SCUBA DIVING

We have been trying to scuba dive at least one port per cruise since Sakari took an interest to this hobby a little over a year ago.

 

 

Originally I had plans to go see the sloths and then on to a beach for the day. I wanted to scuba dive in Costa Maya because that was the only port day that we didn't have any plans. Then Kendra booked and decided that she wanted to dive in Roatan.

 

After checking all the places in Costa Maya, we discovered that you had to dive BY BOAT there. That was an instant NO for both me and Kendra. Absolutely not! She has the same anxiety I have when diving and it takes us both awhile to get used to breathing under water like that. We need our feet firmly planted on the ground until the calmness sets in. This would only be her second dive, with the first being at Coki Beach and it took her forever to get used to it. I would see her constantly pop back up over and over at the beach and it wasn't looking good for a long time. But she accomplished it and managed to dive at Coki.

 

So it looked like Roatan would be the place we would dive. I contacted a lot of different places and our problem is...the kids. It's very hard to find a company that can accommodate both the adults AND the kids with a dive.

 

I found the perfect place: Bananarama. They gave us the option of a DSD right there at West Bay, which I had been wanting to return to since we were there last in 2011 and kind of didn't get to see much of the reef that time because they had had a lot of rain prior and everything was stirred up. They would take us right out off the beach and to the kidney area and around the outside and back. We would be going to Eel Garden and that sounded pretty darn awesome! They would also take the kids out so far with us and knew they were both PADI seals and felt comfortable with this.

 

We booked the DSD for $120pp (adult) which included the dive/equipment, round trip transportation, use of beach and chair after dive. The dive was $100 and the transportation was $20.

For the kids, it was $80 per kid plus $20pp transportation.

Then the non-diver (Billy) was a $30 package ($20 for transportation and $10 for...I thought they said a drink or two, I can't remember). Kam was free. So $617.50 later and we were booked and I was excited to be diving West Bay!

It had been a rainy week for the Caribbean I guess. We pulled up and the water looked disgusting. I was really hoping it didn't look like this everywhere and we'd be able to see some beautiful crystal clear water.

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I have never seen any water in the Caribbean look this bad.

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We finally arrived at Bananarama. It was over an hour drive there. I do NOT remember it being that long. I'm pretty sure it wasn't and it was just the extremely SLOW cab driver we had. After that ride, I swore I would never come back here again...at least not when docked at Mahogany Bay.

Hey at least it was nice and sunny out!

 

We immediately checked in with the staff and I was so excited but yet nervous as well.

They put a wristband on Billy and showed him and Kam to the bar. We sat down and started filling out paperwork.

The instructor for the kids started going over everything with them and answering questions and asking questions.

We met the girl that was going to be our instructor. Man did she look young. The owners (I think) are from Utah maybe? They came here and then later bought this place. I believe our instructor was also from Utah and came over to do her certification and stayed or something like that. There was another instructor or helper that would be with us that day and she was an exchange dive student, I believe also from Utah, and she came down to be certified and was also supposed to be here for a few weeks and loved it so much that she's dragging out her stay and has been here for months now. She doesn't want to return.

 

At one point I went out and checked on Billy and Kam and I wanted to see the beach and the bar.

Scubagirl needed a pic...once again...something is wrong with her. (If you haven't figured it out yet, her goggles are on upside down). LOL I imagine her seal isn't going to be too great. Hopefully she knows how to clear her mask.

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So then a very nice gentleman came over to talk to us about the dive. He informed us that we would not be diving West Bay. Say what???? Why??? That's the only reason I came here. He said the water was too choppy and unsafe and we would be going over to the other side of the island and diving where the water is calm. Ok, I'm all for calm but I had my heart sat on West Bay and the Eel Garden. I'm also all for safety, so I guess I was ok with it...until he dropped a bomb on us. "You'll be going out by boat and diving". UM NO!! NO WE WILL NOT! NO DEFINITELY WE WILL NOT! I explained to him our anxiety with diving, how it takes a long time to get used to the water, we need to be standing on our feet until then and we only picked their place because it was a shore dive. I explained how we had originally planned on diving in Costa Maya but then found out that you could only do boat dives. Absolutely not!

 

He talked to me about it for a really long time. He was very calming and informative. He also said that "if" we decided we didn't want to then we did have the option of doing a shore dive from the site we get on the boat to go out to dive, but they had a lot of rain lately and it's going to be murky/muddy looking. It's going to be hard to see. We would have to do our skills there and then swim out past the buoys to scuba and it wasn't going to be the greatest scuba diving experience. He also explained that if we did it that way, we would not be diving with the kids. If we dove by boat then the kids would be with us.

 

He wants us to go by boat to a place called the "Cave". Wait...no caves for me. That would freak me out. He said it was just called that. The boat dive would be a great place, not too deep, and there's a ......WALL! Wait, stop again. If you are trying to comfort me and talk me into this, telling me about a wall is not going to do it. I'm petrified of walls.

 

He told us to get ready and it was a 5 minute drive over to the area and then we would discuss it more after I seen it.

Then we discovered Sakari had no mermaid tail. They had us put all of our things behind their counter in their storage area and no bright yellow and orange bag to be found. When Sakari was questioned, she didn't remember grabbing it out of the cab van. Oh no!!!! He said he would call the driver and have him look for it. Sakari was heartbroken and (so was I) I reminded her that she needed to be more responsible.

 

I then told Kendra what was going on. She instantly went into panic mode as well.

 

They did not go over anything with us as far as our skills or a class. We were fitted for wet suits and then we piled in 2 vehicles. We were in a truck with the guy who had been talking to me and the instructors were in the bed of the truck. Kendra and the kids were in a car.

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It was actually a 12 minute drive to were we were going and it was called Flowers Bay. All of a sudden it started raining. The girls in the back were screaming and laughing. I ask if they wanted to squeeze inside with us and they said no.

 

We pulled up along the side of the road and we all piled out. The girls were carrying the tanks and equipment (these girls looked like they were about 100# and not sure how they manhandled all this equipment). The guy told me to "come" and he would show me around and explain everything and let me decide what we would do.

 

He was seriously the nicest guy ever and so calming. He told me that the boat ride was about 5 minutes away and just down a ways from there. They are real close to the land. There would be a wall, but we didn't have to go out there. When we got in the water, we could use the ladder. When we did our skills check off we could either hold on to the ladder and do them, hold onto a rope and do them, or even have the instructor hold us up and do them. He explained after that, we would use the rope to slowly go down to the ocean floor. He told me how simple it was and how patient our instructor was. I begged for him to take us. (lol) but he couldn't that day.

 

I threw caution to the wind and said "oh what the hell, let's do this...boat and all".

 

We waited on the dock while the girls got our things together and lined up. It has stopped raining.

We each had our spot with everything set up from fins to tanks to bsd...everything. All we had to do was get on and sit in our assigned spot.

We piled in the boat and instantly Kendra and I went into an entirely different state of mind. Not a good one either. Off we went for our dive.

I don't remember what they were talking about here, but obviously everyone had forgotten their troubles and was laughing.

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It was really a short boat ride to where we were going and really close to the land.

Now I really don't understand this. The picture below is where we docked. You see how close the land is right? Well they pointed toward the land and said "right there is the wall". Um, how can a wall be right there? Right by the land? They were right but still it's weird. You couldn't see the land that close from under water, but the wall was right there.

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Once we stopped the boat and "parked", Andrea started going over our skills we would do with her and explaining the area. It took a little while. Kendra started talking about getting sick from all the rocking of the boat. I suspect that she was just making excuses and was scared. This is what she did in St Thomas. Complained about her mask leaking and having issues when really it was her nerves. Now...she was getting sea sick. Kendra and Billy own boats, we go boating in the summer, riding jet skis, and tubing. Stop trying to convince me that you are sick from being on the boat. Seriously?

 

After going over the details, Andrea (our instructor) geared up and did a back flip off the boat as we watched.... and shouted "no way we are doing that".

Kendra was still complaining about getting sick with the boat rocking and they told her to hurry and get in the water. She did...followed by me, the kids, then the hubby. The hubby kept looking at me and saying "are you ok?" "are you sure?". I was fine...so far.

 

I took this time to just put my head under the water and get use to my breathing while everyone else got in. I looked around. I could see tons of coral and fish way down there. It was too far to really see clearly or get pictures, but I could see it! I concentrated on what was to come. I came up a few times and then back down. I held on to the rope for dear life and the few times I let go, the instructor pushed it toward me.

 

The kids went toward the front of the boat with their instructor and did their skills. We were in the back of the boat. It was time to do our skills and I was the first to go...oh dear.

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I held on to the rope and let the air out of my bsd. I was struggling to stay down. When I would let go of the rope, I would float back up. I was a little frustrated. I took the regulator out of my mouth and put it back in and purged it. I got the ok sign and high five. I took the regular out and threw it over my shoulder, swoop and retrieved it and put it back in my mouth and purged. High five. Now it was time to clear my mask. I never have a problem with this. I do it all the time...sometimes even snorkeling. I did it with no problems...however, drip, drip, drip...right into my eyes. UGH! Feel the burn. I have a lot of problems with my eyes. I have had several surgeries with the most recent one back in the summer. I'm a very slow healer and what was supposed to take someone 1 week to have their site back took me 3+ months. I'm "over protective" of my eyes. I have NEVER in my life opened my eyes up in the water...not even in a pool. Now I had salt water in my eyes. I'm blinking, thoughts are racing in my head, what do I do? Oh hell, I'm basically at the surface I might as well just come up and clear it out of my eyes. Up I went followed by my instructor. I cleared my mask, rubbed my eyes until they didn't burn anymore...all while realizing that had this happened while under water diving, I would not be able to do this and I think I would have eventually been fine. But, like I said, I was at the surface, so what why not.

 

Next up for skills was Kendra...still complaining

of being sick. Andrea told her, if you get sick

under water, just throw up and purge. The look

on her face. LOL Kendra made up every excuse

in the book. She was sea sick. She felt like

throwing up. Her mask wasn't fitting right.

They stayed on the boat too long.

So it was her turn and she started doing the

steps...then stumbled on the face mask.

I knew it. She had water in her eyes and shot

up instantly and threw the mask off.

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Then this started...

That added more frustration to Kendra's situation and things escalated. Andrea said just relax and take a deep breath. Kendra was so frustrated and heated already and worked up the only thing that came out of her mouth is "how the hell am I supposed to relax! Stop telling me to relax! I can't relax!" Oooohhhh boy. Then those dreaded words..."I'm not doing it. I'm done!" Sigh. I really don't feel like she gave it enough time. Honestly she didn't. She started saying she felt sick again but yet wanted back on the boat and gave up. If the boat made you sick from the rocking...why would you opt to go back on the boat for more rocking? Because that was just an excuse...that's why!

Kendra had one of my cameras.

This would be the 2 pictures she took that day.

One of the kids over with their instructor. And then this...which I'll just assume she accidentally took during one of her panic moments.

So Kendra swam back to the boat in an upset pissed off mood because she just couldn't get the hang of it and the hubby proceeded to do his skills...with no problems of course. Well...except he lost a flipper (fin). They had to go down and retrieve it and put it back on for him. Oops.

Before long, the kids seemed to drift away and were off in the distance.

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We had 1 diver down. There was now only the four of us and 3 instructors. Wait...there's wasn't four of us, the kids had already went down and left. ***! We were all supposed to go together and they are gone.

 

So, I didn't get a chance to get pictures of the kids diving and would have to rely on Sakari's "selfies".

 

I will start the next portion of the review with JUST Sakari's experience and just her pictures since we were not together and they are two separate stories now.

 

They took off and here are some of her pictures along the way.

 

Her least favorite thing in the ocean and the one thing that makes her not want to dive...

You will notice A LOT of white coral. It is bleached out. It was everywhere. It was sad but looked really cool underwater. It almost looked as if it was glowing when you were down there. They said they had a very hot summer and that caused a lot of the coral to bleach out but it would come back later. The sun is what bleaches it out and hopefully it will come back (more than likely since it is in the ocean), but when my coral at home, once it bleaches out...I've lost it. Boo!