Monday, March 4, 2013

Animals that Swim

On Saturday a big group of us decided to go scuba diving. I got certified in October and went scuba diving one time after that. Then I stopped completely because of animals.

Here's the thing about scuba diving. It is so fun to breathe underwater. And to float around and pretend like you're in the Matrix or Superman or Harry Potter or something less embarrassing. But the problem is, there are all these fish down there so it sort of ruins the experience.

When we go scuba diving in Palau, we have to take an hour long boat ride out to the Rock Islands because apparently that's where the cool fish are. Every time we get into that boat the whole time I'm thinking, "actually I just want to play Superman underwater. You could just drop me off at a deep pool." But I'm shy so I just don't say anything at all. Even if it means that I have to go see fish.

Guys, I don't hate animals. I just don't think that we have any business being a part of each other's lives. And especially the ones that can swim and breathe underwater without scuba gear. Ew.

But peer pressure got the best of me and the next thing I knew I was signed up to go scuba diving again. Daniel agreed to go as well even though last time (also October) his face basically exploded and he was mister cranky-pants for about TWO WEEKS following the experience. You didn't hear that from me. And if you ever tell him that I told you that, I will so deny it. And you won't be able to get him to look here for proof because he thinks he's too good for Stranger.

Daniel border-line hated scuba diving. But his feelings were based on factors entirely different from my own reservations. He was fine with the animals, who most certainly were plotting our deaths. But he got horrific nosebleeds and otherwise felt drained for days afterward.

I felt GREAT afterwards, mostly from the euphoric high of still being alive.

But Saturday came and before we knew it we were on a large boat headed off to the great unknown.

We went to a dive spot called "Blue Corner," which is apparently like the best dive spot in the entire world. Best for what, I'm not exactly sure. Being suffocated by animals because there are so many of them? Then definitely yes. But seriously, you should google it.

There were SO FREAKING MANY FISH down there. Like, millions and millions of them. Like so many that they were running into me. We got to this one spot where we just sort of camped out and watched what I swear to you was a reenactment of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid. The only thing is I couldn't be sure because I was underwater so I couldn't hear the music if there was any. And neither could they, which caused a lot of really disappointing synchronization problems in their choreography. I was like, "what is this? A community production!?"

But I don't know how to explain this to you. There were SO MANY FISH all at the same time. Sharks going by every few seconds. And giant things that looked like sting rays only way worse. And other HUGE fish that I've only ever seen in horror films. Including these things that I was assured were not actually snakes but that looked like snakes and almost caused me to shoot 70 feet to the surface at the speed of light. And I think if you do that while scuba diving you actually explode. So it's a good thing I maintained composure. But I did push a woman toward them and start swimming the other way.

But there were sea turtles. And one of them looked me right in the eye and I decided right then and there that if there is an animal that gets me, it's the sea turtle. Because that sea turtle looked really tired and it basically said to me, "there are too many animals down here. Why can't I just be left the hell alone." And I wanted to scoop that sea turtle up and take it home with me. Which would have directly gone against its wishes. But I loved that little sea turtle so who cares?

We eventually made it back and I asked Daniel what he thought of the whole experience:

Eli: So what did you think of diving today?

Daniel: AMAZING! I couldn't believe it! Breathtaking! One of the most incredible experiences of my life!

Eli: Great! When do you think you'll go again?

Daniel: Um . . . probably the fifth of NEVER.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Love Love LOVE! Your fear of animals is one of the funniest parts about you. Also confusing.

  2. Eli - Thanks for making me laugh so hard this morning. Exactly what I needed on a Monday morning. I, in fact, did Google Blue Corner and found the following statement on a site:

    This world famous dive site is without a doubt the most requested dive in Palau. Not for the faint of heart, this is an advanced dive with sometimes very strong and unpredictable currents. Exactly the conditions that attract the many sharks to this ridge that jets out to the open ocean and drops to thousands of feet.

    This sounds pretty much like the seventh layer of Hell. My question to you is Why?! Why would you do this? I'm convinced there are dinosaurs that live in the ocean. I mean, you don't know if there are or aren't. The ocean is BIG. And SCARY.

    Please don't scuba anymore. I couldn't handle each day without a post!

    ~ Katie

    1. I read the same article! And I thought he was exaggerating about how terrifying it was.

    2. Absolutely HORRIFIC. Sharks? Aggressive currents? No thank you!


  3. I also have a very deep fear of swimming with the fishes. I travel around quite a bit with my children and people are always asking me if I went scuba diving or even swimming because they seem to think I am the adventurous type and I always say "Ah, no, don't you know there are fish in the ocean??" My brother owns a little summer place with a lake (kind of like a very large pond) that I swam in happily for one summer and then the next year he told me they had stocked it with fish. Well, that was it for me, no more swimming. Once when I was just standing ankle deep, a little minnow came up to me and bumped into my foot!! Dangerous business.

  4. Am I allowed to quote you to you here?
    I was like, "what is this? A community production!?"

    THANK YOU! This is one of the best quotes I've ever read!

    1. I laughed pretty hard at this too. It caught my daughters attention and I had no idea how to explain it to a seven year old. <3

  5. I'm pretty sure that after watching this I never would have gotten in the water there to begin with.

  6. I will join the "afraid of sea animals" club in a heartbeat. While I think snorkeling and scuba diving, and even just wearing goggles in a swimming pool are really cool (the whole harry potter/superman thing), I am creeped out by sea life. I've done some careful reflection and think the fear stems from a submarine ride they had at Disneyland when I was a little kid. I went scuba diving once, but it was in a lake at a scout camp in Idaho (Camp Farragut I believe). The water was so murky that even if there had been fish in it, I don't think I would have seen them.

  7. Why would you go scuba diving? Because...sea snakes. No thank you!

  8. The thought of scuba diving freaks me out for hundreds of reasons. But snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, HI, was pretty awesome.
    And sea turtles are ins of God's best creatures, I feel quite certain.
    PS I'm so glad you talked about "Under the Sea" of Little Metmaid fame. Might've made my day with that one...

  9. So did the sea turtle talk like Crush (from Finding Nemo) "like hey Dude!?"

  10. 2 things.
    1. I totally don't think we should be down in their world for recreation purpose. Science sure. But not just for the hay of it. Or it could be a don't like fish in their natural habitat. We would have ward activities at this Natural warm springs and I didn't mind it cause it was to warm for fishes. until we were leaving and the turtle came out. WHAT THE HECK!!!! I never went back in!!
    2. I totally saw a community production (stk) of the Little Mermaid on Friday. True Story

  11. Amazing! Laughed so hard at the community production line.

  12. the best post ever that i have read of yours today.

    any mention of the little mermaid gets the seal of approval in my book.

    sounds fantastic.

  13. I don't think I've ever agreed with you more until today, Eli. I am not a fan of little creatures (or big ones for that matter) slithering around me while I'm trying to pretend I'm Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Like, seriously, do they think they own the place? Psshh!

  14. Ugh, community productions. The worst.

  15. ELI! Did you see the news article that Japan is going to be in Palau for a while cleaning up DEPTH CHARGES? They are left over from WW2, and I quote, "The weapons are deteriorating fast after seven decades underwater, posing a risk to the environment and to the local population."
    Fish are a small thing compared to unstable weapons lurking in the water!


  16. I now have under the sea stuck in my head. I'm okay with it though.

    Each little snail here know how to wail here that's why it's hotter under the water ya we in luck here down in the muck here under the sea

    Eli, I don't even want to know what you thought the real words were.