We had lunch at Mi Casa and then headed over to Columbia Scuba. Walking into Columbia Scuba, I always have to stop in the vestibule and just breathe in. It smells like neoprene. What does neoprene smell like? I can't quite describe it; it smells like, well, neoprene. Perhaps being able to accurately describe the smell of neoprene will be the barometer of judging my worth as a writer; if I can describe that, I can describe anything.
But since the sense of smell is closely tied to memory, the smell of neoprene, of Columbia Scuba, always awakens a flood of memories and emotions. Most good, some not. I try to focus on the good ones.
Bobby had called Triangle Diving in Bermuda, where we'll be finishing our certifications, and the dive instructor there had recommended that we get 5 mm wetsuits. Of course, this is between the standards of 3 mm for warm water and 7 mm for cold water, so it looked like they'd have to be special ordered. The salesguy (whose name I don't know, though he's always the one to sell us stuff) had us try on 3 mm suits to get an idea for size. I ended up in love with a size eight with super-stretchy material over the neoprene. Putting on a wetsuit is not fun; stuffing a sausage casing comes to mind. It's rather like putting on rubber clothes, not that I expect that this will help many people. (I have a rubber shirt, so I know that they're similar.) So the stretchier the material over the neoprene, the better. They're supposed to fit tightly because a wetsuit works by letting in just a tiny amount of water at the wrists, ankles, and neck that stays close against the body and warms to body temperature, keeping a person warm in cold water. (A dry suit, on the other hand, lets in no water and is worn with long underwear underneath!)
Since the size eight went on painlessly, I picked that one. And, as luck would have it, they did have a 5 mm in my size! So now I can go into my closet and smell neoprene whenever I want. (Don't think that I won't; upon getting home, I buried my face in my new wetsuit and just smelled it.) Unfortunately, the dive community just like every other industry, has something against the color red because they don't make red wetsuits in the brand that I chose, so I got the next best thing: solid black.
Planted right smack in the middle of the store was a little table with some clearance items. Including a BCD (buoyancy compensator device) in Bobby's size, XL, marked down from $550 to $225. Apparently, they'd gotten in the new models and this was the only one left in last year's model, so they just wanted to get rid of it. Good for us! Bobby tried it on; fell in love with it. So he spent his wetsuit money on a BCD instead, and we'll save up again, go back in a few weeks, and get his wetsuit and my BCD. Then we'll just need regulators to have all of our own equipment...but I told Bobby with tax-time breathing down our necks, that it might be best to wait and settle for renting regulators in Bermuda.