Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DRIVE and DIVE Victoria

I’ve already written that I was SO fortunate to go to Australia with Corey. It is a neat place….it was nice and warm (loved that!) I also shared with you that the reason Corey took me is because the price of the plane ticket was cheaper than the therapy he would have to cover if he left me in Hong Kong for 16 days, when I had not even BEEN in HK for 16 days. What I did not tell you is that Corey had been planning scuba diving all along in OZ and I was a little bitter that he would be getting dives in while I was quietly having a nervous breakdown in a strange city. You see, you count your dives. Corey is already 2 dives ahead of me, and it did not sit right that after this trip he would be 6 dives ahead (this is something we were to do TOGETHER…Corey was cheating by diving on trips I did not attend)

He asked me on the trip by putting my reservation in an early Valentine’s card. (Collective AWWWWW). He said he needed a “dive buddy” and please come with him (well, the ticket was bought, so off we go!)

We dove in Sydney, but quite honestly, they weren’t great. It was nice to get those “check” dives out of the way before we went on our wreck dive in Victoria. My muscle memory was back, and we were ready to rock

Let me state now that my husband is a Type A personality. Not in a bad manipulative way, but when we travel there are folders, punched pages in trip order and plastic sleeves to hold receipts. We are very organized.

For those that don’t know, my husband is also a logistics expert. No, really, a professional (yes, he gets paid) logistics expert. I’m not sure what happened here, but his type A-ness had abandoned him. Remember, we don’t plan to fail, we just fail to plan.

OK…background done. We were scheduled to Dive Victoria on Saturday morning. Corey was lucky enough to be done with his sales calls early Friday so we had a chance to tour Melbourne together. We headed back to the hotel after a great walk around the city. Around 4:30, Corey decides it’s time to “check where we are going tomorrow”

HUH? I saw printed pages! There were reservation forms, phone calls, sizing questions answered…what is this “check where we are going”?

Ok…here is where I knew we were in a little bit of a pickle. The zip code of OUR hotel in Melbourne was 3000. The zip code to where we HAD to be at 8 am in the morning? 3922.

Corey pointed out on the map where we were headed. My voice immediately went up 7 or 8 notches…”do you realize how FAR that is? It’s a 2 hour drive”

A quick Google search showed that mass transit was not to be, at least, not at that hour of the day on a weekend. It would have been a train ride, then a bus ride of over an hour. Yep, not a solution.

“I guess we better rent a car” So, again, the internet is a wondrous thing. We found a Hertz rental right in town (but wait, if we used our Hertz Gold number the rental was $50 MORE…yea, we deleted THAT number pretty quick)…and off we went, and me without my anti-anxiety meds.

We got to Hertz in the nick of time. Of course, they were out of GPS systems, so navigating was on me. We normally don’t, but b/c of the whole driving on the wrong side of the road and car thing (don’t even ASK where the turn signals are), we bought the insurance. ($38 bucks and we had complete peace of mind). The Hertz Rep did NOT appreciate Corey's "I can total the thing and just walk away?" comment. (While he smiled, he was NOT kidding)

Now, it’s Friday night in downtown Melbourne. You think there was a little traffic? There was a TON of traffic. Friday night is the same everywhere in the world. OH and it was raining by now.

We exited the garage ok. We only had to make two right hand turns and a left to get back to our hotel. Never underestimate these turns when you are dodging cabs, pedestrians, trolleys, bike riders, more trolleys and roads divided into 4’s (each side of the road had a road and an access road)

Well, we made it back. Even Corey was a little bit pale from this experience…it was the double trolley dodging that almost did him in.

The next day we did just great getting to Victoria. Corey did have some issues with the car wanting to go left…the lane separators and my screams reminding him he was not in a lane or was about to hit a curb (it was MY side of the car mind you…I had clear view of how out of the lane we were). This stopped pretty quickly. The only thing that eluded him was the turn signals.

We got there, got everything sized and were ready to go.

We walked to the boat fully geared up. (Think 40-50 pounds of gear). I was the only woman on a boat with 15 guys (our guide had NO trouble spotting the “Katherine” on the boat…boy is he observant).

Most of these guys are hard core, dry suit, double tank divers. They go out most weekends...probably diving 100-150 dives year. (We get 10 to 15 if we are in Maui for 2 weeks)

We set off and it’s all good. However, we were warned it “might get rough” getting to the site. Cue the waves. The captain had to throw the boat into reverse as we climbed these 10 foot “swells” No, they weren’t “Deadliest Catch” waves and I would not disrespect those who do that work or who have been injured or died on the seas, but to me…all I could think was “rogue wave”

The dive is the HMAS Canberra FFG2. This ship was purposely sunk to create a reef.

We get to the site, and I am once again thankful that I am not prone to motion sickness of any kind. Now is the time that we are told that b/c of the conditions, the boat could not anchor, we would be doing “live” pickups…don’t worry, the captain is GREAT at live pickups. He brings the boat right at you and just before he runs you over, he maneuvers it so you can grab the rail on the side and then move to the ladder, where you will climb up fully geared, fins and reg in your mouth (in case you fall back into the water)


Here is where I confess that while Corey LOVES diving, I like diving. I do it, but I want those “pristine” conditions and trying something new really freaks me out and I have to mentally work into it. I am also petrified of making an ass out of myself.

I start to panic at the thought of getting back into the boat, and I haven’t even gotten out of it yet. Corey and I snipe a little back and forth and I’m still panicking as I make my way to the back. Corey made a pretty valid point. They had never left me in the ocean yet, what made me think they were going to leave me here?

Our guide goes first, I follow. Conditions dictate get in and submerge, but he sees I am not ready for this. Corey and two other divers follow and we wait a couple minutes for my heart rate to come down from cardiac arrest.

This guy was a real pro. He knew that by giving me some time to calm down, I would be fine…and I was. It was a GREAT dive! The ship was from the Korean War, and while we did not “go fully” into the ship, we did get to go into the bridge, see the controls and the captain’s chair, and we went into the hanger where the helicopters were stored. The water was cold, but not too cold. We were in the water 33 minutes (that was a lot of anxiety for 33 minutes…I like shore diving…you get 50 to 60 minutes for your anxiety attack!)

We were at our deepest 90 feet, and shallowest at 70, until we surfaced.

Now, it’s time to get the dive boat aimed at me and time to climb a ladder in fins. Thank heaven for Corey and the helper on the boat…I had one unsteady moment, but did as I was told and voila! Safely on board.

We only did one dive that day (had to get the rental car back by 4).

Drive AND Dive Victoria was a complete success, but not without its nerve wracking moments. Those moments prove, once again, that you have to try something before you can know that you can do it.

I did let Corey know how much I love that he pushes me beyond my comfort zones. I would not be a diver, I would not be in Hong Kong, and I would have missed a lot of “life” if it was not for Corey. His faith in my abilities (where I have none) makes me a more complete person. I just need to locate and channel that myself, but for now, I will take his help.

1 comment:

  1. I just love those type-A personalities I know I wouldn't be where I am with out mine. Love reading your blog I can hear your voice when I read them, sad that I wont see you when I get back to Seattle.