Sunday, April 13, 2008

Something That Changed My Life

From time to time I participate in the Mystery Topic Challenge over at Blog Ninjas. This very rarely has anything to do with politics, so today's post will be a little off topic.

The topic is “describe someone or something that changed your or someone’s life, but the change agent has no idea that it or they had any affect on you.”

It is hard to pick something or someone that had a profound impact on your life, but had no idea they had done it. I was thinking about my last "Quick Notes" post, and remembered the first time I ever went SCUBA diving.

My wife and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I had thought about getting into SCUBA diving, but didn't want to spend the money on it only to find out I didn't like it. I walked into a dive shop in Maui and saw they offered a "resort course" for $100. You didn't have to be a diver. The course gave you the bare basics, then you did two dives with an instructor. I quickly signed up.

The morning of the dives, I spent a few hours learning about diving in the shop. The instructor showed me some of the equipment, and had me watch a few videos. After lunch, we got our gear together, loaded onto the boat, and headed out.

The dive was at a location referred to as "Turtle Reef". The instructor thought there was a good chance we would see green sea turtles, but wasn't sure. We were the last to get into the water because I was a newbie, and had to be checked out on my skills. I will never forget the first moment my head went under water and I was still able to breath.

We spent about 30 minutes swimming around. I was amazed at the coral and the tropical fish. The instructor signaled that it was time to head back to the boat. As we approached, I saw something at the edge of my visibility. I stopped and tried to figure out what it was. I was about 30 or 35 feet underwater, the boat was behind me, and my instructor was in easy arms reach. The "shadow" I saw moving towards us looked like a small airplane. As it came into view, I realized I was seeing my first green sea turtle. The turtle continued towards us, then slowly swam above our heads. For a brief moment, the turtle was between me and the surface. As it crossed in front of the sun, its shell was outlined in a gold halo that I remember to this day. I was amazed at the size of the turtle, and it's total lack of concern that people were in the water with it.

Back on the boat, I asked the instructor how big the turtle was. I knew that size is hard to judge underwater, but the turtle had looked like a monster to me. The instructor told me that he guessed the turtle had about a seven foot diameter shell. He also said it was the biggest turtle he had ever seen in the area. I knew one other fact the instructor may not have known...I was hooked on diving.

I came back to Atlanta, and eventually got certified as a SCUBA diver. I now have numerous SCUBA certifications including Rescue Diver, Master Scuba Diver, and Deep Diver. The SCUBA certification also helped me get the job I have now. I have over 100 logged dives, and I can't wait to get back into the water.

I am quite certain that turtle had no idea it would change my life. The turtle barely even acknowledged that I existed that day. But my life was forever changed.

Please visit the Mystery Topic Challenge Blog to view all of the other entries. Once you've read them all, please be sure to vote HERE for your favorite.


MooPig_Wisdom said...

Fabulous story: I think this calls for a poll right here --

A Turtle knows of his affect on Andy

B Turtle was unawares of Andy, thinking about his cute little Philipinno hawksbill turtle girl

C It was a remote control blow-up turtle the instructor had put in the water to hook first-timer divers on SCUBA

D The giant turtle left Andy D shell-shocked

SomeGoSoftly said...

Animals was one of mine - that counts! Love it! :)

Jayne d'Arcy said...

Very well done! I like that the turtle was your unknowing agent of change.

Mr President said...

I now know which entry I'm voting for...

Shiloh said...

This was great! Thank you!

Andy D said...

Wow, thanks for all the comments. I think this is the best response I have gotten for a non-political post. Thanks for all the positive comments.