Costa Brava Scuba Diving Experience | When Thumbs Up Meant Something Else Underwater


It has been exactly one year today. On this day, we were at Costa Brava, the coastal region of Northeastern Catalonia. After few minutes of theoretical training of Do’s, Dont’s and sign languages to be followed underwater, I was on the boat in a spandex scuba suit excited about my first dive as a non swimmer. “Who are those two non swimmers?” my trainer asks. Two hands go up in the air all excited. In retrospect, we should been rather embarrassed at that moment. She smiles at us. “You people are brave” she says. “So you two are going in first, let us see if you both can handle things down there. Once you both are fine we will get the other two divers down”. So we geared up further, still in the same excitement. With our asses comfortable on that boat’s bulwark, smiling at each other, she asked, “You would be diving deep into this sea now, do you remember the theoretical part we taught you on the shore?”. That was the moment when my fear gave a tight slap on my excited face. Don’t blame me for that. It is tough to remember everything when one is excited, OK!

Noon at L'Escala

Would you believe if I say this is how summer noon looked like at L’Escala? (Time: 11:56am)

Old Guy Snorkeling

All excited to see an old guy Snorkeling

Mist gone at L'escala

Where did the mist disappear? (Time: 12:26pm)

All the funny experiences started underwater as expected. Just like a student in an examination hall trying to remember the answers for the questions he had just revised few seconds before entering the examination hall.  I was super fine underwater, but I looked worried in the first few minutes because I was trying to recall all the things they taught us. We Indians, are too accustomed to the thumbs up hand signal to be a sign for everything is fine. “Hey dude! How are you?”. “Perfect!” (With his thumbs up). “Hey everything is okay (thumbs up again)?”. Yeah! Yeah! I am totally fine! (Thumbs up yet again). “I have an exam coming up!”, “Oh dude all the best! (Thumbs up here too!). So basically this thumbs up signal goes perfect for all those shit when you want to convey that things are perfect or okay.

Dive Suits

Look who is waiting! Our dive suits!

Excitement before the dive

Yeah! That’s called excitement!

Sadly, on that day this thumbs up meant “Oh, I am not at all fine or something is wrong with me or I think I have shat my pants or I think I might die in a few seconds. Take me up!” So thumb pointing up to the air suggests that you are done with this shit and you want to hear some people speak, up over there. So my trainer would ask now and then if I was doing fine. My natural instinct to indicate I was OK was to point my thumbs up. She would freak out, hold me tight and swim towards the surface. I would be like “OK wait, what the heck was that again to say I was fine?!” thinking hard as we swam to the surface. “Ah got it!” my stupid mind would say. I would signal her and she would take me down again after having reached the surface. I was also left alone on the seabed as I assured her that I would do fine without her, with perfect hand signals this time though. I hadn’t heard my heart beat that loud ever before. Your ear lobes dilate as pressure builds up. Best yet the scariest feeling I had. You are sitting in a deserted park alone. You are sure that you haven’t messed up with any in recent times and you see a huge group of people with hockey sticks in their hand ample meters away, one guy points his finger towards you and they start running towards you with an angry look on their faces. How would you feel? Panicked? Fearful? I felt exactly the same when I saw a shoal of shiny huge fishes swimming towards me. I am a good liar, so I would say I handled that moment really well without pissing my pants off. Nevertheless, I was fine after they decided to window shop me. Still trying to figure out how to to walk too, I managed to see the beautiful aquatic life down there on that seabed. Too much beauty indeed. Too much beauty affects your mind too, like it did to mine that following moment. My trainer who happened to be around 50 meters away above me signals to ask me if I was OK. Here I am yet again smiling stupidly within my mind and signaling her a thumbs up. Everytime I did that, my hand showed me it’s longest finger to my stupid mind. I pity her for keeping up with my stupid sign language even to this day.

Last minute lessons

Instructors cheering us up with few lessons about our suits and things we were about to do!

Getting geared up

Oh wait!! Something is wrong! 😀

Off we jump

Let the adventures begin!

Diving Surroundings

Our diving surroundings

We got on really well with our trainers and we became good friends at end of our dive. After a few drinks onboard and lot of swimming on the sea surface, we reached ashore happier than ever before.(If you’re wondering how this non swimmer suddenly started swimming, spandex scuba suit helps one float on water :P)

Post Dive - 1

Post Dive – 1

Post Dive - 2

Post Dive – 2

The Diving Team

The Team!

So what makes your mind stupid at such an amazing time?

It is the fear sometimes and excitement other times. It is your  calmness sometimes and your panic other times. It is being too sad sometimes and being too happy other times. It is being too proud of oneself sometime and it’s being too shameful of oneself other times. So you tend to be or act stupid at both extremes. It’s okay to be a stupid. The thing that matters most is your experience. Stupidity is what all it takes to create memories that keep you happy.

About The Author:
This guest post is written by my blogger friend Shivu Sheelavantar, describing his Costa Brava scuba diving experience. Too old to be a boy, too young to be an uncle. An engineer, a vivid traveller with lucid writing dreams who writes about anything interesting that pops in his mind. Shivu is pursuing his higher studies in Germany and pinning the European countries to his travel journal one after the other. An engineer with loads of creativity is what could describe Shivu the best.

Have you ever gone scuba diving anywhere? Do leave a comment and don’t forget to hit the share button! 🙂

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A techie by profession and an ardent traveler & reader by passion. Wife to an equally travel-bug-bitten husband. Together finding solace in traveling.

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