BEST PROPOSAL EVER | UNDERWATER LOVE | SCUBA CLUB COZUMEL
The Best Proposal Ever!
Look No Further Entertainment’s Owner and Founder, Ross Phillips, recently got engaged and it’s just about the best proposal story ever! He gives us the total scoop here! Get your awwwww’s ready. This is a cute one
Kristin and I both share a deep love for the ocean and the idea started there. My ultimate goal was to surprise her an unforgettable proposal paired with a spectacular ring but it took awhile for the plan to develop. I took Kristin on her very first ocean dive in Hawaii where she met a huge sea turtle who stayed with us for about an hour. That turtle was a friendly old soul and when Kristin got to make that primal connection with nature I think she was hooked. It was in that moment, I knew I would propose to Kristin underwater, but I had no idea how I would pull it off.
When I’m not working private events I am also a dive instructor at Scubaland Adventures. My fellow dive professionals made for an excellent group of people to bounce my ideas off of and draw inspiration from. Without their guidance, I’m not sure I would have tried to pull off such an adventurous idea. I had a few concerns, of course. How would I communicate the proposal underwater? How would I keep it a secret? What do I do with the ring?
The opportunity presented itself in September when we decided to take an impromptu trip to Mexico. Colleague divers had always told me great things aboutScuba Club Cozumel, so when Kristin asked where we should go for her birthday I suggested that we go there. I had my when/where answer but the clock was ticking on my idea – September was only a few weeks away!
The ring was daunting because I wanted to get it perfect while keeping the whole experience a surprise. Kristin has impeccable style – she is a trendsetter and a tastemaker in her industry and I wanted a timeless ring that would reflect those qualities. She works as a hairdresser/colorist so I wanted something really minimalist that wouldn’t interfere with her performance at work. After doing some shopping I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to find it on a shelf anywhere and so I started investigating custom options. The inspiration for the ring came from a design I saw on the web by a designer in New York. I took my notes to a few jewelers around town and thankfully Brooke at Russell Korman Fine Jewelry assured me that she could create my vision on my timeline. I had to have the ring 100% created on trust and I didn’t get to see it until 3 days before we left for our trip. When I did get the opportunity to see the completed piece I melted – if you could embody my stunning fiancé into a ring this was it!! The center stone is an emerald cut diamond with a 4-prong setting flanked by 2 diamond trillions all set in a 14ct gold band. I knew she would be thrilled with the ring and I put my plan into overdrive.
I still had to figure out a way to communicate the proposal underwater beyond the hand signals that we normally use like “ok,” “follow me,” or “shark!” I tossed around a few ideas with some fellow instructors including painting “will you marry me” on a big inflatable underwater buoy. That plan involved inflating the 8-foot long bouy underwater with the ring attached to the top – we decided that was probably a “bad” plan and I kept thinking.
Ultimately, I settled on an idea that I got from my dad decades earlier. He used a typewriter to type notecards for anything that was really important to him. Coincidentally, I had purchased an antique typewriter for Kristin on eBay few months earlier so that she could write “thank you” cards to her clients. This particular machine typed in beautiful script and I knew it would be ideal for my purpose. The day before we departed I typed my proposal on a notecard and snuck out to the local Kinkos that night to get it laminated while Kristin lay sleeping.
The last piece of the puzzle was how to deliver the note. I found a wooden treasure chest online that looked fitting. However, when it arrived in the mail I realized I had a big challenge – if I tried to place it on the ocean floor it was definitely going to float. I was running out of time and I decided I would cross that bridge when we got to our destination.
With her father’s blessing and our passports in hand, we headed to Mexico. For some crazy reason, I opted for a 6 am flight which gave me zero opportunity to sleep before our departure. We were meeting my fellow diver friends, Tom and Susan in Mexico who were very excited to help me with my plan!
We arrived safely at our destination, my friends greeted us with open arms, but everybody could see that I was exhausted. So, I excused myself to our room to take a nap and along the way, I stopped by the dive shop on the way to tell some of the people who would be guiding us what I was planning. The local divemaster agreed that my box was definitely going to float without some help. Thankfully, they had a 1lb weight that fit perfectly inside the box and they agreed to let me borrow it as long as I promised not to leave it on the bottom of the ocean.
I understood his concern. The most popular way to dive in Cozumel is to “drift” dive because they have very strong current there. That means that a group of divers boards a small charter boat that takes everybody out to the site. A depth, time, and emergency plan are discussed in advance and then everybody enters the water at the same time. Instead of swimming around a stationary dive site everybody “drifts” with the current for about 45 minutes and then the boat picks the group up about a 1/2 mile from the point of entry.
Drift diving is an exciting way to experience the reef because you’re neutrally buoyant and moving over the ocean floor completely at the mercy of the current. It is a lazy style of diving that is lots of fun but not ideal for what I had in my head. I did not have any prior experience diving in that part of the world my biggest concern was that we might drift too fast for me to get Kristin’s attention. I trusted that everything would work out fine and I headed off to our room to get some rest. The large bed was a welcome site and I nodded off to sleep meditating about everything I had prepared for the next day.
We awoke the next morning to a beautiful sunrise and I could feel the excitement in the air. My plan was spreading quietly through the resort but everybody was keeping their cool. We headed off to breakfast to eat and fuel up on coffee. Then, we headed back to the room where I carefully packed the treasure chest, the note, and the weight into a special pocket in my gear where Kristin wouldn’t notice. We walked down to the dock and boarded the charter. This was it!!!
There were 2 dives planned for the morning and I decided that I would do the first one to assess the situation and get a feeling for what to expect on dive 2. A wave of relief hit me when the current on dive 1 was not as fast as I expected. Only then did it feel like I had a real possibility of pulling this whole thing off undetected. I was sure that I’d ben busted countless times over the previous weeks but she hadn’t ever given me any indication that she was onto my plan. We finished the first dive and headed back to the boat to drink some water, eat a snack, and take a short interval on the surface.
During that time, I managed to quietly inform each person onboard about what my intensions were for the 2nd dive and everybody was enthusiastic about the big surprise. I asked my friends to stay close by so that they could distract Kristin at an opportune time and I asked the rest of the group if they wouldn’t mind giving us a little bit of space. We geared up to hit the water and each buddy team did a giant stride entry into the ocean. The group descended down to about 60 feet we started drifting over the reef. I was super nervous but I was trying to keep my cool while looking for a good spot to hide the treasure chest. The current was moving at a really lazy pace and when Kristin was distracted by some fish I made my move. I reached into the pocket and placed the little box under a large coral head where lots of creatures typically like to hang out. It didn’t take long for her to notice that I was extra busy with this particular coral head and she signaled to me “what’s up?” I gestured to her that there was a “lobster” under the coral and I motioned for her to come take a look. She swam over and I hovered there watching & trying to remember the 1st rule of scuba – never hold your breath!
It was readily apparent that there was no lobster under the coral – only a little treasure chest. She turned around and looked at me with inquisitive eyes that said, “what are you up to?” By this time, I think she also noticed that every other diver in the water was watching her. I motioned for her to open it and this is what she read:
I would like to start with how much I love, honor, respect, and cherish you. You are such a beautiful woman with an equally gorgeous soul. You radiate joy every single day and I feel so lucky to be able to bask in your sunshine. You are my best friend and my dive buddy for life. I was also hoping that you would like to be my wife.
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
P.S. I got you a ring. It is safe on dry land.
SHE SAID YES! Well, she did the best job of saying “yes” when you’re 60 feet underwater with a scuba kit on. We kissed and hugged and a couple of fellow divers managed to snap an underwater photo before we headed back to the surface. The news spread like wildfire through the resort and for rest of the trip everybody surrounded us with love, support, and well wishes.
Just out of pure luck, I got to surprise her a second time. She interpreted “safe on dry land” in my note to mean that the ring was safe back in Texas but I thought it would be terrible to make her wait that long. So, when we got back to our room I waited until she was in the shower to set the ring box out. When she finished cleaning up I casually asked her if she would like to see the ring. “NO WAY,” she said. “I don’t want to see it on the computer – that’s not the same.”
I grinned a little bit & told her “turn around – it’s right behind you!” Her face welled up with joy and I felt so relieved that I could finally unveil this secret that I had been keeping from her for the last few weeks. The entire trip was blissful and I think we will probably be making many trips back to Cozumel in the future.
Kristin and I are getting married on August 6th, 2016 at Qamea Resort and Spa in Fiji.