Post #1 of 7 Posts : My SCUBA Training & The Beginning for Me: Susan MeeLing, SCUBA Diver Extra
...IN THE BEGINNING...
My first water experiences stem from when I was growing up in the state of New Jersey between the above ground pool in the backyard of my babysitter's house, the Atlantic area of the ocean, a lake, and the YMCA; though I had a tendency to play with the water when I was in the bathtub as a child in some unconventional ways. When I was younger my biological parents had left me with several different types of babysitters some of which were great and wonderful who truly cared for me, then there were others who cared but in more different ways; one could say. However I will stay more within the areas more along the ways of the water and swimming, rather than other aspects.
When at the house of Sony (AKA Sonja) and Joe's (AKA Jose) whether or not David and Liza their children were at home or at school, I was able to go swimming at random times in the above ground pool in an octagon shape. The trim of the top of the pool as well as the proverbial rib cage was a cream color whereas the larger exterior walls were a darker chocolate brown, matching the wooden stairs and platform on one side of the pool to enter. Though there were stairs outside of the pool made of metal, the best place to get a running jump into the waters was on the platform with the matching brown lattice fence along the walls of the wooden platform area. The interior of the pool had deep multi-color blue shades which reflected the sunlight in a sparkly pattern, complimenting the water itself. The filter machine and chemicals thereof were kept underneath the wooden platform as well as towards the other side of the ladder, closer towards the edge of the property fence line.
Their Weimaraner dog Duke's house was caddy-corner to the pool, of which Duke would watch me swim and play in the pool when I went in; but when I was in the backyard or the house and Joe was not home, Duke was always at my side. Duke was a peculiar dog as most Weimaraners are friendly towards most people, however Duke was not like the typical Weimaraner at all; he only tolerated other people, unless you tried to hurt Joe or myself. I remember one time my biological mother attempted to hit me for something my biological sister did and Joe had to run to grab Duke's collar, to keep Duke from attacking her; the same one time with my biological father. Protective is the most mild term one could use when describing Duke, when it came to being around me; as he was extremely cautious of anyone he did not believe had good intentions and would show his teeth before the other person could get close enough to see his shiny grey coat. Though Duke could swim well, Sony did not like him getting in the pool with me and there were several times he sat on the wooden platform watching me as I flipped and sun in the water.
When I was around three or five years old Sony and her friend Nora were sitting on the back porch at the white metal table with matching chairs as I crawled up the stairs to go for a quick dip in the pool, and then I learned how to make the water of the pool swirl with me. I swam in circles as fast as I could to make the current in the water flow and the more I went around the exterior part inside of the pool, the faster the water caught up with me. I showed this to Nora's sons and my across the street neighbor Timothy later on, but I had done so by that time for a few years on my own. I thought if I could get more people to go do such with me, the water funnel would be much quicker and faster; however they got out of the pool before I was ready to and well before the water current was a fast as I could get it on my own. I would change the pattern of the water current at the points when I would get bored and if I felt like it, I would make waves through swimming back and forth from corner to corner after getting the water to flow in a circular motion.
One of the first times I went to the beach as a child had been to Sandy Hook and I toddled off on my own when no one was paying attention to me, crawling along the shoreline and trying my best to avoid the sharps in the sand. There was a lot of debris which had washed up onto the land and to avoid getting hurt, was extremely difficult; and a few times I lost my diaper, because of the weight of the water dragging that down. When I was in Marlboro Recreation Camp and the field trips took the campers to Pointe Pleasant Beach as soon as I could get to the ocean waters, I did. I ran as fast as mu little feet could move across the hot sand, kicked off my clothes, and ran into the ocean waves. There were a few times when getting onto the bus when leaving which the camp counselors had scolded me for going out so far and/or so fast to the ocean, but not while we were at the beach itself. My first year in camp was my first time of seeing what I learned are called SCUBA Divers, as there were a couple of times I saw a group walking along the black rock jetties.
I was curious to see where they were going when I saw the first group and since I was already swimming in the ocean, I tried to follow along side perpendicular to the location they were walking. There had been a male in a suit with black pants, a white button down shirt, and a silver suitcase made of shiny metal which caught my attention; as he walked with the SCUBA Divers. Though they had gotten their gear on and went into the water before I could swim out to where they were, I had fun swimming out to the edge of the jetties. Though I tried to find them in the waters of the ocean, I found other ways to keep myself preoccupied. On one occasion I looked back to the wooden pier to see that male with binoculars and I thought he and I had made eye contact through his binoculars, since he almost dropped them; but caught the binoculars just before they landed on the wooden boardwalk. I shrugged it off thinking maybe a bumblebee had flew by him or maybe a bird, but unless I meet that male and he tells me otherwise; I can only guesstimate.
At Pointe Pleasant Beach as well as Seaside Beach (though when at Seaside I had to slip away from my group as we were supposed to stay at the water park instead of go into the ocean, though its a little late now) I would swim out to where the orange boueys floated; though I cannot remember which one had the taller floating boueys that I could climb onto with a bowl type lips surrounding the tall cylinders within the bowl with a white and yellow set of circular stripes, and which ones were the bobbers in the shape of a bigger and more solid beach ball. Either way both of them had matching types along a long line which was vertically lined out in the ocean along the curves of the shoreline, and both had their thick rope netting; which I would climb over to go swimming. The orange tall ones were sometimes climbed on top of and thought to be a lot of fun when the waves moved the bowl back and forth while I stood on top of the lip to dive into the water, whereas the round ball shaped ones were fun to hold onto and just spin around with the water of the ocean. Only a handful of times was I able to get close enough to the rocky jetties where the SCUBA Divers went in but only one time was I capable to (I think) accidentally scare one of those SCUBA Divers, as I followed their chem-light and almost got up to their face to look into the (I think) a male's mask. I thought I heard him scream into what is called a regulator, and I swam away because I did not intend to startle him; I just wanted to see where they were going.
After kindergarten to first grade time of summer camp, I did not go in their direction anymore because I had felt so bad for scaring the one. Instead I continued swimming out into the ocean as far as I could to test myself and make myself a better swimming for when I could go SCUBA Diving, because I knew one day I would get to; I just did not know when that day would be. Those times were a lot of fun though, as during those camp field trip days I was able to meet a whole bunch of different types of fish. Some were much bigger than I am now which means they were even bigger than I was back then as a child, and several let me pet their sides behind their gills, while others let me pet their little noses, and only a few of the fish let me scratch their tiny little teeth so I could see what they felt like. A few of those fish would only swim around and near me but would not let me pet them because of the slimy stuff on their scales and they told me it would make me sick, so I just swam along with them instead.
When I was at Pointe Pleasant a few years after the first time I saw the group with that male in the black pants and button down shirt, I thought I saw him again along the jetties when I was already in the ocean. I swam as fast as I could to try to get to the jetties but then a group of SCUBA Divers left the water and before I could get to the rocks, the group were walking back to the beach. So I went back to swimming in the ocean and crawled back over the netting of rope, to jump off of the top since the rope was around five inches in diameter. One time I swam a little bit further than I planned to and I almost thought I saw a ship submarine surfacing out of the ocean waters, of which I quickly turned around to go back to the shoreline. That made me really nervous as I did not know what that was called at the time and I did not know what it could do. However that also was after I swam with a school of fish out there and I bumped into the side of the black metal (I guesstimate) because it hurt a little bit. Shortly after that was when the submarine started to surface out of the water, which maybe by accident I was in the way as it was ascending to the surface. I returned to the shoreline really quickly after that so if that was hypothetically a submarine and anyone in that submarine heard a thump when surfacing, sorry! I did not intend to make you think there was something wrong with the vessel when you were rising to the surface, if that was the case.
One time when I was at Seaside Beach after getting out of the water park to run to the ocean after running across the wooden boardwalk onto the sand, I had seen a group of people who were all swimming together. I felt the need to get out to where they were as quickly as I could as I could feel the ocean waves kicking up a bunch and the current getting stronger and before I could get my feet into the water, I saw one person go underneath the water. I swam out as fast as I could to pull the one male with light blue shorts out of the water to bring him back to land, and then I ran back out to grab the other people who seemed to have the same issues. When I had gotten all seven of the people out of the water the females seemed to be okay, but the male in the light blue shorts that I had gotten out of the ocean water had funny color skin. While the group laid on the sand and no one else was around the only thing I could think of to do was jump up into the air, and then jump onto his stomach. He coughed a bunch and then I ran off, scared because I did not know what happened. I ran back to the water park before any of them sat up, though because that male's skin went back to a normal color; I hoped they were okay; though I did not go out of the water park many more times after that, because that scared me so much.
Not until second or third grade did my biological parents put me into the YMCA to go through swimming lessons, which I went through the levels of the classes fairly quickly. I was able to float, do the Freestyle stroke, and the Backstroke on my own; and I was advanced through the ranks. The Breaststroke came naturally to me and then when the Butterfly and Scissor-kick strokes were taught to me (-ish), I breezed through those lessons quickly to then learn how to dive. The diving board was fun to learn the Swan Dive, though the speed board was a tad bit difficult for me to get used to. When the time continued and passed by and as the years went on, the further I could get into the ocean waters the more fun I had. Being with the group of campers was fun, but none of them wanted to body surf nor did they want to swim out very far; which bored me tremendously. When at the local pool for Marlboro Township the other female campers wanted to be Ariel because of the movie and tried to swim like her, which I tried to show them how a mermaid actually swam; but they did not want to listen nor pay attention to me.
One of the camp counselors who had gotten a tattoo on the top part of her foot told me she thought I was a fish out of water, and I told her as a joke, "Nope, I am a mermaid out of water and thus, just a faery."; though I asked her a lot of questions about her tattoo.
As I got older and continued going to camp, I did not see the SCUBA Divers going out on the jetties anymore and though at first I thought they were already in the water; after awhile of not seeing them, I figured they went somewhere else. However I continued swimming out to the floating bobbers and the boueys to jump and play, splashing around in the ocean waters. The fish which swam around constantly changed from one visit to the ocean to the next, which always amused me. When I was in either sixth grade going to seventh grade or seventh grade going to eighth grade, I thought I saw that male with the black pants and white button down shirt with the binoculars again. That time he had a pastel colored button down shirt and a black pair of pants with a different type of binoculars, though his hair color seemed just a little bit different. I thought he saw me for certain that time and so I climbed out of the water on top of the bowl lip and while holding onto the cylinder with one arm, I waved at him with the other. Again, he seemingly dropped the binoculars. I tried to wave at him to invite him to go swimming with me because he seemed interested, but when he dropped the binoculars again; I figured if he wanted to he would find me and let me know, he wanted to.
A little bit later I started going to Baptist Camp Lebanon and when the swimming test came in order to go into the deep area of the lake, I was extremely bored. The first portion of that test the campers had to swim a certain distance and then turn around to swim back, which I annoyed the other campers because I swam back so quickly. However the seaweed or kelp in that lake startled me when it wrapped around one of my legs, and I could not get back to the wooden boardwalk quick enough, because of how scratchy the feeling of what the kelp was made of felt on my leg. Then we had to tread water for three minutes and because that was such a waste of time to me, I did what I could to make it more interesting. For a few I kept my arms behind my back while I only used my legs to keep my head above water, then I switched to pretending my legs were tied together while my arms were behind my back crossed, for the rest of the time. The next time I had to do the same test I switched it up a bit and I kept my arms out of the water while pretending my legs were tied together, to keep my head above water; but then one of the counselors told me to stop doing that so I pretended my wrists were together though below my hips behind my back to keep myself from being bored while keeping my legs together while pretending my ankles were tied. That seemed to make the swimming test time go quicker, by a little bit. I was not trying to be rude but after swimming in the ocean, swimming in the lake was fairly simple. People who have swam in the ocean I would guesstimate could comprehend the ease of swimming in a lake, comparatively.
Several years later I was moved to Crystal Lake Illinois and the high schoolers there told me I was being snobby about going to Crystal Lake to swim, though I did not think so. It made very little sense to me to be excited about swimming in Crystal Lake when I had already gone swimming in the Atlantic area of the ocean and after the swimming I had done at Baptist Camp Lebanon, I did not want to feel what was in those waters. However when I went with Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church to Ohio for a trip to help Habitat for Humanity, on our way back we stopped at one of the Great Lakes with Wisconsin as a border. There one of the people of the house allowed us to use the water skis after one of the males took everyone who wanted to out on the boat, to try water skiing. I made the people a little nervous because unlike the rest of the teenagers who went out on the boat, my feet did not fit into the shoes of the water skis and stay put; they were not big enough.
When it was my turn to try water skiing which also was the first year I was allowed to have a bikini and I learned not to go into natural water with a bikini, the hardest way possible. First and foremost my biological mother told me I had to get a size medium instead of a small because she claimed the length of the boy-shorts were longer, but I told her the waist line was bigger. Though the medium top fit and had more material than the small size, the only reason it fit was because both sets of strings could be ties, and it was a halter top bikini, thus by technicalities yes there was more material to cover my barely there A cup breasts; which realistically I would have had less coverage with one of my tank tops than with that bathing-suit.
When it was my turn to try water skiing wearing the bikini initially the water skiing was okay for awhile and after several minutes one of the water skis flipped off of my one foot, and I kept holding on. Then when the second water ski flipped off of my other foot, I stayed standing while the boat continued going around the lake. Though the water tickled the bottom of my feet, I held onto the rope as the boat continued going around the lake; however after another wake from the boat in the water I fell to my knees when the boat kept going, and I held on for a little bit longer. Then when the boat continued and the point came when my waist hit the water I felt my bikini bottom slip off and though I did finally let go of the rope to try to turn around quick enough to grab the bikini bottom, I felt the fabric slip through my fingers as it sunk downward. Though I tried t swim after the bikini bottoms, I could not find them and when the boat came around to where I was; I tried to explain what happened. The people in the boat would not give me a towel to wrap around my waist because there was none in the boat and though the males and one female said they would not look at me without my bikini bottom, I did not believe a word they said. I started swimming towards the shore of the lake to call for someone to give me a towel so I could get out of the water, and instead of the captain of the boat going back to the house to get me a towel and then return; the boat was driven next to me for awhile.
I tried to convince the boat captain I would not get out of the water and get onto the boat without being covered as I did not truth the teenager males nor the adult males not to look if I had gotten out of the water to sit in the boat, and the female would not give me her shirt to wrap around myself even though she had a bathing-suit on her. When the people in the boat realized I was not joking about being able to swim back to the shore from the center of the lake, the boat captain drove the boat to the house area to get me a towel; by that time I almost was at the shore when they returned and they gave me a towel to get out of the water, and onto the boat. Once we returned to the dock and the boat captain did not park the boat close enough to walk onto the wooden platform, I jumped right back into the water of the lake of which I could have just swam, to then get onto the grass to walk back to the house to change into clothes. When I went inside before one of the elder females came to speak with me one of the teenagers named Brett came into the room when I was changing and laughed at me some more for being so modest, of which I did not take kindly to his banter. When he finally left the room and the elder female and I spoke, she wondered why I was so upset; though I could not put into words what Brett had attempted to say before I kicked him out of the room.
All I could muster to say to her was, "It seems as though Brett does not know how to accept no, as my answer to him; and I don't think his girlfriend will be appreciative of his lack of respect."
After that point I had not gone into any water with the exception of a shower, a bath, or a pool. It would be several years before I would go swimming in the ocean again, or any natural body of water; though my cousin Kate and Allie who are my Aunt Edith's daughters [Edith Stanley married to Mark Stanley, though Katherine and Allison were from her first marriage of which I do not know what their last name was and lived in Crystal Lake as well as my biological mother's brother Leonard Gavett who had later married Sharon, his second wife though he had two daughters and a son from his first marriage to Yvonne in New York state; though I cannot remember what their names are except his son Esau; the other sister Christine Gavett (maiden last name) who worked as an optometrist for a Missouri prison system was later last married to Brian (who kind of looked like Brian Cantrell from Baptist Camp Lebanon who the molestation occurred from which Rachel lied about meing molested by because she wanted attention from her dad hypothetically) I wrote of such in my first book "Finding a Silver Lining By: Susan MeeLing" in reference to the Nature Cabin on my 13th birthday] whom of which lived in Missouri and Christine had one daughter I think named Megan who went to Art College in Canada at some point because she could not get into an Art College in the United States of America but later traveled to France).
...AFTER PSALM SUNDAY 2000...
When I first could get to the ocean it had been after my Psalm Sunday 2000 had been at South Padre Island when my children were 3 and 4 years old, which was just after the first separation, and my children had enjoyed playing along the beach coastline. Though I got into trouble for doing so, I ran into the waters of the gulf coast and swam just a little bit. I played with the waves of the gulf waters of the ocean to my heart's faery sized content which my children watched and laughed with glee, and though not a long amount of time as I had preferred; I made the best of the time I had. My children laughed as I pointed to them of what to look for and at, as I showed them how I made the waves move a bit bigger for them to smile.
After my now dead-ex-husband had died and I had finished doing what I could in reference to the aspects of the memorial service as well as going up the Chain of Command to get various aspects taken care of there, I began looking into other measures of how to try to help my headaches and migraines. One day I was looking on the internet of what I could try which could help and I found an online Israeli Medical Journal article which discussed the benefits of the compression when SCUBA Diving, which had proven to help people with headaches. I had sent several emails to the various research assistants and PhDs in reference to asking if the aspects of my Psalm Sunday 2000 head injury would be of importance in comparison, as the medical journal articles had not discussed the ways of which people they studied had headaches.
After researching more information as well as contacting a few other people online through email, I ventured out to the two local SCUBA Dive shops in Carrollton Texas. The first location I went to on I35 had answered some questions, but did not seem to have what I was looking for in regards to the educational standpoints of which I needed to feel comfortable enough to go into such. The second location which was International SCUBA had offered a National Geographic Open Water SCUBA Diving course as well as a combination year long study, of which offered 16 separate SCUBA certifications. Due to my precautionary ways and wanting to ensure the safety of each and every SCUBA Dive I would ever do to ensure I would always be able to return to my children safely after each and every single SCUBA Dive I would ever do, I wanted as much education as I could possibly get for myself. Thus, I chose to go through the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) at International SCUBA on Marsh Lane.
Once I had gotten medical clearance from the doctor of which I last had major surgery through to ensure the safety of the surgical procedures he had done for me, I began my studies. Though the Open Water SCUBA certification course would have been just fine for me to go through, I saw the benefits of going through the National Geographic version for myself. The class I was in had been large even though I was surprised there were so many people in the class for such, it was a benefit for such. The different questions others asked assisted my comprehension of varying points to pay attention to as well as preparing me for other aspects I saw coming in the future for myself, when SCUBA Diving. I was glad when I had completed the certification at Aquarina Hot Springs in San Marcos Texas and though I had been surprised as to the temperature of the water, such had kept my attention for the betterment when SCUBA Diving.
During the time at Aquarina Hot Springs the class I had been with there was a point of which everyone put their SCUBA tanks into the wheelbarrow for ease of transportation however when going down to the water area, I noticed no one had taken the wheelbarrows down. I grabbed the handles and started walking the first wheelbarrow to the water area, and then began speaking with some of the other SCUBA Divers some more. When the instructors arrived we completed those aspects of the class for our certifications; and my son and daughter watched me. It was a great deal for me to have them there seeing such, as I thought it would show them even though I could not have a normal job; the work I did to ensure my education and safety would show them how important such was and is as well as showing them how much I cared about making sure each SCUBA Dive was safe for me, so I could return to them. While my daughter thought I looked like an astronaut, my son giggled at the amount of gear I could carry and still joke around with him.
Pictures: All images are of me (a few with some of the other SCUBA Divers at the time of the certification class) at Aquarina Hot Springs from the end of February 2009 to the 1st of March 2009
There had been one particular individual who was in the class which I had teased because of how much bigger than me he stood, and how many more muscles he had in comparison to me; but even though I already had put my BCD (Buyancy Control Device) on with the tank, I held the BCD with the tank for him to get onto his back. He looked down at me and joked about me being super woman and a wonder to him of which I called him a dork, as he already knew along with the rest of that class of my Psalm Sunday 2000 head injury; as during the first classroom class when introducing ourselves, we discussed how we decided to get involved with SCUBA Diving. Though Kevin Murphy is on my certification card in the classroom there had been several SCUBA Diving instructors, as the class size was quite large. Though I had thought taking my SCUBA Diving Open Water Certification would be a smaller class size, there were over fifteen individuals who were earning their Open Water Certification at that time through National Geographic. Whether that was because I had sent correspondences to the Israeli Medical Journal, the UK Medical Journal, and the other few I had found online which had done research in regards to headaches and SCUBA Diving or whatever that case might be; there had been far more SCUBA Divers in that particular class than I had expected there to be. Also when completing the classroom work before going into the pool for SCUBA Diving, there were several instructors who were going in and out of International SCUBA during each class.
Why that was and whether that had to do with certain other certification courses occurring or there had been word put out of the amount of proverbial 'fresh meat' in the SCUBA Diving waters, such had caught my attention while paying attention in class. However since my son and my daughter were going through swimming classes at International SCUBA as well as my ex-boyfriend from San Antonio showing up to discuss his story of being "Cactus Jack" from the "151 Road Warriors" and the various people of that area wanting to hear directly from his mouth of what his t-shirt represented while basking in the limelight as I went through my classes, I am unsure and could not prove that with certainty. I highly doubt such was because of me going through the courses, as I was just beginning my SCUBA Diving training; though technically could have been considered as 'fresh meat' because of the Open Water aspect. However I admit if such was because of checking out and similarly to the reference in "Finding the Silver Lining By: Susan MeeLing" as to the tattoo shop, I can honestly say I would not be too happy with such an outcome as SCUBA Diving was not nor ever intended in my thoughts; as a sport. The Olympics do not have such for that and when in the ocean yes one can enjoy the sights and sounds, however safety is of utmost priority; at least for me it was and is.
However I could also see such as looking at who was there just for SCUBA Diving whereas checking out those who were SCUBA Diving as a couple, and the purposes thereof. Of the people in that class I think I was the only female, who was not in a relationship. If such was true of the entire group of females in that SCUBA Diving class without being lead into such through any relationship and just for me, at that time I did not notice nor care of such; however my first specialty instructor was someone I have to admit was extremely attractive, though I was not looking at him in a relationship stand point as I had looked at him as my teacher. I never wanted to have anyone say similarly to how some do in college of how they "earned" their grade, comparatively. I preferred to actually earn my graduation through my studies and my work, in comparison to other well known aspects thereof. Though now I do wonder, as back in 2009 SCUBA Diving had been around for several decades and to think I would be the only one in that large class who was not dating anyone nor married to anyone but interested in SCUBA Diving. According to the information I just looked at online for the majority of years up until 2014, the ratio of male to female SCUBA Divers has been 65% male to 35% female; which might genuinely meant at that time in 2009 for SCUBA Diving, I had been unique in such. Of those 35% of females in 2009 I am unaware of how many had been involved with SCUBA Diving for themselves, comparatively to those who were in a relationship. It is difficult for me to think I would have been one of a few females who had gotten involved with SCUBA Diving just for myself, and not because of a relationship.
The SCUBA Diving at Aquarina Hot Springs had taken the weekend to complete and there were a set of two or three SCUBA Dives per day, after we in the class had completed the time in the classroom and the pool at International SCUBA. The classroom work was quite informative of which we learned many details of various aspects of SCUBA Diving, a bit more than the normal class; though much of the information being the same. There being several aspects of information regarding the ocean in a little bit more detail than the regular Open Water SCUBA Certifications, but a bit extra information in regards to fish and how to be around them as well. Though the classroom work was extremely important to learn the math and arithmetic for the calculations, we were taught one ATM level equals thirty three feet; as well as the plane levels for the various depths. Though my other SCUBA Certification courses went into far more detail later on of other aspects; many points in this classroom work had been extremely vital to my survival when SCUBA Diving in the ocean. That certification paperwork for my graduation completion of certification was sent in on 1 March 2009 with the certifying official of Kevin W. Murphy.