In 2006, Rhonda and I went scuba diving in Fiji. It was the second time for her and the third time for me. I was freshly divorced, and Rhonda and I had been living together for two years.
Rhonda, John, and I are PADI-certified advanced divers. Rhonda had gotten her certification fairly recently, but I had over 120 dives under my belt and John had more than that. John and I had dived in Fiji, Truk, Palau, Saipan, Rota, and Kona, Hawaii. Our trips to Fiji, Truk, Palau, and Kona were on liveaboards, which means you live, eat, and sleep on the boat. They keep your dive gear all set up at the back of the boat, with your tanks filled and ready to go for each dive, and usually you do two morning dives and two afternoon dives, and a night dive with rest intervals in-between in which to decompress.
John and I loved the live-aboard life, and we took Rhonda with us on live-aboard trips to Fiji and Kona, our favorite locations. Unfortunately, Rhonda gets seasick just watching a hammock swing in the wind, so she spent most of those trips either puking or lying flat in her bunk. The only times she wasn’t sick was when she was actually diving. There’s no turbulence at sixty feet down; but when she came up to fifteen feet to do her three-minute safety stop, she was puking again. Nothing seemed to help.
I get seasick too, but I can take a pill and I’m fine, and after three days I have my sea legs and don’t need the pill anymore. She is fine with the pill for cars and planes, but she absolutely cannot do boats.
What made this trip different was that we stayed at the resort and went out on the dive boat from there. Also, we used scopolamine patches instead of pills. Rhonda started out from home with a patch, went through the entire trip with patches, and didn’t get sick once. She did take a day off from diving in the middle of the week, which was fortuitous because that day the sea was so rough that we were being thrown around and had to anchor ourselves to something immovable to get into our gear. I think that day would have done Rhonda in if she’d been out there with me.
Another thing that was different is that John wasn’t with us. We met really congenial people on our dive trips, but John was usually unhappy with me because I didn’t use up my air as fast as he did, so I could stay down longer and go deeper than he could, which didn’t exactly make me the ideal dive buddy for him. I was into underwater photography, and I would go chasing after something to get a picture and leave him behind. That tension tended to put people off. One of the people from the dive shop told John that he needed to find a different dive buddy, because, as he put it, “Jane’s a fish. You’re not.”
Being at the resort allowed us to avail ourselves of spa services, such as massages and facials. Also, Fiji is beautiful, and Fijians are delightful. The dive masters on the boat tried to teach us some phrases in Fijian, which was fun, but of course, we forgot them as soon as we got home. Fijians make fans out of palm leaves, and they are absolutely the best fans for those of us who suffer from hot flashes. One of the resort employees took us into town, and we were able to find Fiji fans for all our postmenopausal female friends back home and still have some left over.
Unfortunately, that was the last dive trip. Rhonda and I have become quite the couch potatoes. The arthritis in my hands makes it impossible to pull a wet suit on, even if I hadn’t outgrown it. Our dive stuff is still out there in the garage, but I don’t think we’ll ever use it again.
Anybody out there need some used dive gear?