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.
I have never seen any water in the Caribbean look this bad.
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.
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.
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.
It was really a short boat ride to where we were going and really close to the land.