The Globerollers have taken on many land based challenges over the past year, but we've begun to get bored with those challenges. As Roxy says, "we eat hills for breakfast". So it was time to step it up.
Monday morning we set out for a scubadiving adventure. After stuffing a dozen eggs in our faces and chowing down an assortment of baked goods, we were wet suit ready. We stumbled out of the breakfast buffet and saw our scubadiving shuttle pulling out of the hotel parking lot. Madeline rollerbladed full speed ahead, caught the front hood of the bus, and looked right into the driver's flabbergasted eyeballs. She gestured over to Julio and her Globerolling friend Roxy and he changed his expression to one of welcome. The driver got out of the shuttle, opened the door, and gestured to Madeline's rollerblades. "You can't rollerblade on the boat". "Can't I?" she asked as she lifted Roxy like a bride on to the bus. Next stop, Great Barrier Reef.
When we got to the dock, the driver continued to warn us of the risks of wheels on board. He told us how unsteady we would be, to which we replied, "this isn't our first rodeo" as we rolled up to the boat.
It's always embarrassing to talk a big talk about how Olympic we are on wheels and then stumble up a damp flight of stairs. When we finally got onto the boat, wet suits were introduced. As we fumbled, wiggled, giggled, and jerked our wet suits on all of the pretty boy scuba instructors remarked on how crazy those girls are. To which we replied, "we know we are but what are you?"
We were then given a crash course on diving and then a pop quiz directly after. We don't respond well to testing because Pink Floyd told us not to conform. Jules guarded his paper as we snuck just enough peaks to pass the quiz. Then paperwork was distributed and we both got uncomfortably quiet. Madeline asked, "are you lying about your medical history?" And before she could finish her sentence Roxy admitted shamelessly, "oh yea". We then took turns reading questions allowed and snickering at our truth marked lies:
Madeline: have you ever had a head injury? "No"
Roxy: are you on any medication? "No"
Madeline: can you hold your breath under water? "Yes".
Roxy: do you have a spinal chord injury? "No"
Muhahahaha! As they say, what they don't know might hurt us. Right?
This fun went on until it was time to hand over the paperwork. A pretty boy scuba instructor came by to look over our answers. He took an extra long look at Roxy's (rude) and considered asking her further questions, but her challenging glare gave him all the answers he needed.
Mermen decorated our bodies with vests and tanks and tubes and masks and then brought us to the water. No, our wheels didn't come with us. We thought about it, we fought about it, we taught about it, we took shots about it, but in the end we decided that wheels would rust and we were not about it.
We were given one on ones in the water with our scuba instructor. He was a soft spoken British man with no patience for the weak. We were meant to practice breathing with the respirator, practice getting the respirator back in our mouths if it were to fall out, and practice clearing our eye masks by exhaling aggressively through our noses if water were to leak in. Roxy was up first and breezed through the one on one with the British stud. Then Jules went next and got an A+. Madeline went last and bellyflopped, literally, and then metaphorically. She had a rough dismount off the deck of the boat and a rougher time clearing the water from her mask. Fun fact: Madeline must hold her nose whenever she goes under water, including when bobbing for apples. During the one on one she kept coming up gasping for breath as the British mermaid stud grew more and more impatient. He wasn't sure if she should go down for the dive with them and warned Madeline that if she comes up once, that's the end of her dive. Madeline assured him, "I work well under pressure".
Unfortunately this wasn't the same for Roxy. Jules and Madeline made their way down under in the down under (get it? We're in Australia...) while Roxy's ears succumbed to the pressure. Apparently it's harder to hold your nose and push air into your ears when the pressure gets intense if you don't have full control over your diaphragm. So Roxy opted to snorkel for the first dive after a hard fight with her imploding eardrums.
On the next dive, all three of us made it down under (in the down under). We scaled the rope attached to the anchor that had parked our boat in the middle of the sea. When we got to the bottom, we swam with our British Mermaid. We could never have prepared ourselves for what we saw. There it was, An entire empire under water and out of sight, too luscious for our landlocked eyes.
It's a scary thought to not be able to breathe without this strange device we had attached to our backs. Not to mention if anything goes wrong, we are over a minute's swim away from the surface of the ocean. All of the fear and panic and ear popping dilemmas washed away when we entered the magical kingdom of sea life. We all linked arms so as not to lose each other. The hardest thing to get used to was not being able to speak to each other with words. When we saw something worth speaking about, which was every second of the journey, we had to bring that moment inward and allow ourselves to bask in the isolated experience on our own. Quickly we surrendered to the way of scuba. Physically stay with the pack but spiritually wander. Look around you, under you, behind you. Stare at a piece of coral reef, notice how much life is in every crack of the structure. Take pictures with your mind's lens and bow down to the breathtaking hidden treasure of the universe (without letting them take your breath away).
40 minutes later we scaled back up the anchor's slimy rope and the ocean's cool air smothered us with kisses. We climbed aboard with a newfound wonder. What else is down there? How soon can we book our next scuba dive? And most importantly, how the funk did the creators of Finding Nemo get it so right?!
On board we reunited with our wheels and told them how much they were missed. They gave us the cold shoulder and we sure as Hell deserved it. Next time, they're coming with us.