Tofo Day 2: Starting the trip with a very big, ugly, sick left foot…

28 septiembre

Perdón pero este va en ingles porque así lo he estado escribiendo en mi cabeza durante el transcurso del día…pero les dejo el comienzo en español que ese no lo he “escrito” aun.

The day did not begin that great. I had to be at the dive center at 7, so I woke up at 5:55. I had gone to bed very late the night before because I got home at around 11, had to unpack and organize my things and then get ready for bed (and off course there was a mosquito inside my bed net which I unsuccessfully attempted to hunt for a while). So, by 6:30 I’m upstairs to get breakfast because supposedly  breakfast is available from 6…6:45 and still no one (just another guest), the guy gets there like at 6:50 and at 7 I get a small serving of fruit, yogurt and granola. I have no time to wait for eggs or anything so I go like that. Get to the dive center at 7:10, start prepping equipment, just kinda waiting and stuff, then we get a shot prep for the dive and watch a short video about Manta Rays and how to behave appropriately with them. Because the water is still cold (from 19-23 degrees C) we use 5mm wet suits, I use an extra 5mm half wet suit to keep warm because some guests at the hotel said the water was very cold and one of them left before because it was too cold to handle. I had never dived with such thick wetsuits, and it is very, very tight and you just feel very constricted.
It takes a while for us to actually get on the boat and go, at around 9ish we leave.
Now, I have never in my life been sick on a boat (I even said it the night before, thanks Murphy) but this day was going to be a first of many!
So, it is very windy and lots of waves. While the boat moves its not too bad, but it is a long ride to our spot and my stomach is not feeling well. As soon as the boat stops to get ready, the sea sickness begins. At first I thought it was just me, my face must have been really obvious because they asked if I was alright…I just foused on the horizon and deep breaths, but soon enough two of the Israelis were siker than me and throwing up out of the boat. Mind you, this boat is tight…its one of those rubber inflatable boats designed for dives so it moves a lot. Putting on the gear was hell because just one second of looking in the boat was like riding a roller coaster 10 times. I was really feeling unwell, the water was very choppy and my mask was a bit fogged (I can fix it later I told myself…idiot!). Here all immersions are negative immersions (they’re called something like that) which basically means you jump with your gear all on and go down immediately because the current on top is too strong. The dive master carries a buoy with a long rope so the boat sees her from above and then the divers can follow the rope down. (For this dive our dive master was Frida, a Swedish woman who is the exact replica of a picture of my mom in her 20s).
3, 2, 1, GO – The 10 of us jump backwards, bubbles everywhere, crazyness. The wetsuits get tight, I can’t seem to go down at all so eventually I just start kicking a lot to go straight down fast. I get down, Frida asks if im OK and I say im OK – bullshit. After about 10 seconds I realize I really cant control the way im feeling which is basically – I feel I cant breathe! 28m underwater and having a panic/anxiety attack is just NOT a good feeling I tell you. I normally feel very anxious the first couple of minutes I begin diving but its while you just get into the flow of things and relax, mind over matter. Well, that didn’t work in this case. I grab on to Frida and tell her I can’t breathe and I NEED to go up. She  tries to calm me down while the other dive master (Raymond) gets me and we can go up. I had seriously never felt so horrible as today, it is incredibly scary to feel how I felt underwater, and I am so incredibly thankful for having the instructors I did who were so emphatic regarding safety that I simply knew the right thing to do even though I was very scared – get a dive master, do the signals, ask to go up. I completely understand how someone could simply go into panic and bolt up which would be terribly dangerous.
So, I grab on to Raymond and squeeze his hand while we slowly go up and do our safety stop. I swear I had never enjoyed getting my head of out the water so much. By the time I’m overwater I’m just feeling embarrassed and very upset with myself because I mean, this is my first dive here, and I’m in freaking Mozambique! There are humpback whales around me and I just get into panic attack…damn me! But well, I get on the boat and now I have to wait around 20min before everyone gets out…in this rocking boat…I focus on the horizon, and breathe. I don’t feel perfect but im not too sick.
A couple of minutes later one of the Israelis, Michael, comes out too because he ran out of air. The few seconds I looked in the boat while trying to help him get on and just talked to him killed me – I got very, very, very sea sick. Yea, it was coming…I was definitely going to throw up, my stomach started cramping and I began salivating a lot (yes this is disgusting but its simply what happens when you’re gonna throw up). I turn to look out the boat but I still don’t want to throw up, its gross, I have nothing in my stomach so its just going to burn and I fear once I begin I wont stop. So, magically, I breathe my way out of it…in the meantime the Israeli guy is throwing up next to me and that just made me decide – I am definitelynot going to throw up. It actually made me think a lot of my grandma, she would be proud of me…”no perdí el glamour”.
Everyone gets on the boat, more sea sickness from others, more throwing up from others (there were 10 of us, around 5 were sea sick and 3 were throwing up). The long ride back begins, I snooze off on the back-now this is what boat rides are for me! Snoozing with the sound of the engine while trying to hold on during the big waves.
We get to land, oh sweet sweet land…not moving or rocking, just firm…such a nice feeling.
I tell Nick about what happened, “basically, everything that could have gone wrong did…so after today things can only get better”. He suggests I just do a shallow dive to begin with but today’s is booked so tomorrow afternoon. I try to sign up for the deep one in the morning knowing that its just mental but after other suggest the same I said ok, they are definitely more experienced than I am so I trust them.
We go have lunch (Israelis and a Spanish guy, which means YEY I can speak Spanish again!), the food takes an hour and I’m starving but it finally arrives, we eat and I go to the room to get ready for my afternoon at the beach- reading and tanning. I walk by the dive center to get my gear and Nick tells me they canceled and I can go diving if im up for it – I say “off course! Just give me anti-nausea pill first please!”
Took the pill, put on my two wetsuits, prep my gear, get to the beach, move the boat, hop on, we’re out on the ocean again (the waves are even bigger because the wind picked up more). I am very nervous about the dive, now its just mental anxiety… I really don’t want to feel the way I did in the morning. Again: 3, 2, 1, GO. We jump backwards, someone’s tank hits me in the head, and my weights just fall off. I wore 5 in the morning and I’m wearing 7 now suggested by Raymond to see how I feel…this is very heavy. So, I struggle to put the weights back on, one of the dive masters help me out and we begin going down. I was still very nervous but it was the usual nervousness, my first 5 min are just me talking to myself “calm down, just focus on breathing not the fish or anything, just breathe and relax…with a voice in my head saying “why would you want to put yourself through this, what’s wrong with you?”.
The visibility was not perfect but it was good, and there were so, so many fish. I had to struggle the whole dive with my buoyancy, I think I had too many weights and I was simply all over the place which is incredibly annoying not only for me but for everyone around you. I just hate having to use my arms to try to balance myself and be struggling the whole way (my legs were very tired, very fast). At the end we saw a turtle, so now I could answer the voice in my head that was asking me “why would you put yourself through this?” “Because of this! Because I can share the same space with an octopus, a giant eel, and a beautiful and free turtle just 2m from where I am…this is definitely worth it”.
The dive finished and we went on the boat, poor Michael had some problems at the beginning of his dive and left so he waited in the boat and was clearly sick again (waves were a lot worst this time), just curled over the side of the boat the whole ride back to land.
After getting things picked up and washed I came to take a shower and was supposed to meet at 6 for dinner. There was a problem with the water, I assumed it was just that there were too many people at the same time so not enough water so I decided to wait for a bit (in my towel already) and I completely passed out on the bed. The curtains opened because of the wind and I think every guest that left for my dinner saw me sleeping in my towel…oops. Well, woke up 6:30 and still no water so I get dressed and go for dinner, my partner for the night: my kindle with a very fun book I’m reading, The Happiness Project (perfect moment to read it too). I ate a good hamburger, read some more and came back to the hotel to focus on getting my day on writing.
Tomorrow I have a 7am deep dive again. This time I will be able to go down. I am more calmed and just know that I can do it at my own pace and there is no need for rushing down or stressing out. Today there was a humpback whale around 8-10 meters from where they were diving (the divers didn’t notice, just heard them but I could see them from above), another dive group actually saw three of them that passed near, and our group also saw hammerhead and a white tip! So, tomorrow I’m super excited about seeing some big stuff and this time I will have my camera! (Took it to test it out in the morning and didn’t have it in the afternoon because I didn’t expect to dive).  Am I nervous? Hell yea! But, as I said…it can’t get worst than today, I’ll eat better tomorrow, be less nervous and definitely take the anti-nausea pill before getting on the boat.
This is a VERY long post, not sure anyone will actually read it all but it’s mainly so I can remember everything about my trip because so many details are forgotten way too fast.
So, if you read all the way here then give a big hug to the yellow unicorn on your right as a congrats!
p.d – I realized I wrote 2600 words just now…if only the extended essay in high school would have been this easy!
p.p.d – PLEASE, never pee in a wet suit that isn’t actually yours. It gets very stinky afterwards and those who don’t pee in it still end up smelling like old pee so just hold it, pee before you get in it or just get your own and pee all you want!


2 comments on “Tofo Day 2: Starting the trip with a very big, ugly, sick left foot…
  1. Lo leí hasta el final 🙂 Me da mucha alegria comprobar que estas viviendo cosas maravillosas,esa era la idea no?
    Animo y sigue creciendo 🙂

  2. Pacho Vega says:

    Hey!!!!! en este momento solo me estoy diciendo a mi mismo… Que hago aca??? (y eso que vengo de tu casa de pasar una noche muy rica con tus papas, una super hamburguesa, buena charla, lolamento y pipo, incluso vimos el partido de Millos los tres….) pero solo de pensar que manana me despertare en Panama sin ti y teniendome que ir a encerrar a un salon de un hotel todo el dia me da mucha tristeza de no haber tenido el coraje y dejar muchas cosas a un lado y estar contigo en ese paraiso. Me encanto tu blog, que buena forma de compartit (guardar) esa experiencia… Me siento feliz que estes asi de contenta, sigue pasandola muy rico, Te mando un beso enorme…

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