Bubbles floated upward as I hovered near the coral ocean floor. It was exciting to see Alyssa, Jaeden, Dailin and Orin all in the water with me and their dive master. The coral gardens in Fiji are absolutely gorgeous and some of the best in the world. (Click here to view video)
For the past three days they had all been studying their books, practising in the pool and then learning how to dive in the open ocean. All of the theory, practise and drills all led up to this point where they could now explore the beautiful colours of fish and coral in tropical waters.
Until now we had not done much diving. Partly because I was nervous taking the kids on my own and partly because the regulators needed some tuning. I did take Dailin and Jaeden into the water once when getting our anchor unstuck in Palmerson but that was it. With the regulators tuned a few days ago however, there was little excuse to keep the kids out of the water. This area of the world has incredible sea life and I’m sure they would regret not scuba diving if we headed home now.
At the beginning of our Captain Cook Cruise I was pleasantly surprised to see them offering a scuba certification course. When I asked them if it could be done in the three remaining days, the divemaster said, “If they start this morning they can. We’ll study chapters one to three today, do a pool dive in the afternoon, and finish the last two chapters in the evening. That will leave us enough time to do two dives on Thursday and two on Friday.” The fact that they were also offering a two for one special in the month of October was the deal maker.
Kirsten and I went to the four oldest kids after breakfast and asked them if they would be interested in taking the scuba course. It was like asking Zakary if he wanted ice cream. I saw the “of course we do Dad” look on the kids faces as they lit up with excitement. Sure, it did mean that they would have to sacrifice all six snorkeling trips during the cruise but in the end they would be able to do one pool dive and four ocean dives.
For the first two days Alyssa, Jaeden, Dailin and Orin all sat in the lobby of the ship studying their books taking the occasional break to eat. By the time they went to the pool for their first practical lesson, their brains were fried from studying so much.
The real treat came when they all went into the open water for the first time. They were all amazed at the colours of the beautiful coral in the Fijian waters. I joined them for their second dive that day. Yes, they appeared a bit hesitant and uncertain as they followed the divemaster around the coral reef known as “The nuggets” (because of the yellow soft coral nuggets) but they did well. They were even courageous enough to pass under the overhanging coral shelf near the ocean floor.
It was a thrill for me to see them enjoying life in the water. Fiji is truly an amazing place to scuba dive and explore the brightly coloured fish and the hard and soft coral of the ocean. I watched each of my older kids carefully gliding through the water. Jaeden couldn’t resist showing off and spinning around doing summersalts. They all learned well and are now certified open water divers. Ready to explore the depths of the ocean as we continue our journey and as they take off on adventures of their own.