I figured diving in a submarine was going to be one of the harder items on my life list. I don’t know any James Bond villains personally and none of my friends are making much progress trying to surface the Titanic (yet!). Luckily, my tides turned (prepare for a lot of water related phrases in this post. I can’t help myself!) I found out that there is only one company that offers commercial submarine rides to the public. Unfortunately it only has bases Hawaii. I sat in Seattle painfully aware that Washington State was not actually in Hawaii. I put the item on hold and organized to revisit it in a month.
A few weeks later, my time came. At that point in my life, I had built a pretty good reputation for myself in Internet marketing. Luckily for me, a marketing conference organizer read my life list and asked me to come speak in Hawaii. I looked around sneakily and agreed. Wow, that was lucky!
The conference went extremely well (it was one of the most fun conferences I have ever attended) and was able to meet a lot of like-minded people. (One of them even ended up getting me my current job.) The day after the conference ended, I flew to my submarine destination. Enough work (ha), I had business to do. It was going down, submarine style.
I landed and walked around very confused looking for the submarine office. It turned out it was on land (win!) and that it was open. I verified my reservation (it cost me about $100) and they told me to come back the next day.
The next day they gave me a huge lamented ticket and asked me to walk to the end of the nearby dock. I walked over and stood at the end of the empty dock. This was getting weird.
20 minutes later a modern looking boat floated by and picked me up. We boated out about a mile or so and eventually I saw the top of submarine. It was exactly how I had pictured it.
The crew opened the hatch and I climbed down the most awesome submarine ladder I had ever descended. The inside looked… well… like the inside of a submarine. It was thin, small and lined with thick circular windows.
They asked me to sit in the middle to help avoid weight issues (frown) and asked if I was ready. Excitedly, I said “hell yeah!”
It was at that moment, that it happened. We started to dive and the submarine made authentic submarine noises! EEEhh, EEEhh, EEhh. It was perfect.
We dove down and the first thing the captain pointed out was that as we got deeper less and less red light would be able to penetrate the depths. This turned everything blue. The sub didn’t go straight down as I had imagined, instead it went down with a lean. Baller style.
We toured the (blue) sea floor and hung out with various (blue) fish. They acted unconcerned by the fish-car and floated aimlessly by the multiple circular windows.
The submarine had a depth gauge displayed prominently (a good thing to have) so I could always tell how deep we were. It was exactly the submarine adventure I wanted to have.
The highlight of the experience was exploring a sunken yacht. Apparently it had once belonged to a very rich guy who had an extremely bitter and drunk wife. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the latter two traits led to the sinking of the yacht. :-) The sub got very close to the wreckage. we hung out with an octopus and several dozen of his-her friends who had made the wreck their home. The neighborhood view was fantastic. :-)
We eventually surfaced and met up with the boat. I made it back without any problems and thought about what I had just experienced. I had thought that this would end up being one of my harder life list items. Instead, it was one of my easiest. I simply sat there underwater and successfully didn’t die.
That is the best part of pursuing a life list. While the list items are spelled out explicitly, the experiences are not. In that way, the list becomes less about simple achievement and more about living life in unexpected ways. For me, that is the ultimate prize.