LA BAHÍA DE COCHINOS
Our instructor went over everything during the hour-long car ride over to the dive spot, but then I stepped out the taxi, laid my eyes on that impossibly blue Caribbean water and forgot everything he taught us.
My first few breaths were rapid and desperate. I could not speak, could hear nothing but the rising panic in my mind, and see nothing but the ocean water slowly filling my mask. I looked to the instructor, my eyes wide and screaming with confusion and with his arms outstretched he motioned me to breathe slowly, deeply. In out, in, out, in and out and only then did my mind register that this foreign sound was my own healthy breathing. Just like that, my mind was cleared and I was calm.
That little episode lasted for about a minute, then I got used to breathing through the regulator and I was fine. Yes, I am very dramatic if you couldn’t tell already. When it comes to anxiety though, the ocean, any body of water really, soothes me in a way nothing else can. I can go from a grumpy little Squidward to a happy-go-lucky dolphin in the time it takes for me to jump in.
Long story short, I loved every minute of it. Okay yeah, I had an mini little panic attack but I didn’t die or anything so I’d call that a success. I didn’t see as many fish as I did snorkeling in the Philippines (although I doubt I’ll ever see that many again) but I also don’t have the experience necessary to dive in Cuba’s Jardines de la Reyna which is apparently a scuba diver’s paradise. It’s on my bucket list to get certified and dive there, though.
After the hour-long dive, he walked us away from the beach, on a path through trees that led to a small swimming hole and told us to take our time while he loaded the gear onto the car. What looked like a small pool of water diameter-wise actually extended far, far below sea level. So deep, only scuba divers with cavern diving licenses can dive there.
We had lunch at a makeshift restaurant in the backyard of one of the locals while a band serenaded us with Cuban music. My faves were Guantanamera (which we probably heard a hundred times everywhere we went) and Luna Llena, which they played for me again because it was catchy and I told them I liked it.
🎶 que he perdido el apetito DESDE QUE TE NECESITO🎶
I’m so mad at myself for not recording the whole thing but I got a lil too into it and zaddy on the left had me mesmerized namsayin. Shout out to Carlos for finding the name of this song for me!! And also damnit because I’ve listened to it a million times and it still gets stuck in my head. It’s called Luna Llena by Moneda Dura if you’re curious.