At first I wanted to panic.
My world was reduced to the narrow corridor of vision that my mask allowed. Visibility was only 10 feet and the bottom was far out of view.
If Mike, my dive instructor swam more than 8 feet away, I could barely see him.
We kept following the anchor line down into the gloom.
We were diving by Graves Light, the lighthouse that sits atop “the Graves” – the outermost island in Boston Harbor. It had taken us 45 minutes to get there by boat from East Boston. A beautiful trip that revealed a side of Boston I never knew existed. I was excited for my first ocean dive.
It was a relief to finally reach the ocean floor at 45 feet and to be able to see more than foggy water.
We followed the floor, swimming parallel to the island. The underwater world surprised me. My initial moment of panic was quickly forgotten as we swam on.
There were giant, jungle gym rocks covered in plant life. We swam in canyons between them and swooped next to overhangs, often finding lobsters hiding in the dark spaces between the rocks.
Mike picked a lobster up and handed it to me. The creature, which was easily larger than both of my hands, sat for a moment and then propelled itself backwards, disappearing into the deep.
The following day we returned to the same spot and practiced the skills we had learned in the pool. We reviewed how to clear a mask, retrieve a regulator and navigate at the ocean floor- an important thing to know when you can only see 10 feet!
The water temperature at the surface was 62 F and in the low 50s F near the bottom, but with my thick wet suit, hood, boots and gloves, I never was cold.
We returned to the docks at the end of the day and a little paperwork later, I was Open Water certified!
The other people heading out on the boat that day were diving for lobsters and came back to the boat with bags just bursting with them.
A big thanks to Boston Scuba! For the fantastic class.