For a while now I had been preparing for my 100th dive. It’s tradition to do this milestone dive naked. Butt naked. Naked and free. One instructor said she just went topless on her 100th, and I recently got an eyeful of our fellow DMT, Bobby’s naked dive when he jumped into the water full frontal, danglely bits and all, after I had just jumped in. You don’t have to do this, but I kinda wanted to. Especially because I had the appropriate buddy to do this dive with. So we had been waiting for my 100th dive. Waiting, because Lionel’s had this weird sinus problem lately where he bleeds from his nose, and bright orange snot comes out when he dives. It’s super gross.
I didn’t want to do the dive naked from our usual boat as I wasn’t too keen on being naked on a boat full of divers/customers, or diving at a dive site where we might bump into divers underwater. Or divers with GoPro cameras, so Lionel and I had decided to do this dive off the shore where we would wear our bathers going into Sairee reef, and then take them off in the water. We were waiting for Lionel’s weird sinus problem to clear up last week when suddenly I was asked by the shop to take a Fun Diver out for a dive. My first real customer! Where I would get paid to take a customer on a dive! I couldn’t refuse it, so I took the diver out despite it being my special 100th dive that I had planned to do with Lionel.
I didn’t go naked with this customer, surprisingly enough. Lionel was a bit miffed that he couldn’t join us on my 100th dive, but we decided to go the next day for my 101th.
My 101th dive was full of anticipation. Mostly from the others at the dive shop who insisted that if we didn’t walk into the ocean naked then it didn’t really count. We’re rebels so we didn’t listen to them. Instead we wore our bathers, put on our BCD jacket, and carried our tanks out to the water. We had to swim out quite a bit due to the low tide, and descended to about 5 metres. With our dive gear on, underwater, we swam out a bit more until we hit a sandy patch where we took off our bathers. Awkwardly as we were wearing fins and the BCD. But we were naked. As tradition dictates. Then we swam a bit more, weaving our way around the coral and the fish who had come over for a good look. Pervs.
We stopped at another sandy patch where Lionel took out a writing slate out of his BCD pocket. I was looking around at the fish who were slowly creeping closer to us as Lionel scrawled on that slate for what seemed like an eternity. Finally he turned it around and I read it.
“Congrats on 100 dives. How about 100 years together?”
I replied, “Why not!”
Then Lionel rummaged around in his other pocket, pulling out his boardshorts and feeling in the pockets.
What was happening?
He couldn’t find anything in his boardshort’s pockets so he felt around in his BCD jacket pocket. Nothing. Finally he wrote on the slate again.
“This is for real. Koh Tao sucks for jewellery though.”
I slowly wrote back, “LOL, meaning?”
“Do you want to marry me?”
I was a bit in shock at this point. Was this for real? Lionel had fake proposed many times before, just to shock me, but never underwater, naked, off an island in Thailand.
I looked at him, and grabbed the pencil and the slate. “Yes!”
Turns out Lionel had been looking for a ring in his pockets when he was rummaging around. Koh Tao only sells touristy, plastic, faux-shark teeth jewellery, so he wanted to get the ring when we’re in a city. In the meantime, he had found a piece of scrap metal and bent it into a circular ring like shape. He was planning on giving this to me underwater, but we think it may have floated out of his shorts’ pocket when he took off his pants. My temporary engagement ring is currently somewhere in Sairee Reef, probably at about 6.5 metres!!