I woke up this morning when the hot sun and bugs swarming me refused to let me sleep in any more. With no real agenda today besides possibly diving this afternoon, I just bummed around the hostel and had some fruit for breakfast.
Decided to go in to town around 9 to talk to Dive Friends (biggest dive shop on the island) about dive locations and potentially diving today...and all of a sudden they were like, "Here's your wetsuit, here's the oxygen, here's the dive plan...let's go!"
I'm sorry. What? I need some time to think about it! I'm such a nervous nellie when it comes to diving. I've only done it twice before in Belize (in August -- never even blogged about that trip!), and didn't really enjoy it. I got motion sick both times and even threw up on the dive master on the second dive!
But somehow, this guy talked me in to it. He was surprised I was even questioning anything. He was like, "Look, this is the easiest, best dive you will ever do." And off I went...but still nervous.
It was at Hamlet, just north of Karlendijk, and it was a shore entry dive. That means you just walk in to the water from the shore and descend, rather than driving out in to the open water on a boat and jumping in and going right down. This way was much easier, much more calm and slow going for me, which helped with the nerves. Jumping off of a boat in to ocean waves is seriously NOT my thing.
I went down pretty slow, or I thought anyways, but I still had a really hard time getting my ears to equalize. I came up and down a couple of times, but they never felt good. I did the swallowing and wiggling my jaw and tilting my head back and forth and blowing out my nose...all the tricks I knew, but it just wasn't happening. They hurt.
I decided to go through with the dive anyways, despite the ears, because once I got under water a ways, there were so.many.fish. For real. I'm talking a whole new world down there that I never new existed. I can't even explain it, and pictures and videos don't even come close to doing it justice. The water was so clear (again, you can't really tell in the pictures, but it was). Way better than Belize, that's for sure. I had my GoPro down there, but honestly I'm usually too flustered with my ears and mask and whatever else to really take much footage of anything.
I saw one really cool fish, and started following him, and all of a sudden I was down to 80 feet before I heard the banging on the oxygen tank to wave me back up. That is waaaay to deep, but I really didn't even know it.
I eventually got cold right around 20 minutes in, which was the agreed upon turn around time anyways, but that meant I had another 20 minutes to freeze underwater before we got back to the exit spot.
I was more than ready to get out when we got closer to the pipe that lead us up and out, but we did the 3 minute safety stop like we were supposed to...and as I emerged, I got a bloody nose. A pretty good one, at that. No idea why. That's never happened before and it scare me a little since my ears hurt so bad the whole time.
The Dive Friends worker assured me it was nothing to worry about, but still, a little concerning to me.
Anyways, the dive was great, and I have lots of videos from it that I'll upload eventually. But no pictures for now!
I rinsed the salat water off at the shop, cleaned off all the gear - it's such a process to scuba dive - and then found a warm spot to let the sun heat me up. Being under water for so long is cooooold!
Made a quick stop at the grocery store - still in my scuba booties - before heading back out to the hostel for lunch (another salad) and some relaxation.
I tried to lay down for a few minutes to see if my head would go back to feeling normal, but it didn't. Regardless, I wanted to try diving again this afternoon. Since the gear was already rented, it was only like $15 I think for another tank of oxygen. That's super cheap, and when you're at one of the best dive locations in the world, you just have to do it.
So back in to town to try diving again with Dive Friends, but this time at Yellow Submarine.
I got all set up, all the gear on and what not, walked across the road down to water, and by the time I got there, my BCD was so tight I couldn't breathe. Literally.
I couldnt figure out what was going on, but I guess it was faulty and was inflating on its own! That's better than deflating on its own I guess, but either way, I had to go back inside and have a worker check it out. First he changed the regulator, but it still inflated. So he had to change the bcd AND regulator, and then it seemed to be working.
I really wasn't too pumped about any of that. I mean, I'm nervous to dive already, so when my equipment malfunctions, it's really not cool. But either way, we went back down to the water to give it another go.
At this spot, you descend in roped off "pool" area in the ocean, go down under the boats and out to the reef. The dive was harder to navigate, but once again, there were sooooo many fish. It was the same reef from the morning dive, after all, just a mile or so further down.
Since my ears were still bugging me, we decided to try and stay shallower, between 30-40 feet for the dive. But my ears still wouldn't equalize even at that depth. They settled in around 25-30 feet, so that is where we stayed for the dive.
Once again, I got cold after 18 minutes. We kept going, but only another two minutes, and turned around at 20 minutes, like planned.
I would say this spot had even more fish than at Hamlet, and overall, I actually semi-enjoyed part of the dive. My ears were better at the shallower depth. But once again, I got a bloody nose when surfacing. And we over-shot the exit and had to swim back through the boats to the pool to get out...while my nose was bleeding.
I was so cold and my ears hurt so bad that I didn't even rinse off. I just cleaned up the gear and sat out on the dock across the street to warm up, salt water covered and all. I took this shot on my GoPro and it turned out pretty well for not really knowing what I was shooting thanks to the blinding sun.
Before leaving town, we watched the cruise ship leave port, which was pretty cool to see, and walked around the little shops along the ocean. I bought a bamboo scarf. I have a scarf problem, and it was purple, and soft, so I just couldn't resist.
Back to the hostel for another cold shower and washing of clothes. I've been washing hair with cheap grocery store shampoo and conditioner every day here I usually wash it once or max twice a week at home, so it probably doesn't know what to think!