MITSUGIRLYS EPIC CRUISE--2nd time around-1st from Port Canaveral

Day 6: St Thomas

Wednesday-Nov 16: St Thomas 7am-2pm  Day 5 on the ship

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The port info:

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I was REALLY looking forward to this day. We decided we were going to do something brand new...never experienced before. So, I was super excited, but yet very nervous for this day to arrive. I knew that it was going to either be the best day on the cruise...or possibly the biggest let down. Only time would tell.

 

I had my alarm set for 5:30 am and jumped in the shower to attempt to wake up a little more. Man I was tired. The night before I had read in the dailies that the buffet didn't open until 6:30am, which would be too late, since we had to be off the ship at 7am. We started thinking about other options, such as O'Sheehans or the MDR. But that meant we couldn't just eat and go. We would be at the mercy of slow service if it was anything like the other times. We headed up to the buffet just to check things out...and it was open. Thank goodness! Maybe they decided to open earlier than normal due to an early port day. Either way, I was happy.

 

I had my usual, other than the scrambled eggs. I have to say that I have never had a problem in the past with the "powdered" scrambled eggs, but this time...they were icky. You could tell they were not "real" and they just wasn't good. Oh well, I had my waffle still.

 

Taken with my already foggy camera lens...ugh

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Kolin discovered that they had a new type of chocolate milk and he was really in love. He must have had about 5 of them with breakfast. He just kept talking about how good they were.

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He said they were the best thing he had ever had. Later in the week I would try one and I didn't care for it. Remember I don't like chocolate, but I will drink chocolate milk. This stuff was injected with steroid chocolates and was just too much for me.

 

We headed back to the room and hung out on the balcony because we knew that we were still moving for some reason.

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Beautiful St Thomas.

 

Sakari was super excited to get this day going as well.

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Announcements were made that we were coming in late, so we wouldn't be able to get off the ship until 7:30am. Yikes. No, let me off now, I'll swim. hehe

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They said due to the late arrival, our new "on board" time would now be 2pm. Ok, I guess that makes up for it. I'm good with that.

 

It was looking like a very cloudy morning.

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A view of the port from our balcony:

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At 7:30am, we headed down to Deck 5 in order to get off. But, we soon discovered that we still had not fully docked yet. Grrr.

 

We decided to hang out and wait there at the art gallery area. There were maybe around 25 people or so there. It's a big open area that's basically part of the hall that goes back and forth to the atrium. For some reason, the lady in uniform there approached us (we were standing along the wall) and told us "You can't wait here. You need to go somewhere else until they call for everyone to get off. Go have breakfast or a cup of coffee". Seriously? Do you think we are standing down here because we haven't had breakfast yet? Also, is there a reason that you signaled US out? Not a single other sole was approached and told to leave. We watched her the entire time, pace back and forth, and she did not say anything to any of the other people waiting in the same area as us. I thought that was rude. So...I did my usual style and plopped down on the floor and leaned against the wall and WAITED, just like everyone else. We were not in anyone's way, we were not doing anything wrong, we were quiet. So therefore, we were also waiting! Unless she wanted to clear the entire room, what she had just told us to do was completely invalid to me. I'm not a rule breaker, but I'm also not a pushover. Don't signal me out and not tell anyone else.

 

We were unable to get off the ship until 8am, so 1 hour past the time that we were supposed to get off. They made one last announcement, reminding us that we were getting off late (like we didn't know) and the new time to come back would be........drum roll.....still 2pm. Ugh. They could have at least changed it to 2:30pm....or 3, or even 6pm. Once again, I will double check any port times on my next cruise to make sure there's not a stupid 7-2pm port day. I just hate this.

 

We headed off the ship for the paparazzi to be waiting outside for us.

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So now I want to stop and take a moment to explain why we were so excited about St Thomas and what we had planned on doing. If you read my Fascination cruise (at the end), we got in to all this, so you might want to skip this part. (We got in to it so much that I guess it got a little off topic of the review, but the review was over, that the mods locked the thread for awhile to shut us up lol oops).

 

Anyhow...Sakari, my dear precious, late arrival-compared to my other kids, child. She is so different and unique compared to, not only my other daughter Kendra, but to most children. She's not your typical "girlie-girl". Kendra was a gymnast and a cheerleader. We're not talking about just kid football games or high school gymnast or cheerleader, we are talking about competition gymnast/cheerleading. She started at a very young age (gymnastics) and competed in other states. She won trophies and medals and was quite good. Then she broke her arm and hit a growth spurt and had major problems with her hip and foot. She moved on to competition cheerleading and competed in various states as well.

 

I tried to get Sakari into dance and gymnastics...it didn't last long. A lot of money spent on 3 classes a week and uniforms for shows...she decided it wasn't for her. Learning to do a cartwheel was her only goal and "freestyle" dancing was her only goal. She didn't want to follow a routine to music, she just wanted to do her own thing. So, as much as I wanted her to be like her older sister, it wasn't going to happen. I wasn't about to push her...I just want her to be happy with what she does.

 

She's only happy if 1) She's drawing, 2) if there's animals involved or 3). it involves water. THAT'S IT!

 

So...our last cruise she watched several scuba divers go out in the water below us in St Lucia. It's all she could talk about. "I want to breathe under water like they do!"

 

Nancy, (Perfect Match) told me about the PADI Seal program for "littles" and I just knew I had to check it out. I contacted my local dive shop and then went in to talk to them about having Sakari take diving lessons. For those that don't know, the PADI Seal program is for children 8-10 years old. It introduces them to scuba diving, the equipment, and how to do certain things. You do the classes and the dives and then you are a certified PADI Seal. After that, they have monthly dives that are considered "specialty dives" that incorporate a different category each time: night dive, photography, navigation, diving a "ship wreck", creature ID...and so on. You do this once a month until you turn 10 years old and can be certified to scuba dive in the open water. PERFECT!

 

I signed her up and she was super excited and it's all she talked about for a month.

 

Here's a few pictures from her learning to scuba dive and her class. I'll try to pick and chose certain things so that it don't get too long, but I was super excited.

 

IF YOU WANT TO READ ALL OF THE THREAD AND DISCUSSION ON IT, CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL BREAKDOWN: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2396178&page=58

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I have to admit, she was making me a little jealous watching her in the water with her gear on. The hubby and I were debating if we would like to do this some day as well and she was doing a great job convincing me that it was a lot of fun.

So after she completed her classes and got her PADI Seal certification, she did one of the specialty classes offered for that month: Night diving. It was pretty fun to watch them turn the lights off and the things they did. They had little stations set up in the pool with fake coral and fish, some pvc pipe that would signify diving into a cave or shipwreck that you had to maneuver. She had so much fun.

 

They had a video set up under water and we could either watch from above the water (with me sticking my hand under the water for pictures at times) or go to another room and watch them on the tv.

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So once that was over, she couldn't wait for the next specialty dive the following month. HOWEVER, there was a problem...the next specialty dive was going to be while we were on this cruise.

 

So...once again, these fine people on the boards suggested that I contact Coki Dive Center in St Thomas and see about getting her to do the PADI Bubble maker class that they offer. So...that's exactly what I did. The website said that the parents could join if they wanted to, but of course we are not certified, so decided to do the "Discover Scuba Diving". I figured that would give us a little taste of scuba and see if we would like to pursue this in the future for when Sakari is 10 and can be certified. We know that we would never want her to do this without us being there by her side, so someone has to do it (which is something the hubby has always talked about).

 

I contacted Coki, explained she was a PADI Seal already, and set her up to do the class. HOWEVER, Kendra decided to also sign up Brayden. He was going to try it out with her as well. The hubby and I signed up for the Discover Scuba and Kendra and Kolin decided they would too. Billy rarely gets in the water and to be around fish...no way. Courtney was scared and is not a very good swimmer to begin with and the thought of it freaked her out, so she declined.

 

So this was either going to be the most exciting day of the cruise or I was going to freak out and things not go well. But we were about to find out.

 

We headed out of the gates at the port and there were open air shuttle buses in the parking lot waiting for the passengers. They ask where we wanted to go and I told them. They were trying to get as many people as they could on the shuttles...of course, and I over heard them say "Emerald Beach". After getting on the shuttle (which was about the 5th in line and the other shuttles didn't even have but a few people on them), I ask other people on the shuttle where they were going. They replied Emerald Beach.

 

Oh no, I'm not about to head to another beach and wait for drop offs and kill time. I'm also not about to sit on this bus and wait for 4 other buses to pull out ahead of us, which would not move until they are full. It was after 8am and our class was at 9am. Time was wasting and we haven't even moved.

 

So now that I'm home, I just decided to look up Emerald Beach and ....it's in the total OPPOSITE direction of Coki and the other side of the island???? Seriously? Is there more than two Emeralds? I would have been livid if we would have stayed on that shuttle and headed the opposite way, then back tracked then on to Coki. That would have taken so much time and we probably would have been late. Nope, not happening.

 

We quickly got off the shuttle, of course being questioned by the guys operating them and trying to drum up business, and said "We are not going to Emerald Beach. We are going to Coki and we are not about to head somewhere else and waste time. We'll find a private ride" and off we went, while they said "You are making a big mistake. You will pay more". Well, the last time we were here, our driver outside of the gates told us $9 pp and I believe the kids were free. This shuttle inside the gates told us $10 pp. It's not a matter that we were trying to save $1 pp, because that didn't matter, the point is they said we would pay more and we actually paid less AND got a private bus for just us. :D

 

Out of the gates we went, and over to the shopping area that we had walked to last time, to find a driver. But, there was no one around as we were walking. It was weird. Nothing was open yet. I was starting to get worried. Then we came around the corner and found several open aired buses in the parking lot by the stores. Yep, they would take us for $9...I knew I would get a better deal and it was just us!!! The lady was super nice and talked to us along the way, using her loud speaker. LOL

We immediately passed the sky ride and I have fond memories of going up there to Paradise back on our last Epic cruise in 2010. Such a beautiful site overlooking the ships. Great opportunities for some awesome pictures.

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Home of the Bushwacker...great drink!

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I kept trying to get pictures of the water down below, when we were on the streets passing areas you could see, but our driver never slowed down enough to get a good picture.

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There always seems to be a lot of wall paintings in the places we go. It must be the "in" thing.

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Take a close look at the wall around this house. All you single ladies put your hands up ♪ is all I could think.

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We pulled out of the port, in our private taxi at 8:20am. We arrived at 8:41am. 21 minutes and we were there. HOWEVER, right before we got there, our driver pulls over on the side of the road and ask if we wanted any ice cold drinks. There were two guys sitting on the side of the road and had coolers full of drinks. They told us $1 each!!!!! HECK YEA! SCORE! Time to get my diet pop on!

 

We all stocked up and the guy was very grateful... and so were we. I thanked the driver for allowing us to stop there and get such a great deal. She let us know that he was an old friend of hers that also use to drive one of the open aired buses and could no longer drive them. So, she likes to help him out when she can. I really appreciated it and she had actually helped us out as well by getting us such a great deal.

 

So, it was a 21 minute drive that INCLUDED a short stop to get pop. Not bad at all.

 

We pulled up to Coki and I immediately remembered this place.

 

Water on one side of the street and beach on the other.

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We let our driver know what time we needed to leave by and she gave us her card and said she would return at that time. Since we now had to be back on the ship at 2pm, factoring in driving time and possible traffic, I believe we told her to return some time around 12:30-1pm. That should give us plenty of time to get ourselves together and the ride back with hopefully a little shopping if needed.

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I knew that Coral World was to the right (if facing toward the beach) and that the Coki Dive Center was over that way. So we headed off in that direction.

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Parking lot at Coral World.

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As we came around the corner, you could see the small dive shop.

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We went and checked in with the dive shop and they got us started on signing papers and gave us an instruction booklet with all the information in there and tons of pages to sign. I felt like I was signing my life away. Yikes! I presented a paper from my physician saying I was "fit" (LOL, using that term loosely) to dive and another paper from Sakari's physician saying she was ok to dive (because of her ears).

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We were signing and signing and signing...and at that point, I was just so excited that I really have no idea what I was signing. Once we were done, we went over to give them the remainder of our payments...then Courtney decided she just couldn't miss out on this opportunity. She wanted to do it as well. They said they could add her, but they would need a third instructor and caught a guy, as he was leaving for the day, and ask if he would mind staying and going out with our group of now 5 adults. The kids had a different instructor, but would be with us for a small portion of the dive. The guy agreed and I joked with him about it only being 9am in the morning and he was already leaving for work. He said he would be returning that evening for a night dive. (So honestly, I have no idea what happened to this guy because he never did go out with us and I don't recall seeing him after this. You could tell he really didn't want to).

 

Since we now had to wait on Courtney to read and sign all of her papers/books, Kolin and I was checking out the area. There were chickens and roosters everywhere.

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The dive shop

The dive shop sits up on a hill with stairs that lead down to the beach. The kids somehow wondered off and I found them down by the water (Billy was already down there setting up our spot for the day). I really hate when Sakari acts like this. She would have never wondered off if Brayden wasn't there. She needs to learn to be a leader and not a follower at times.

 

I can't believe she dropped her mermaid tail and bag on the steps and ran down there. Perfect opportunity for another "Little" to come and snatch it up and fulfill their dream of morphing into a mermaid.

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Then they would have us put our beach bags and things into lockers they had there inside the shop and lock them up. I had brought all of our snorkeling/scuba gear, but they encouraged us to use theirs instead. They really didn't seem to care for my "shortened fins", but after this was all done and over with, I feel that I would have preferred to have had my fins on. But, I did use my own mask. I was concerned about it being new and it fogging up, even though I had done the toothpaste to remove the "newness" film. It still did not have much water time yet. They assured me that they would "fix it up" for me and I wouldn't/shouldn't have any issues.

 

Off we would go to "class"...where Luke said that Sakari would be teaching class to us, since she was the pro and all.

Notice how enthusiastic Sakari is and in the lead always.

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Our classroom

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The "classroom" was over at Coral World. I liked this. I had pictured an actual room, like when Sakari did hers, but this was even better!

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We had 2 other people in our class. This couple was actually staying on the island and was leaving, I believe, the following day to go home. They were in our class, but they would not be diving with us and would have their own instructor.

In class...we learned about all the equipment and what they did and Sakari of course named everything for everyone. We were told from the beginning (and reminded several times) that we needed to hold all questions until the end because somewhere along the class the answer would probably come up. Brayden, put you hand down. No questions yet.

I had wondered what type of BCD vest we would wear because I had seen pictures that looked as if you didn't have one on. I guess it's a little different than what I have seen Sakari wear, but still does the same job. HOWEVER, we were told NOT to mess with the BCD (buoyancy control device which makes you go up of down in the water...basically inflating and deflating your vest) and that only the instructor would be controlling this device. Ugh! More on that later.

 

Brayden, put your hand down. No questions yet.

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They explained how the BCD worked (and that we wouldn't be working it), how to clear your regulator (the part that goes in your mouth and is your life support machine, only without intubation), they told us how we would remove the regulator from our mouths under water and then learn to put it back in and clear the line (Brayden, put your hand down), and then how we would also throw it over our backs and how to retrieve it if it was lost. Then they tell us about...something that I was really dreading, but had been practicing in the pool on the Epic a few days ago...clearing your mask...only in the salt water. Eeeekkk! That was a scary thing for me. Salt water in eyes if you screw up and it just freaked me out.

 

Brayden put your hand down. No questions yet. "I was just stretching" he says

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Along came our personal photographer. He's the guy that goes scuba diving with us and takes pictures. He will take pictures of all of us and put them on their website and you can purchase pictures from there. Now I normally don't purchase pictures taken by others at events like this, HOWEVER... they only charge $35 for ALL the pictures you want. You can have one or 100, it's all the same price. (I would end up purchasing 44 I believe). Now I don't know about you, but I think this is a wonderful deal and hopefully they will keep it at this amount. Much more than that and I think they would lose business. So, I had intended on purchasing them all no matter what.

 

When he came around to our class and was taking pictures, I was taking pictures of him too and told him he needed to be in on the fun. He laughed and made a face for me.

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At the end of class...anyone have any questions? .....cue the silence..... Brayden had nothing. LOL

 

So now we were to take a mini test over the things we learned (from the book and class) and turn those in. Yes, we went over the test, just in case there were any questions or misunderstandings. It was pretty simple and almost common knowledge.

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Here are the pictures they took of us in class:

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Oh look...squirrel, no wait, that's an iguana. I caught him out of the corner of my eye. I didn't mean to disrupt the class, but hey, at least I didn't have a question or my arm up in the air right?

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Ok, so class was officially over and I ran over to see Iggy...

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We headed back to the Coki Dive Center shack to give them our sizes (of shoe we wear) and try out our new equipment we would be using.

 

Of course Kendra thought it was a fashion show:

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Brayden felt the need to rinse his feet...even though he hadn't done anything yet.

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I had told Luke about my concern of using my goggles and fogging, since they were new, and earlier he had assured me that they wouldn't fog once he put the baby shampoo in it. He doctored them up and we would later rinse this out. IT WOULD WORK PERFECT! Never once did I fog up. I couldn't believe it. I'm throwing out my stupid "anti-fog" stuff I purchased in the past online and just mixing me up some baby shampoo!

 

After getting our gear, we headed down the steps to the beach and at an area that they had all the other equipment.

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Then all of a sudden it started to sprinkle. We seen that Billy had set up the chair right next to the scuba area, so he was close by. Once it started to sprinkle, he jumped up to move the chair back under the tree.

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The guys getting all geared up and ready to go.

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The girls were ready too

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And here's a few pictures they took of us... Sakari practicing that equalization and nose blowing to clear your ears things. Nope, still not working.

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I just love this picture!

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I was the last to get geared up. I have to say that I found it weird that they put the tanks and stuff on us up here. I have always seen and been told that they usually take them out to the water to put on, where they can float and you don't have to carry them? I know Sakari's scuba place does this as well.

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Ok...time to roll...Stand up! Oh My Goodness! These things are heavy!!! Wow, I guess I never thought they would be that heavy. Now you want us to do what??? WALK? As in with our feet and legs? To where? All the way down there to the water like 10 feet away? Seriously?

 

Ok, I felt like I was in boot camp now. But we were having some fun with it.

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Kolin's like "What? I got this" and I'm like "I think I need a walker to help me...just something to hang on to before I tilt over please"

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If we, as adults, are having difficulty carrying our tanks, how do you think the "littles" are doing?

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Well, they are doing just fine because they have a helper who carried the tanks on their backs for them. LOL

 

I would like to mention that I WAS able to take my camera with me. I was so happy they allowed this because I assumed (and was told by others) that they probably would not allow this for safety reasons and that I should be focusing on my breathing and skills. But, they had no problem with it and others had their camera's too (like the other couple in class with us had their go-pro and even the selfie stick.

 

Ok, moment of truth...we head out to the water, from the beach, and I get instant relief on my back and legs now that the water has managed to help me carry the air tank. Whew.

 

But now is the moment of truth. How am I going to do with this? I'll admit, I was super nervous. I knew I would be ok as long as we were in shallow water that I could stand up if needed or if I freaked out suddenly. But I just wasn't sure how this was going to play out. I love to snorkel, but I mainly love to snorkel from the shore. I usually don't go too far out or too deep out because there's just something about the water getting colder and bluer that scares me. Of course there's my fear of sharks. Real sharks. Like sharks with mean teeth and red eyes. Sharks that are hungry. Yes, we did an excursion swimming with sharks, but those were nurse sharks and they looked like a ishy squishy cutie rubbery shark that wouldn't hurt a fly. If a shark came within my sight, I would surely have a heart attack on the spot.

 

We were told that our dive would go down 40 feet. Almost everyone in my party said..."oh no, I don't really want to go down further than about 15 feet". What happens if I freak out when I'm down that low? The instructor was pretty good in calming me (us) and said that 99.9% of the people that signal to him that something's wrong, while down in the water, when he ask what's wrong...they don't know and have no explanation. Just a moment of "freak". Then they calm down and keep going. I just knew I was going to be this person. Sigh! Well, honestly, I just knew Courtney was going to be this person that probably had issues with anxiety, swimming, using the equipment and then panicking. But I would be a close second for sure.

 

Everyone went under and I have THIS starring at me telling me everything was good. How could I give up with her doing so well? I mean for heavens sake, she's 8 years old and can do it. I should be able to right?

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Our instructor was letting us all get used to breathing under water with our ventilators...because at this point, that's what it was for me. I felt like I had been transported to another word and was dreaming, possibly in a coma. I wasn't sure. He would go around and check to see if we were doing ok. Kendra pops up out of the water real quick soon after this picture was taken. Ok, not sure what that was about.

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Kolin was doing fine, Kendra is standing up in the water multiple times as shown in this pic. The hubby is...I don't know, admiring his hand?

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I was so worried about being in the water with the kids (when I had originally booked) because we wanted to do this as a family and keep it as a group for so far out in the water (the kids were supposed to go about 10 feet deep)...however, most of the time I completely forgot about them and was focusing on myself and trying to get used to breathing like this. I will admit, it was a little hard and freaky and I honestly wasn't sure I could do this. No really....

 

The instructor for the "littles" seem to always be hanging on to them. I found this odd and not sure why she was always doing this.

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There would be times that Sakari would break away from her grips and come over beside us and demonstrate her abilities. She just amazes me. It would actually help calm me and I would no longer be thinking about myself, but just watching her as if I was just sitting down watching tv.

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So far, so good with Courtney. I tried to make myself feel better and act as if this was as simple as eating cake, only my cake was crumbling quickly and with one bite sometimes the icing no longer holds the cake together...yea, that was me=cake crumbling and falling apart....anyhow, I was checking on Courtney as often as possible to make sure she was doing ok and holding it together. I mean after all, I didn't want her to embarrass us by chickening out and not being able to do the scuba dive (when in reality, I was afraid I was going to be that person and I was just trying to convince myself otherwise).

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Ok hubby, come take a selfie with me so that I can prove that I did indeed do this...at least some of this. Why the heck do I look SO RED in this photo? Another thing I want to bring to your attention is my beard. Seriously it was so funny when I first seen this picture. I thought it was some guy with my hubby. My entire lower face was full of bubbles, which created a shadow on my face, which resembled a beard. I swear to you, I did shave that morning and it's not a beard.

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Kendra was really struggling over there. You see the instructor telling her to look at him? Is she freaking out? Can she not do it? I never in a million years thought Kendra would be the one having the problem. This is supposed to be Courtney that this is happening to. I seen Kendra out of the water more than in the water.

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So the instructor in the picture above, he would be the one that went out with the scuba divers as a second guide, not the original "morning I'm off work now" guy.

 

I'm really struggling myself. I am keeping it under the water, unlike Kendra, but my tank kept falling to the left and pulling me down to the ocean floor. I kept trying to straighten up, but it was super hard to get back up or turned over. I'm a helpless turtle who has been flipped on her back. I've fallen and I can't get up. It had the best of me several times. Then finally something came over me and I got pissed and grabbed my BCD and gave it one heck of a yank from the front and jerked my body and it straightened me up. I was able to get back to my knees and when I felt myself going back to the left, I would yank it again and it worked for me.

 

Then there's the breathing and the taste of my mouth and the dryness of my throat...yea, I'm pretty sure I'm dying at this point. The dry air coupled with the salt water taste was almost unbearable. It made me not want to even inhale. The number one rule of scuba diving???? DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH. I had went over that with Sakari so many times in her class that it was drilled in my head...but it was a hard thing to practice.

 

Then you could hear yourself breathing...which sounded kinda scary to me like some Darth Vader was hovering over me. I kept thinking I was breathing too hard or too fast. I would attempt to adjust my breathing rate and slow it down some, hoping to calm down. Then I would really breathe in, exhale forever, breathe in deep...wait, does this mean I'm using too much air and would run out too quickly? AAAKKKKK! I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm freaking out. I need a breath mint to get this nasty taste out of my mouth. I'm going to end up with a sore throat from this dryness and salt in my mouth. Oh gosh, I can't do this. It's just too much....

 

Then the instructor comes around for us to do our "skills" starting with taking the regulator out of our mouth and putting it back in. Wait, this means even more salt in my mouth because I have to open my mouth back up to put it back in. Darnit! They lined us up for the skills. I was last.

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I watched everyone complete theirs and get a thumbs up. It was now my turn. I inhaled, no wait, I wasn't ready. I needed a bigger breath of dry air...ok, deep inhale...ok....go. I removed the regulator, blew my air bubbles from my mouth, then opened my mouth and put it back in and went "achoo" (which is how they taught us in class instead of purging the regulator with air). Ok....I DID IT.

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Then we had to throw our regulator over our shoulder/out of our site and retrieve it. Ok breath in, no wait, I'm not ready. Try again, no wait...stop, hold up. I need a deeper breath because this might take a little longer to do and wasn't as simple as just removing the regular with it still in your hand. Deep breath, hold breath, no wait, DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH! Ok, I got this. I did it, I retrieved it, I was still alive.

 

(Notice Kendra is still over there struggling and now working with the other instructor with her issues). He has a hold of her arm...are things really that bad? Is she over there panicking? How could I possibly be over here worried about myself when my daughter is over there struggling? But I feel frozen. I can't move. Someone pinch me and make sure I'm still breathing and haven't passed out. Wait, I have to be breathing because there's a huge amount of air bubbles in my face from my regulator.

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Kolin praying to the gods that we don't die or see a shark or go below 15 feet of water, when really he should have been praying for his mother to survive this...since it was my idea and I had gotten them into it.

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Where is my comfort and stability...oh there she is. "Hi mom... peace, I'm good" or was the peace-out nice-knowing-you sign? Notice the instructor still had a hold of them. Wait, is that someone in the water in the background with their jeans and shirt on?? I just noticed that.

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Next up was the water-out-of-the-mask task. Now before we went in the water, I showed the instructor my mask and ask him exactly how do I clear this particular mask since it has a purge valve built into it. He said you normally tilt your head up, hold the top of the mask, then blow out of your nose to clear your mask...however, with mine, I do the opposite. I would tilt my head down, hold the mask and blow and any water would go out of the purge valve. Hmmm. Ok, that can't be too hard right? I did it with ease and it was by far the easiest thing to do. However, I didn't have water in my mask at the time so I wasn't actually sure that it was done right (other than the bubbles coming from the mask, or was that just my regulator?).

 

Kendra was still struggling and getting more one on one instruction, but staying under water a little longer this time. The "littles" were just bouncing around without a care in the world.

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Kolin and Courtney were good so far.

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I had been so nervous and concentrating on my breathing and salty dry throat that I hadn't even noticed all the fish around us. That was the main reason for doing all of this. I was looking at them in an entirely different atmosphere now. It brought some peace to me.

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Since I had suddenly become aware of my surroundings and not my breathing, dry throat, and salty mouth, things got a little better and more peaceful.

 

Once we were done with our skills, we were all just kinda hanging out. I wasn't sure why (my guess it waiting on Kendra).

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Always check how much air you have for safety.

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They gave everyone some dog bones for the fish and I think it helped ease everyone's mind. I did not get any, but I was busy taking pictures.

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Then all of a sudden I see Kendra and I rush to her, well it was rushing in my book but looked more like I was in a slow time warp. She was fine, but holding her mask and nose at times. I wasn't sure what this meant and communicating under water was really not our forté. It was like trying to do sign language to someone who was blind. So foreign to us. But I ask the "ok?" sign and she replied "ok" so I guess whatever issues she had, she was better now and I would have to get the details later because this dive was about to happen! Eeek

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Notice that during this feeding, they were easing us out a little. Look at this picture and you will see that at this point, we are well over our heads and simply couldn't pop up to the surface if we wanted.

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I remember being this guy in the orange shirt once. I was the person at the top of the water, looking down at the scuba divers, and wondering what it was like.

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Then I look around and see that the instructor is a little further out there and he's motioning us to "come here" and pointing at something. Ok, if this is a trick I swear....

 

We went over to a big piece of coral and found this lurking...

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Do you see him? It was a nice sized trumpet fish (not as big as the ones I would see back in St Lucia, but a good sized).

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Ok, he managed to coax us out this far and all is good. Courtney was doing amazing.

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Our instructor kept telling us to come and come we did. We were exploring and looking at the fish all around us. There wasn't much coral to see and mostly a sandy bottom, but there were your normal fish you see on the shore line.

 

Kendra is superwoman. Dun dun dun.

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Ok, still all is good and I'm not even thinking about the breathing part now.

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All of a sudden I sunk. To the sea floor. I couldn't go up. I struggled. What the heck. The instructor was way ahead and swimming and here I was. We were told not to mess with the BCD...I didn't want to disobey. But I wanted up and I wanted up now. How was I going to get his attention? I look up as Courtney is passing over me waving.

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No wait...don't leave me down here. I need hel........pppppp....wait, why did I just go up? Oh, the other instructor was behind me and adjusted my BCD. LOL Weeeeeee

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I think Courtney rarely left my side because I ended up with so many pictures of her beside me. Every time I looked around to snap a picture, she was there. (She does this when we are snorkeling too and if she gets in to trouble, she hangs on to me).

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Then all of a sudden Courtney sunk. LOL HAHAHAHA to you. Now you get to wait for help to arrive.

Hey while you are down there, there's a parrot fish to look at.

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Now we were getting deeper and the water was getting bluer, but for some reason, it didn't bother me. We were starting to see more things and it was more than just a sandy bottom.

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Since I was the one with the camera, that meant that there would be no pictures of me scuba diving. I decided to take a selfie to prove I was there.

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There's that devil fire coral...stay away. I will tell you that several times it really scared me down there, when I was going along the bottom and getting pictures as close as I could, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get away from touching it a few times.

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Now this was getting extremely hard. Like REALLY hard. My legs were wearing out. We were going against the current and I felt like I was kicking to save my life and wasn't getting anywhere. I was wearing down. Panic was starting to come over me. I wasn't sure if I could make it. I wanted to flag down the instructor and tell him "wait a minute, I need to rest", but he was way ahead of me. I seriously felt like I wasn't moving AT ALL. I did not like these fins. I felt like my wide fins would have done a much better job. Oh help me!

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At one point I stopped for a minute to try to rest. I look up and I see the hubby above me. He is holding onto the "safety rope" that one of the instructors is pulling through the water to let those above us know we are down here. I see my husband hanging onto the rope and the instructor is trying to pull him. He's not moving his legs at all. Just hanging on. Wait, I want a free ride too! I could tell this wasn't good. The instructor finally stopped pulling the rope and went up to him. I see him take his leg and extend it out and up to stretch