Don’t Quote Me

‘Science is about solving problems. Art is how you cope with them.’ – David Zinn, professional chalk artist.

I’m lying here in the peace of the morning. As the Christmas holidays have progressed, that peace has crept up and expanded on us. It’s twenty to seven. Light is just breaking outside. It’s still and grey.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I hate stopping our usual routine. It creates a false sense of quiet – which doesn’t last. It’s exactly the sense of peace and quiet we are experiencing now. 7am. No live lessons. Boat is filled with sleeping souls. Almost too good to believe.

Today marks our last week of vacation. And for the record, I am completely sucked in. I’m loving this calm. Not that we haven’t got things going on. For her Christmas present, we bought Lu the PADI free diving speciality. For four days, she’s off to work with the Deep Sea, the free diving school in Bonaire. Headed by free diving champion Carlos Coste and his colleague, Hugo, free diving is popular in Bonaire. Due to the clear waters which become deep just offshore.

Lu started the course yesterday. I took her to Deep Sea’s office, where Hugo asked her without formality why she wanted to do the course. Without skipping a heartbeat, Lu reeled off the PADI video quotes we’d watched the day before. ‘At one with nature, learning to relax in an aquatic environment, something else, bla bla bla.’

I can’t remember it. I can never remember anything that sounds like a sound bite. This failure to seize a catchy quote has killed off many job interviews for me. Not Lu apparently. Takes after her dad there.

While signing the forms, I explained to Hugo who we were, i.e. yachties. Lu has been free diving since she was 10 years-old; mostly in the form of retrieving things we’ve dropped off the back of the boat. Pegs, buckets, clothing. ‘Lulu!’

Not that she minds. She’s good at it. I didn’t realise how good until Barbados this year. White Arrow had dropped a dive regulator in about 10 metres of water. Lu went down and got it on the first breath. I reeled back a little. That’s mermaid quality stuff.

Despite this, Hugo stopped me in my tracks yesterday. ‘I need to know she is doing this free diving course because she wants to. Not under any pressure, or from her parents pushing her.’

That was a good way to close a pie hole. I shut mine. Lu explained she wasn’t under any pressure. Yeah, I thought, wait till you see the mermaid, Hugo.

Of course, much of this free diving course is about safety. The willingness to learn and remember these protocols must be taken seriously. It’s a valid reason the decision to do the course must be the participant’s.

Last night, Carlos called. He explained the plan for today. They are taking Lu to their open water shotline.

Carlos chuckled. ‘Your daughter is a mermaid.’

We nodded. Yep.

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