Diving Into the Experience

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I walked onto the dock that was tottery and worn thin.  Immediately, I saw a beautiful, gray dolphin pop it’s head out of the water.  It swam under the dock, and the dock shook even more.  I sat on the dock listening to the water and the animals.  I looked up and saw the gorgeous Red Sea with the Israeli mountains behind it.   The mountains were as tall as a skyscraper.  My cousins, Emily and Eli, were sitting next to me taking in all of the beauty.  (Two of my cousins and my grandparents were in Israel with me because it was my grandparents’ gift to us for doing such a great job on our Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.)  When I saw another dolphin, I started screaming because I was so excited.  We were all going scuba diving in the Red Sea.  We had all been so excited!  We even named some of the dolphins before we came.  Eli named his Flippy and made sure that he wore his nice bathing suit so that he would impress Flippy.  Once we got to the scuba diving area, they had signs with all of the dolphins pictures and names.  None were named Flippy.  This upset Eli, but he decided that whatever dolphin he saw was going to be named Flippy whether that was actually the name or not.
We were all ecstatic for today!  My grandma told us that it was time to go and get into our wetsuits.  As soon as I walked up the hill to registration, a man asked me if my name was Miranda.  I said, “yes” with a confused look on my face.  He introduced himself and told me that he was my private scuba diving instructor.  Another man in a dryer wetsuit took my cousins and me over to a bench.  He showed and explained us how to fix different solutions if something went wrong while underwater.  He showed us how we would get water out of our eyes if it got in our goggles.  He had us each practice pressing our goggles and looking up.  He also taught us how to unpop our ears.  We were taught that under the water, one’s ears will pop a lot because of going so deep.  To fix that, he had us practice how to plug our nose and breathe out aggressively.  Finally, he taught us how to get water out of our mouths.  If it got in our mouths, we could get it out by pushing a button on our air mask.  He then explained that in Israel, it is a law that if you are scuba diving, you must scuba dive with a licensed scuba diver.  You also must hold this licensed scuba divers’ hand while scuba diving.  We were taught that we should not touch any of the dolphins in the water because we do not want to disturb them in their habitat.  When he finished explaining all of this to us, the man then gave us each a wetsuit.  
We squeezed ourselves in.  Mine fit like a glove, but Eli’s suit was a little too tight.  We stepped into some outdoor showers to cool ourselves down from the one-hundred-ten-degree weather.  It was so hot that it felt like I was standing on the sun.  When the showers got to be too crowded, we all went to see our guides.  My guide put weights on my waist so I would not float up to the surface while scuba diving.  Then he put a huge large air tank on my back, like a backpack.  As soon as he put the air tank on, I began to stumble a little bit.  I slowly started to walk down to where we were going to scuba dive.  In the middle of the hill, I just could not take it anymore.  The air tank and weights were way too heavy.  I took one more step and fell right to my knees.  As I slid on my knees, the gravel pinched me.  I finally got the strength to stand up.  I looked down at my knees and they were gushing with blood.  It would have hurt a lot more if I was not so excited to get in the water and start.  My guide told me I almost gave him a heart attack when I fell.  When we walked the rest of the way down the hill, we were much more cautious.
I got in to the water and felt a cold rush go through my body as if I just slid in snow with only a bathing suit on.  My guide held my hand and took me to the middle of the crowd of scuba divers.  He put on my goggles and slipped on my flippers.  He made sure that my air mask worked and then squeezed my hand to go underwater.  As soon as I got underwater, I was immediately astonished.  My first couple of breaths felt weird and were very noisy.  A gust of air went in my mouth every time I took a breath.  When I stabilized my breathing patterns, my guide squeezed my hand and pointed downward.  I saw a dolphin!  The beautiful dolphin was turning on its back.  It looked as if it were dancing and twisting.  I started smiling, but got a little water in my mouth from smiling, so I stopped.  We kept swimming, and I saw a huge coral reef.  There were so many different animals living on it.  A school of fish came passing by as I was looking at the coral reef.  They were all black with a neon, light blue stripe on their stomach.  They  were so unique.  They swam right into the coral reef.  When the fish disappeared into the reef, I looked around again and saw Emily and her guide petting and hugging the dolphin.  I was so envious of her, but I knew we were not allowed to pet the dolphins because we were told to let the nature be. They told us this when we were signing our forms earlier, and I could not believe Emily was breaking the rules. I did not know how to tell my guide that I wanted to meet the dolphins because it was impossible to talk underwater.  I just kept swimming and in the corner of my eye, I spotted a sea turtle.  I was so excited!  It glided through the water slowly and gracefully.  It reminded me of the sea turtle in Finding Nemo because it looked like it was enjoying every minute of its life. We then turned and saw another coral reef.  This time, we swam all the way to the bottom and my guide picked up a dead eel.  I was completely grossed out  and started screaming.  I tried not to get water in my mouth when he put the eel near my face.  He dropped it when he realized I was scared.  Then, he picked up a black, spiky sea urchin.  It looked like a spiky bouncy ball that was all black with two tiny white dots for eyes.  I did not know any better and thought that sea urchins were attracted to blood, and my knee was still bleeding.  So, when he picked it up, I also started screaming.  My reaction told him to put it down He then brought me to a place on the floor of the sea where there was just sand.  We put our knees on the ground.  It felt like the whole world was floating on top of us.  There were so many animals swimming above us.  I could see everything going on from down there and it felt so amazing to take in all of the beauty.  He took me over to the coral reef and poked at a brown, puffy thing sticking out.  It immediately got scared and shot right back in its tiny crevice, in the coral reef. I saw a brown animal that looked just like the one my guide touched, so I poked at it and it had the same reaction as the one before.  It made my heart jump every time I saw that.  We kept swimming and he started standing up.  At first, I did not know why he was standing up, but then I figured out that it was time to get out of the water.  I saw my cousins waiting there for me.  I walked back up the hill, more carefully this time, and saw my grandparents.  I told them everything that I did and they could tell that I had a fantastic time!

While I was in the car, going back to the hotel, I pondered everything I did.  I thought of what an impact that experience made on my life.  It changed how I see animals.  It taught me that as humans, we need to be more careful of what we do in the ocean or sea because we do not want to change the beauty of it. I thought about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how there were many animals killed.  What I saw underwater was breathtaking, and we do not want that to vanish.  The experience and what I saw under water was amazing, and I do not want that to go away just because of human activity.  
While I was in the car, I also thought about how amazing it was to be in Israel.  I was on this life changing trip and having such a great time.  I learned so much and learned so much more about my Jewish culture.  Through laughs and all seriousness, I learned so much.  For example, we went to the Western Wall, and I wrote a note about my past, present, future, dreams, and more.  I stuck it in the Western Wall and prayed.  I said a couple of prayers in hebrew but mainly in english.  This experience meant something to me and really was life changing.  I also learned while I was at the Western Wall how kind and generous people are.  The men and women had to pray on two different sides.  On one side it was Emily, my Grandma, and me.  On the other was Eli and my Grandpa.  Eli had to put on teffiin (a small leather box one puts around their head and it contains text from the torah.)  Eli did not know how to put teffilin on.  A man also praying came up to Eli and helped him.  The girls were not allowed to go help him since we were different genders.  This was just one of my Israel experiences.  The scuba diving I did today and the whole trip meant so much to me and was all so magnificent and significant.





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