Waking in a new paradise.
During the morning dive I struggle with my buoyancy control, frustrating me to the point of “post dive depression” one might say… Changing out of my wetsuit, I go to my cabin to put on dry clothes before breakfast. New discovery, I have my own “Red Sea” situation… Brilliant. On the bright side… #sharkbait
Top deck boat baking, taking in the backdrop, I put my earphones in and tune out. A pair of feet appear at the base of my head. It’s Italia, bearing a gift… a red lady beetle. He says nothing as the beetle crawls from his hand onto mine. Sun baking is hot business and the next gift he brings me is a glass of cold hibiscus tea #boatboyfriend. Seriously, who is this guy? Has he met me? Why is he being so nice? Is there some kind of Euro dating playbook he’s pulling these moves from? 🤔 and am I girl 350 for him to use these moves on? Answer = Probably. The next place we arrive has me speechless.
Sometimes you stop, look around and fall in love. Today, I was floored by beauty, not only above the water, but below. Coral gardens coaxed out the playful diver in me, as I floated around in a wonderland. During my dives, there are these bright purple fish and each time I see them, I think of my grandma and say, “hello”. Fuck I miss Grandma. A turtle appears out of the deep, swimming by unbothered and returning back into the blue. A pod of dolphins even swam with the zodiac at our first dive here.￼
Daily post dive ritual/ challenge to make the Egyptian gin drinkable (let’s face it, it’s ethanol with a gin label).￼￼
During the evenings sky star stalking, Italia says, “when I close my eyes”… (ok here we go), “all I see is corals”. I burst out laughing. Did not expect him to say that 😂
Getting Italia to stick to the dive plan and stay together under water (not just above water) is proving difficult. It’s like diving with another me but worse. Captivated by clown fish, always falling behind the group…Often when diving, I’ll be watching and waiting from afar, above or below and see him look around, realising he’s lost sight of me after a lengthy stint of watching the same clown fish. I’ll signal to him to determine air consumption and get him to surface on more than 50 bar for our long dives… He’s not one to take instruction and we end up having these underwater arguments… essentially it’s me doing a lot of hand signalling to hurry up, shaking my head and flipping off… he just shrugs his shoulders 🤦🏾♀️
Upon surfacing to the boat after a dive, I take my fin off and hit Italia with it for being dive defiant. On another dive when surfacing, Italia was so busy prodding a jelly fish, he didn’t see the stairs off the back of the boat and hit his head. Seeing this amused me to the point I was choking on sea water laughing, gasping for air at the surface. If I replay that moment in my head, I still laugh out loud.
The romance is laid on pretty thick… he is not shy with public/ or maritime affection. Kissing my cheek in passing while prepping to dive and being unashamedly smitten and sweet. Italia looks at me and says, “my beautiful blonde hair, blue eye Australian girl”. Crazy Italian. I have no idea how to take this… Am I on a dive liveaboard or a dive loveaboard?
At night, the glimmering black ocean in the sky stirs something inside me and I retreat below deck. Later, on the middle deck, I sit with the guys, talking shit and enjoying the sea breeze. The Italian walks up the stairs to join us. Sitting beside me, he whispers in my ear.
Struggling to equalise, I cut the remaining day dives, opting only for the night dive. Manu is now on Italia dive buddy/ babysitting duties. At the boat as a dive was finishing, a few people ask where Italia is, as Manu his buddy has surfaced. Martin coins the phrase, “Casanova is still diving” in reference to the Italians defiance of surfacing with his buddy and always diving for the longest period possible or swimming off to chase marine life. In future, if anyone asks about my uncompleted tasks back in the real world, I will respond with, “Casanova is still diving” and watch them screw their faces up in confusion, to try and work out what that means.
Diving might not be an option for me but snorkelling is and I relish another opportunity to swim with large schools of dolphins.