When I was a teenager I was a passionate supporter of Greenpeace, I was a strident opponent of certain political systems, and I refused to walk past butchers’ shops. And then I got older and these things, although I still cared about them, didn’t take up or couldn’t take up as much space in my mind as they had done. I am now beginning to realise that the things that we hold dear and important to us when we are children are really the things that truly mean something to us and shouldn’t be shrugged off as “teenage whimsy”.
This doesn’t explain why two years ago I accepted the opportunity to learn to dive with Brad Robertson from Ondine Escape an adventure sports company with a strong environmental focus based in Mallorca: I hate cold water and after some bad experiences in trying to learn to dive when I was younger I wasn’t so keen. However the whole experience was amazing and the finale when I was asked to get into the shark tank at the Palma Aquarium was incredible.
You can read about the whole experience on my blog
My little girl, La Gidg, went through the whole thing with me, watching enviously from the waterside, and waving back at me when I was in the shark tank. “You can learn when you are eight”, Brad told her. She didn’t forget that, and would occasionally raise the topic of whether or not her dad and I remembered that when she turned eight she would legally be allowed to dive.
Gidg turned eight this week. Incredibly she seemed to have forgotten amongst all the other birthday shizzle that she now could dive with Brad if she so wished. But Brad and I had not, and colluded to arrange a surprise meeting on the beach during her birthday picnic. Surprise, surprise he had some diving gear with him, so would Gidg like to go and blow some bubbles? Of course she did!
There aren’t that many people that I would trust with my daughter’s safety: as an eight year old she can participate in a dive up to 2 metres deep with a qualified diving instructor, but I was very happy to hand her over to Brad who had looked after me and treated me with such patience and understanding when I had learnt to dive. I watched with a great deal of pride as she was briefed and then loaded up with gear and walked into the sea. They were gone for what felt like hours, but was probably not quite as long. When they re-emerged from the water the rest of the people on the beach got the shock of their life when some banshee started cheering and yelling at the top of her voice (sorry about that Cala Bendinat).
And so a new passion has been formed: a passion for adventure, for the environment, for challenge, and for fun.
Happy birthday chickadee, and thank you Brad for the best present we could ever have given her.