Usually I keep goodbyes at airports and stations brief. I don’t like those long, lingering, small talk goodbyes where everyone wants the end to be nigh and the train to carry them off. The last morning in Cozumel was different. I was preparing to leave the resort but some of my ‘diving family’ were staying for another day for the wedding celebrations and were having their final dive in the early morning. It was time for us all to say goodbye and for me this was a special goodbye because I’d just been with one of the most interesting, idiosyncratic, and fun loving group of people I’d met in a long time.
Ever since taking up diving 5 years ago I have been struck by the really decent and interesting people it seems to attract. So much so that I wonder if there is a ‘Lonely Hearts for Divers’ site (just joking…. or, maybe not!) . This week the group confirmed this. People from all over the US and Canada and what an assortment of backgrounds; teachers, a nurse who’d worked on an Indian reservation for 20 years, a Leadership consultant, a market stall panini cook, a neuro surgeon, an ex bomb disposal unit commander, two ultra sound specialists, a former computer programmer to name but a few occupations … and no one talked about work!
It was sheer joy to have conversations about shy lobsters, huge green moray eels, turtles, corals and sponges. When someone caught sight of an eagle ray there was great rejoicing and then the conversation would change to the challenging, unexpected currents we were experiencing on our drift diving. I warmed to these individuals who brought real enthusiasm, fun and joy to my diving this week.
After a day out on the ocean there was always serious eating. Diving is an appetite inducing activity and this allowed for easy discussion around a myriad of diverse topics. In many ways it was the most amazing ongoing ‘dinner party’ ever; the plans for the underwater wedding of two of the divers who had got ‘engaged six months ago with ‘WILL YOU MARRY ME? ‘ written on a slate while diving in the ocean; the re-lived fun of previous shared diving trips; people’s experiences in the intervening months or year; individual’s joy and sadness, for some there had been endings and for others, new beginnings. I observed that, in all of this, we (and I include myself in these endings and beginnings) were an amazing rainbow of people, ready and prepared to dive in again. I loved the courage and zest for life bubbling around.
So there I was on my last day in Cozumel as Chockie and his crew loaded the tanks and gear on board the dive boat. Rhia organised a group photo and the conversations continued. My fellow divers asking. “When are we meeting up next?” “Are you coming to Bonaire, or maybe the Bahamas on the Juliette sail boat?”. “Are you on the Indonesian trip?” As the questions continued I felt I’d been adopted and this was my new diving family. Yes, I would love to go back soon. The Oceans call me and this group especially echoes that call.
I stayed a long time on the jetty waving – sometimes goodbyes deserve a little more time.