Well, not that rapturous. And not that deep either, just 34 metres. But pretty good nonetheless. Yesterday I went diving again for the first time in far too many years, and enjoyed myself immensely. I'd been meaning to get underwater again for ages, and then the opportunity came up, and I was glad I took it.

The trip was very well organized, and also very Italian.

A 9.15 rendezvous turned into a 10ish departure, and then we turned back because one of the party had been left ashore buying a couple of bottles of water. The boat was well-equipped, with excellent tank racks, plenty of room, and a good spacious deck at the back for entry and exit. The kit, all hired, was in good shape too. There were some pretty serious divers, dry-suited and with manically complicated rigs featuring several different tanks and more gizmos hanging off their jackets than a Christmas tree. My buddy and instructor referred to them somewhat sneeringly as 'proffesioniste' and saved the most scorn for their diving computers. 'Mini-brains,' he called them, though he had one too, a very uncomplicated one by the look of things.

We dived off an island called Giannutri, near Giglio in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Beautiful clear water, visibility easily 20 metres, and lots to see. On the first dive I had too little weight to begin with, and was rocking and rolling like a demented crab trying to adjust my buoyancy. Having fixed that, though, it all went quite smoothly. Almost everything came back to me, not quite as mindlessly as riding a bike is supposed to, but reassuring nevertheless. And the joy of being weightless was as good as I remembered it. Just getting close to a patch of encrusted rock and peering at everything going on is such a blast. The problem now will be to learn the Italian names for things. Nudibranch translates just fine, which is just as well. The time -- 52 minutes according to the mini-brain -- vanished.

After a simple lunch of bread and tomatoes we put into shore for a coffee (of course) and then idled about digesting before we could risk another dive. This one went smoother, and deeper, but was at least as much fun, if not more.

Conversation, which was part of the reason for going, was not all that great; everyone else seemed to be in small groups and to know one another. But towards the end of the day I did have a couple of halting chats, which will surely be better next time.

I may be hooked again, which would be good. I have to miss the next session, alas, but there's one in October I should manage. Then I think that particular group shuts down for the winter. Which will give me time to drool over and save up for some kit. Or maybe I'll go somewhere warm ...

P.s. 11 September 2016: All for naught, in the end. I met someone, now The Main Squeeze, who had a friend who lost a very close friend, and I decided I would not want to put her through that. So I have not dived since. You can't have everything.

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