Diving Solo

Tangodiver has just come back from diving in Sharm el Sheikh.  This was her fifth trip to Sharm in the last two years and the first one without The Divemaster.  As some of you may know, Sharm is where Tangodiver and The Divemaster met, even though they didn’t start dating until 3 years later.  Early this January, The Divemaster decided that he and Tangodiver should go their separate ways.

Although this came as a huge shock to Tangodiver, being ever so pro-active, she went ahead and booked her holiday to Sharm that she had intended on having with The Divemaster.  Clever girl that she is, Tangodiver made sure that she wasn’t there at the same time that he was – not that it would have mattered much to her as she has long ago decided that nothing will get in her way of getting on with her life and her plans.

No sooner than she had paid for her holiday, the protests started in Cairo.  Tangodiver made contingency plans if the holiday went pear-shaped and sweated out the next couple of weeks and wondered if she was ever going to get to Sharm.  It became particularly worrying when the internet blackout occurred in Egypt and there was no news from her Sharmies.  Tangodiver is extremely fond of her Sharmies and couldn’t help worrying about their safety.  Fortunately, all was good, everyone was safe, and life in Sharm was relatively normal. 🙂

In the few days before Tangodiver’s flight to Sharm, she started to wonder if maybe she made a mistake and should have booked a holiday elsewhere.  There were so many lovely memories of diving with The Divemaster.  She felt safe with him.   Not being the most confident diver she was worried if she would  end up being buddied by a complete dud.  She was wondering how her Sharmies would take to the news that she was on her own as she came to know them via The Divemaster.  Would they still be as nice to her without him?  Who was she going to hang out with?  She knew one person she had met before that was going to be there on her first week.  What about the rest of the time?  Doubts clouded her mind.  On the other hand, she knew Sharm.  She knew the staff, the dive-sites and the place.  After all, she went there by herself the very first time in 2006 and didn’t know a soul.  She had a great time then and will have a great time again.  Tangodiver believes in the rule that if one has been successful at something before, there is a likely chance that one will be successful at it again.  When Tangodiver has too much time on her hands, she can sometimes drive herself crazy with her thoughts. 🙂

When Tangodiver arrived at Sharm el Sheikh airport, there was a familiar face to greet her.  She had booked her holiday through Sportif Dive and the same man was there to meet her as last time.  He also fast-tracked her for her visa!  Being the only person on the bus, she was deposited at her hotel very quickly.  There was a sticky moment when she was all alone in her room.  It seemed so wrong somehow and she had a bit of trouble getting off to sleep.

The next morning was her first day of diving so she got up early for the daily routine of breakfast and getting ready.  The familiarity of routine was quite soothing and there was a familiar soul to share breakfast with.  In fact, the day started out quite well with hugs and kisses from some of her favourite Sharmies.  She was caught off-guard and was asked about doing a Nitrox course which she succumbed to after three people thought it would be a good idea.  Tangodiver is now Nitrox certified!  Tangodiver discovered that she was able to stay up much later than her usual bedtime of 8:30pm!  Even after two beers!  Two beers are Tangodiver’s limit on drinking when diving, but at least she didn’t feel like passing out until well after 9:30pm!  Some nights she didn’t go to bed until after 10 or 11pm!

Tangodiver buddied up with her dive guide, who was doing the Nitrox course with her.  Tangodiver was in very safe hands.  This was the first time that Tangodiver dived with this particular dive guide even though she had seen her many times before.  Now EM is one of Tangodiver’s all time favourite Sharmies!  On the first day, EM spotted an octopus on every dive.  How cool is that to see an octopus on the first day!  Those little critters are difficult to find.

When Tangodiver got back to her hotel after diving, there were some more familiar and friendly faces to be seen.  Things were looking up and Tangodiver ended her first day on a high.

Things progressively got better after the first day.  Tangodiver was buddied up with BB who she had met last September.  Tangodiver had seen him dive before. 🙂  (Just like dancing in a milonga, one must observe the other dancers/divers!)  So she was in safe hands.  That was such a relief to her.  He even made her cups of tea!   Tangodiver was relieved to know that there was someone looking out for her.  But then again, it is a mutual thing.  Having a good dive buddie can mean the difference between life and death as no one can predict what can happen once you are under the water.  Apart from one little glitch, which isn’t worth describing, and which Tangodiver dealt with quite calmly, the rest of the holiday went like a dream.  If there was any downside, it was that the weather was a bit windy, which made getting in and out of wet things very chilly.  Other than that, it was sunny and Tangodiver still came home with a nice tan!

It seems that Tangodiver worried about her holiday for nothing.  She had the same dive buddie for most of her holiday, she stayed up late and drank beer (it was the Nitrox=more beer), went out to dinner with friends, made some new friends, learned new things, saw some wonderful underwater life, and barely had time to read a book!  The only time she read was on the one day of enforced rest by the pool because the jetties were closed due to wind.  In fact, she even got to be in charge of a novice diver on the last two days because her buddie had to go home ( 😦  her bud had to go home 🙂 that she got to be in charge).  Though he didn’t need much looking after and did really well!  Tangodiver’s mom instincts were in full gear but she needn’t have worried.

On Tangodiver’s last evening, she spent it with the girls having a girls’ night in.  It was lovely of the girls to include Tangodiver and there was a lot of fun and hilarity.  It nearly brought a tear to her eye to know that she was included because of who she was, and not because of who she was with.

To say that Tangodiver had a wonderful holiday would be an understatement.  She had an amazing holiday on so many levels and now feels that she is over the hump and is feeling really positive about the future.

Some of the amazing creatures that were seen:  Octopus, eagle rays, turtles, Napoleon wrasse, massive groupers and barracuda, plus the usual suspects and beautiful corals.  To top it all off on the last day, there were about 25 stingrays of various types – feathertails, leopard, and others that Tangodiver doesn’t know the name of.  Once the first huge stingray was spotted, people didn’t know where to look as they were left, right and centre for the rest of the dive!  Absolutely amazing!  Tangodiver even got to dive the Kormoran on this holiday!

Diving Solo is a bit of a misnomer as no one ever really dives solo.  Tangodiver took up diving many years ago in order to conquer a fear and to have something to do so she could meet people when travelling alone.  Diving holidays are so much more to her than that now.  It is also a way of exploring  and enjoying nature and connecting with new people.  You are never alone on a dive and if you are really lucky, your dive buddie could end up being a really great friend! 🙂





2 thoughts on “Diving Solo

  1. Wonderful brave lady. Well written and a pleasure to read as usual.

    What you doing for Christmas? I’m heading to Barbados, fancy a dive there? There’s room at the house!

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