One of the best things about scuba diving is the travel. Admittedly the airline companies are doing their best to tarnish it with their draconian baggage limits, and constant searching, poking, prodding, scanning, questioning, and tossing in a bunch of reduced amenities, along with some serious stink-eye, but it’s all about the destination, right?
Typically the trip is all forgotten upon arrival on the island, beach, or archipelago of our choosing. Clear warm skies meeting crystalline azure blue water at the horizon, bordered by white sand beaches that wash away those airline peeves.
With the Scuba diving comes boat rides across smooth seas to picturesque dive sites fringed by tropical jungle. In the water we have visibility measured in the triple digits along pristine reefs populated by fish and life displayed in every hue of the spectrum shining in the sunlight streaming through the mirror-like surface.
The after-dive night life is a sparkling display of Caribbean colors, lights, and dress swirling to the clear ring of local music, while the scents of exotic tropically spiced food tantalizingly waft by. Nights are spent sleeping under brilliant starry skies while soft breezes rustle palm fronds and quiet waves lap against the shore.
Heaven, bliss, and paradise rolled into one with great diving on the side! This is why we travel and dive, and seriously who wouldn’t want a steady diet of this? (I haven’t even mentioned bikinis!)
But, dear reader, even though we may be hesitant to admit it, all divers know and at some point we must deal with Scuba’s ominous, and horrific dark side; dive shop rest rooms.
These closets of water take on legendary personas transcending time and space. Ask any group of divers rehydrating after a long day, and you will be inundated with stories of horror from six continents, and decades past. One would expect a picture here, but you are above that aren't you, and there may be children present? If not, find a private place and sit down first (OK, pun intended).
With notable exceptions (stay tuned), this necessary evil plumbing interface typically sees the least attention and maintenance of any of the dive shop operational devices. Boats require regular servicing, tanks must be inspected annually, regulators and BCDs need frequent testing and adjustment, the dock needs constant repairing, and the cat needs to be fed. It seems there is always something more important to do than look after the rest room.
Dive center restrooms seem to decay faster than the principal characters in “The Zombie Apocalypse”. You may be in a third world country with questionable plumbing practices, and customs (The waste basket? Really?), and there is a good chance the dive shack was built by the owner/diver, whose accounting experience led him to discover that this little convenience was overlooked during construction, and hastily bolted on as an afterthought, and forgotten. His own personal bathroom is probably a short scooter ride away.
The comfort station in a dive shop/boat sees a lot of pressure. Imagine; you and six to 10 of your friends and dive buddies get on the dive boat first thing in the morning after a few cups of coffee, for the typical two hour scuba excursion. While you are setting up at the dock the captains are running water into the camera tanks, and splashing it about to wash the bits of sand off the deck. You take off to the dive site cutting through the water with the spray drifting back in the breeze. The boat gurgles to a stop at the mooring, and water droplets dribble off the lines and hull while we rinse our masks, gear up, and splash into the ocean. After an hour under the pressure of the water, and encased in a skin tight rubberized suit, you climb back aboard with water running off yourself and gear in streams and rivulets, dripping with the sound of little waterfalls, cascading across the deck and tinkling back into the ocean. The captains fire the boat up and you plow through the waves and spray to wash up against the pier back at the shop.
Now there are 6 to 10 of you and only one, very much desired, and abused personal plumbing fixture. Dripping seawater, sand, and the occasional adhesive marine organism the gang queues up at the door where the suffering continues in earnest. The most reserved of divers can be witnessed doing strange poses, and silent incantations awaiting their turn at relief.
We will leave it to your imagination as to what happens next after multiple cups of diuretic, tight wetsuits, water pressure, cold, the sounds of water everywhere, bumpy boat ride, the longest wait ever for the slowest person on earth, the anticipation, and finally privacy to struggle out of your suit in front of the object of your desire……..
With all having found post dive release, some perhaps a bit premature, using various styles and levels of marksmanship, sodas and coffee are ordered and we prepare for the next dive, while the restroom awaits our return, and grows stronger.
We at West End Divers, have decided it is time to forge on to new frontiers and embrace new concepts, like sanitation! Our old restroom with its creepy green paint, howling water pump, and plumbing oddities has been remodeled, and is being maintained to shock and amaze you on your next visit. Drop by, and join the growing group of the astonished!
Please be aware that this edition of THE BLOG has been written using my personal observations, and experiences. Having only a recreational knowledge of female physiology, I feel unqualified to report on this subject from a lady’s perspective. In the interest of fairness and equality THE BLOG welcomes guest bloggers who wish to offer their personal point of view.