No, I didn’t fall or throw a boxing match….I went SCUBA diving, and I did so right here in the Greater Gadsden area. Glencoe to be precise. If you’re a long-time resident you may know it as the Blue Hole, but it’s now Dive Land Park a safe, clear-water park with something for all skill levels.
I arrive at Dive Land Park and am met by owner, John Valdes, who will lead me through my IDEA Scuba Experience. After some brief introductions he fits me for a buoyancy compensator (BC), some booties, fins, mask and snorkel. Since the water is 85 degrees today, a wetsuit won’t be necessary. Side note: I’m silently relieved at this fact. Have you ever put one of those things on? It’s not easy and you end up looking like a semi-deranged Catwoman. I knew there would be lots of pictures taken and while Halle Berry may be able to pull that look off….me, not so much.
There’s a very nice changing room down by the quarry. I change my clothes and meet John on the dock where he will determine how much weight to put in my weight belt. He explains that the goal is to achieve zero gravity, where you can just hang in the water.
We go over some basics and get ready to take our dive. About this time there’s a big splash about 50 feet away. Ummm….what was that? “No worries”, says John, “probably just a catfish.” Hmmm…. ok, and off we go.
We follow a yellow rope, well John follows a yellow rope and I follow him. The water is very blue and the rocky bottom slowly falls away. I have to remind myself to slow my breathing and relax. Once I do, I totally fell in love with the weightless, peaceful feeling of being underwater.
John points out fish beds, we make our way to a submerged boat, we see a statue of a captain and many, many fish. I am totally loving this and we make our way to an underwater platform where I pose for more pics!
About this time something hits me in the back! I squeal as much as possible with a regulator in your mouth and then realize it was just one of the fish. He gets me a couple more times; let’s just say I used to have a skin tag on my right shoulder and now I don’t.
We glide through the water a little longer, then head back to the dock. I’m shocked to learn that we have been out for over 20 minutes. Time really did stand still, seemed like 5 to 10 minutes max.
I enjoyed my IDEA Scuba Experience immensely and encourage you to give Dive Land Park a call if you’ve ever thought about SCUBA. John was patient and extremely knowledgeable. I intend to go back and obtain my certification.
Dive Land Park offers all types of courses and certifications, beginning through advanced experiences for certified divers, as well as snorkeling, primitive camping, and many different special events. They are open the first week in April through the end of October.
For more information find Dive Land Park on Facebook, call 256-492-4455, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll love it!
And remember, wherever you live or wherever you are, be a tourist in your own town!