A couple of my friends wanted me to try out reef diving, and, you know, I really fancied something relaxing this time, because with canoeing, it has to be exciting enough that you can get that buzz, but, you know, not so exciting that you're scared all the time, and it can be a real effort keeping that up. So, we went out and the plane landed on one tiny island with hardly even a town on it (the capital was on another island) and at the airport it was just us and all these couples, it must be a really popular honeymoon spot, but it didn't matter because all we did was get onto a small boat which took us out to the big boat where we were staying and we just didn't come back to shore all holiday. So we practiced diving a bit and then (it was still the first day) we went down to the reef for the first time. I dived in and I was doing fine until my eyes started hurting. When the pain in my nose and eyes just got worse and worse. When I realised what was happening I managed to get my mask off and get back to the surface, but my eyes were really painful, even then I didn't realise how bad they really were. It wasn't until my friend said, "Mandy, your eyes look really bad" ... I couldn't believe it when I looked in the mirror. My eyes were bright red, and already beginning to swell up. I practically threw up, it looked so disgusting.
Apparently I'd made a really basic mistake. I'd forgotten to breathe out through my nose, to equalise the pressure, and the pressure had just built up under my mask until all the blood vessels in my eyes burst. The instructor reckoned I'd be okay, and I could still see, but everything was red, and by the next day my eye[ball]s had really swollen up so I was going round with sunglasses so my mates wouldn't throw up when they saw me.
Me: So was your holiday totally ruined then?
Mandy: Oh, no. No, not really. The sea was, like, turquoise and it was so warm and lovely. I just lay on the deck and read. I didn't get bored because all my friends were there and anyway we had to move the boat lots to get into position for the next dive, so there were always people around. It was really lovely on board. Every day they caught fresh fish and that was dinner; grilled fish, fish curry, fish with lemon, and for breakfast we just had bananas and stuff. It was fantastic. And I did get to dive in the second week, the instructor reckoned it wouldn't do any harm. It was difficult to get down to the reef because we were always diving against the current, but when we were down there it was like another world...