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Published: November 8th 2007
My last stop in ever-surprising India = the beach state of Goa! I wanted to have one more Indian destination, and also figured it would be a perfect time to start my diving certification, so that I could maximize my time underwater in the Maldives! I was very excited to meet my diving instructor at the airport upon arrival, when he rolled up on his skateboard with my open water instruction manual, I felt an instant bond and knew we would get along great!
My first night in Goa, I headed straight for the first restaurant I saw advertising MEAT! I had to order the steak and french fries, and under the circumstances I have to say, it was the best steak ever! I was so happy to be back in the land of meat-eaters, as well as being in a bit more touristy neighborhood, therefore not as many stares! It had been a long 6 hour car ride back to Mumbai, then flight to Goa, so I headed to bed early to rest up for my next two days of diving certification!
Ajey and I met at a hotel in town and did a morning session of theory
and "classroom" instruction. We were not able to do the confined water portion at my own hotel pool because the staff pointed out the signs - "No Diving!" SERIOUSLY! Talk about a literal translation! I was immediately so interested and really excited to learn! A lot of the theory is scientific and obviously about the oceans, so I found it super fun (NERD ALERT) and easy to grasp. Ajey was an awesome teacher, and he has a marine engineering background, so we had lots to talk about and similar interests! In the afternoon I got to take my first breaths underwater in the swimming pool! It was soooo awesome! I immediately fell in love with it! We did some excercises and practice moves in the pool, and Ajey helped me find my first underwater treasure, a lost earring! 😊
The next day, we went out to the beach and the waves were rolling in rather large, so loading and getting into the boat (without a dock) was very interesting! They had four guys trying to stablize and hold the boat as the waves were rocking and crashing it into the beach and we had to quickly throw all our
stuff in and jump in before getting knocked over! As we started heading out, I was definitely nervous! It was a good nervous, a respect for the sea nervous, and a oh my, this is a new adventure that I've been looking forward to for years nervous! The first dive was sooo great, although I kept drifting up towards the surface! I felt like Harry Potter's aunt when he accidentally inflates her as you have no control over being too bouyant! But Ajey gave me an extra weight off his belt, and after that - NO PROBLEM! We went down about 8m and saw some great fish, feeding anenomes, and I pet a sea cucumber! My second dive was a little more nerve wracking - the visibility wasn't very good (only about 2m) and we had to stop and do some "drills" like flooding my mask and recovering a lost regulator (your AIR!) As we stopped to do the drills I got nervous, but Ajey was super patient and I passed with flying colors! (Also note, only one wrong on the final exam, I was so proud of myself!) Afterwards, Ajey and I went out to celebrate, and he took
me to a local "fast food" stop (a cart on the side of the road) that had the best spicy sausages in town! I also had a second sandwich of roast beef that was equally amazing!
My last day in Goa was all about relaxing, as it had been an exhilirating week of traveling and diving and emotional ups and downs! I spent the morning hanging around town and then was on a pre-arranged tour in the afternoon. I never thought I would feel so comfotable walking in a 18 inch space between a screaming honking bus and herd of 1000lb bull cows! But just another day on the streets of india! The tour took us to a few temples, and also a very famous catholic church that houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier! About half way through the tour I started to feel my first rumblings of an illness in India! I thought I was going to be the first westerner to escape india without getting sick, but my last night was pretty bad! I left the tour early and went to bed about 6pm without dinner. I had to get up at 4a anyways for my
looooooong trip to the Maldives!
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