Griswalds Underwater

Remember Chevy Chase and his family going on their National Lampoon’s vacation? When the ancient grandma dies and they strap her to the roof of the car so they can continue the journey to their beloved theme park? What was it called again? Oh yeah. Wallyworld.

Lulu is busy talking to me underwater right now. I have no idea what she is saying. She has a whole repertoire of hand signals. She points to her wetsuit sleeve, then makes a makes a small sign between her thumb and index finger. No idea.

She points to her dive computer and to the surface. Nope. I don’t get that either. She carries on swimming. I follow, pulling the surface marker buoy like I’m taking Fin for the world’s weirdest walk. The line gets a bit tangled and I have to stop to re-coil the string. Lulu is my dive buddy, so she waits, staring into the deep-blue distance.

All four of us are diving behind the boat. This is the only diving we can do right now with the curfew – but we’ll take it. A few dozen metres behind us there’s something of a coral garden. No boats anchor here because of a large mooring buoy for a super yacht. There’s no super yacht here. Just little hillocks of yellow furry coral. The polyps are out, filtering food in the middle of the day. We swim through it like a miniature valley.

Jack’s in front with Delph. I have to keep catching my breath that she’s here. She’s worked hard to get here. This is almost her tenth dive. She’s had a lot of practice getting this deep – 10 metres or so. A lot of ear equalising. Slowly, not too hard, not too often. It’s been a learning experience.

Then, with ear equalising, comes mask filling. The way Delph moves her mouth, her skin dimples and water floods easily in. For this, Jack has worked tirelessly to make her comfortable. Whole dives of just mask work. Finally, she has it sussed. Strap level at the back of her head, mouth nice and steady. Ears popping like a breakdancer. She’s off.

This is our family Easter dive. Jack’s taking a video of us and of course, it’s looking like we’re all experts. Then he makes the boat sign. This means ‘where is the boat?’ Where is Quest? We all point in different directions. I personally have no idea. My excuse is that I was the walking the surface marker buoy – so no boats swim over us unnecessarily. Ha! Crap excuse.

Lu meanwhile, has a compass. She pauses, stares at it, moves slightly, and points in a completely different direction. Aha. Jack claps at her. She’s got it. He makes the love sign and then points… to Delphine. Lulu sighs. Everyone giggles. Wallyworld here we come.

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