My Dive Buddy Wears Diapers

divesmall.jpg– By Gil Zeimer (This article first appeared in Dive Travel Magazine, Winter 1996)

My dive buddy prefers warm water. So do I. Every evening around 8 p.m., we gather our gear, approach the dive site and take the plunge.

Her dive conditions: Water temperature, 90 degrees; Depth, 6 inches; Bottom time, 30 minutes; Swells, 1-2 inches.

Actually, my dive buddy is only 18 months old. Sara really doesn’t dive in our bathtub. But that’s OK… since she was born, I don’t dive either.

As I sit by the side of the tub squirting her with her toys, getting drenched by her splashes, and trying to wash her hair without also washing mine – my mind drifts off to times when I was under equally warm waters – in faraway Belize, Grand Cayman, Maui, The Great Barrier Reef or The Bahamas.

During those dives, Sara wasn’t my dive buddy yet. In those carefree days before her birth, I could plan a diving vacation without worrying about her extremely regimented schedule.

I could dive before what is now her breakfast time, during her afternoon nap, during her evening meal, and during her post-dinner bath. Her mother and I could stroll down a quiet beach, go swimming or snorkeling without worrying about what Sara was doing right then. We could pack our luggage, dive and photo gear without having to also tote her car seat, her stroller, her portable crib, her toys and dolls, her books and tapes, her cassette player, her clothes and her all-important diaper bag.

But those times have definitely changed. Our daughter is now our family’s sun, and our world revolves around hers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Friends and relatives warned us that our lives would change when our daughter was born, so we were somewhat prepared. But the truth is, everything changed so much, it’s a never-ending adjustment process.

I know I won’t be able to take Sara on a warm water vacation for at least another year and a half – when she’s about three. Then, could I take her and my wife on a dive boat without someone getting sick? Would they be willing to sit in a hotel and wait patiently for me while I selfishly reacquaint myself with my favorite sport of diving. Who knows? It’s so far away, we haven’t discussed it yet.

But I do know this: I wouldn’t trade my early evening dives with my daughter for anything. Especially when she points at me and says, “Doggie!”

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