Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pausing for a Moment of Thanks

There are times when I stop to reflect on my upbringing and consider how lucky I was to have such generous parents. I've previously written about how they supported my interest in international travel. Another expensive hobby that they enabled me to pursue was scuba diving.

As a small child, I always remember we had this series of Jacques Cousteau books on the bookshelf in our living room. I used to like to flip through them and look at the pictures of stuff underwater. That didn't really lure me to the water, but I think it laid the foundation for what was to come later. The first I remember really having a burning desire to take scuba lessons was when I went to 6th grade camp at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI). We got to put on full wetsuits and go snorkeling, and I had a blast. I wanted to go deeper and stay down longer.

Back then, you had to be 14 years old to take scuba lessons. My Mom & Dad gave in and let me take scuba lessons for my 14th birthday. My initial certification was through the YMCA program on the Naval Station in San Diego. After that, I did a LOT of scuba diving around San Diego, and several day trips down into Baja California with a local dive shop.

Not long afterward, I woke up Christmas morning to find a short round cylindrical object wrapped for me under the Christmas tree. Turns out it was a tank boot with a note for me to go see what was in the garage. In the garage I found [Cue Sound Effect: Angelic Choir Singing Hallelujah Chorus] my new scuba tank, BC (buoyancy compensator), and regulator setup. SCORE! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! At that point, the only thing I didn't have was a wetsuit, and who knew if I would grow more or gain or lose weight, so I could just rent wetsuits until my body size stabilized. Having my own tank, BC, and regulator was AWESOME.

So what brought all this up, you ask?

I'm going scuba diving tomorrow morning with some visiting friends from San Diego. We were walking through the NEX this afternoon and they had a big Dive Oahu tent sale going on in front of the store (it's going on this weekend and Memorial Day weekend). As I looked at the prices on the BC's and regulators at the NEX, and then again tonight as I was packing up my scuba gear to get ready for tomorrow morning, it just struck me what an awesome gift that was. I imagine my Mom and Dad had some considerable sticker shock spending that much money on me for Christmas that year (I don't think they ever spent that much any Christmas before or after - not that I'm complaining!). It's just amazing that was over 20 YEARS ago and I'm STILL using the same scuba gear.

Blunoz in 20+ Year Old Scuba Gear
(Note the silhouette of a turtle in the lower left corner)
YO-257 Wreck off Waikiki, 2008

During my last two years of high school, I was also blessed by the generosity of my dad and stepmom up in Oregon. They were enablers of my scuba habbit in that they allowed me to get a part-time job at a local scuba diving shop in Portland (see my C-card photo here) and provided me with a car and insurance to get there. Oh... and a good amount of gasoline, too. :-) (Much to my dad's annoyance when I would return the car with an empty gas tank - sorry about that, Dad.) They would also allow me to take the car to the Oregon coast for the weekend to go scuba diving out of Newport or Tillamook, or up to Hood Canal in Washington. They also spoiled me with a Nikonos V underwater camera back when they cost five times what they cost now on eBay.

Anyway, I decided to take a break from packing up my scuba gear for tomorrow and say thanks to my parents for enabling me to have such great experiences scuba diving over the past two decades.


Corey said...

Where are you going? Enjoy the diving and be safe!

JoLee said...

You are very welcome. It is a "habit" we gladly supported... why else would I have suggested you have your Senior Picture taken with your beautiful blue scuba tank! ..... although I don't believe I've ever been that cold as that day @ Winchester Bay when you and Dad went diving off that pier! Wow, my teeth are still chattering and it's been about 18 years!