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Learning More Than Scuba Diving

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: This article is re-printed from "Waves," Volume 16, Fall 1998, the newsletter of Pacific Northwest Scuba Challenge Association.

In some ways, I couldn't believe it when I went for my first scuba dive in February, 1998. In others, it was a natural progression of deliberately improving my life and expanding my horizons.

During 1984, I had gone blind (one of the common complications of long-term diabetes), and, when my kidneys stopped functioning the following spring, I had been given twelve to eighteen months to live. These experiences helped nudge me into walking a path of self-exploration and discovering.

Scuba diving for the first time was an unfamiliar yet exhilarating and almost wondrous experience, and I was feeling comfortable and prepared. The night Harry Buchholz introduced me to scuba gear in my living room I had practiced breathing through the regulator while imagining using it underwater. That practice, however, did not prepare me for one of the most startling realizations which the dive helped trigger.

While Harry and I were preparing to "go under," there had been a noisy group of people doing a first aid course in the pool (with matching pictures in my mind). Of course, that noise disappeared as soon as we submerged -- as did the pictures.

With Harry on my left, we went slowly swimming, Harry giving me occasional tactile hand signals. And the silence -- the silence was almost suffocating, although I hadn't been aware of it at the time. All I could see in my mind's eye was the moving image of Harry when we were touching. Everything else was a blank distance-less void, and my bubbles were telling me nothing beyond which way was up.

The realization didn't hit me full force until a few days later. I had been tapping my way along when my cane hit a sign on the sidewalk and an image of the sign had slammed into mind, interrupting my daydreaming.

Accompanying this were the sudden understandings. I use different senses to make the internal images so important to me. I really AM blind and -- maybe most importantly -- I don't need to try to pretend any more to be a sighted person living in a blind person's body.

It's okay for me to be me, as I am.


These are all natural specially when it is our first time to try scuba diving. It also happen to me at cebu diving even though there’s somebody to assist me.