briefing on compass navigation and I walked around and helped out turning the bezel and explaining where “N” goes. Then the instructors went over what we all needed to do for Dive 3. Surface Navigation, 5 point descent, followed by under water navigation, demonstrating Hover, Safety Stop, and 4 point ascent. Boom. End Dive.
It’s been about a month since I left Iceland. I left the island not knowing what or where I would be going next. For now, I’ve decided to chill out with my family and take some time to catch up on everything I’ve been missing in the states. Besides eating In N’ Out everyday, I figured I better start diving again to work off all those burgers.
I yelped a few places around San Jose and found Any Water Sports. I went by one day just to rent some tanks. Everyone in the store was really attentive and friendly. Almost too helpful! There wasn’t a minute that went by where someone didn’t ask me if I needed something. At first, I didn’t know how to react. Then I gave in and engaged in the art of small talk. Refreshing. I know that sounds weird, but visit Iceland and try to small talk with anyone in a shop. Crickets. It doesn’t happen. I left the store feeling like they were a group of scuba nerds just hanging out. Good times.
After a few tank rentals, I spoke with the owner and expressed my interest in being a divemaster for the store. We had a really informal chat about the business and BOOM. I found a job!
In returning to California, the first thing I had to do was pick up my cat and get her to San Jose to stay with me. I booked a Southwest flight for myself and also a one way pet fare ($95). Southwest is pretty chill about pets in the cabin. As of now the rule is that you must book ahead, and check in with the pet the day of travel. I didn’t even need to show them my vaccination page.
First Phase: The Car Ride in the Carrier
I decide to go to the airport extra early because I wasn’t sure of the shenanigans she was going to get into. I had put the carrier out by her favorite chill spot the day before. Jade didn’t seem to care about this one way or another. I pick up the cat and boom, drop her into the bag and quickly zip it up as she tries to shove her head out of the opening.
Once we got in the car, she started to let me know she was annoyed. Meow. Meow. Meow. So I let her out and had her sit in my lap.
Second Phase: The Airport and Security with my Feline Friend
Once we got to the airport, she was pretty good. Just a meow every now and again to let me know she was not feeling the airport. The check-in took about 2 minutes. Southwest Airlines took my money and put a tag on the carrier. Boom. End Checkin Process. So easy.
The security check was pretty fun. There was no line in security and I had TSA precheck so I didn’t need to take off my shoes. I grabbed the bag and took Jade out of the carrier and walked through. Then I had to stand there holding Jade as she looked puzzled. Her little body dangling down. Some lady said, ” wow, my cat would never be so chill,” I felt like we bonded of crazy cat lady life. Little did anyone know the trouble ahead of me.
Coming back to America, I never realized the horrible pain of the Imperial measurement system. Not to knockdown my fellow Americans, but why do we measure stuff like this? WHY?
Ok, that was my rant. Now here is some useful information that I have been noting between diving in Europe, Asia and America.