Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/46

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
40
COLYMBIA.

costume which is de rigueur in the water, namely a pair of spectacles, bathing-drawers and weight-belt.

This last piece of dress is worn for the purpose of counteracting that tendency to rise to the surface of the water which the smaller specific gravity of our bodies produces. It is a broad belt with pieces of lead or other heavy metal let into it. In order to provide me with a weight-belt precisely adapted to my requirements, my Instructor first ascertained my specific gravity by means of a simple apparatus, he then calculated the cubic contents of my body, and finally referred to a printed table to determine the weight of the belt I would require. Having found this, he took from the cupboard, where a number of these belts were kept, one of the precise weight required by me with which I at once girded myself.

I should add that these belts are provided with india-rubber cells which can be inflated at pleasure by the wearer so as to counteract the weight of the pieces of lead, and so restore the buoyancy of the body. This inflation is resorted to when the wearer wishes to bring his head above the surface of the water.

We sallied forth from the coral grotto and walked down the sloping beach of snow-white sand which the fierce rays of the sun had made uncomfortably warm for the naked feet.

The clear blue water felt deliciously cool, coming out of the sultry air, though I was told that its temperature was not much below eighty degrees.

Diving down into the pellucid depths, I marvelled at the extreme beauty of the scene. Corals of the most exquisite shape and colour, branching out into every variety of fantastic and elegant form; here, like the branches of trees as we see them in winter silvered