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This guy is the culprit. He suspended himself way out there with nothing below him. She seen him, she wanted him. He was luring her in...just like when the Anglerfish lured Dori and Nemo in. She was under his spell. Yes, I watch too many kid movies and obviously I read a lot into them...they seem to know my life before it happens...especially at this moment.

But once she got out there, he would return in. He was going to make her work for it. When I seen him come back to the "wall", I knew she'd turn around and I was relieved.


But she did not return before some pictures of all the fish swarming her...

And here it is...the huge trumpet fish. I guess since she passed the test, he allowed her to get this close to him. Actually, if you have noticed, a lot of Sakari's pictures...she is really close to the fish. I guess they "just know" that she loves them and won't hurt them.

She had the most excited look on her face. She looked at me and I signaled her to come back up and I could see the joy in her face for what she had just accomplished and how close she was to it. I can bet she seen the joy in my face...only for an entirely different reason.


At this point, I just wanted to surface and walk back to the beach...only you don't have this option in the water. I needed to recover from this experience. Although it didn't seem to be a big deal to anyone but me. I need to get over this...somehow.

I would need to focus on more pictures.

Ok, can we just keep her away from the wall please? I'm so ready to turn back now. I'm still fogging up and clearing my mask every 5 minutes, if not sooner, I still gotta pee, and my heart keeps skipping a beat watching her.

At one point our instructor stopped. But Sakari was in the lead and she didn't notice that he had stopped. She was so busy taking pictures and taking everything in that she just kept going...and going...and going. He pulled out his little ticker and started banging away. I heard it, hubby heard it, she did not. He continued and continued and she was so engulfed in what she was doing that it didn't phase her at all. He's behind me, I'm in the middle...are you going to go after her? Should I go after her? What do we do? She's not stopping!!!


All of a sudden I seen something come from above. It was a free diver...the one's with the super huge fins that hold their breath for a long time. There were two of them up at the top and he dove way down and tapped her on the shoulder and pointed our way. She turned around and headed back and he gave the ok signal. I was really glad he happened to be there and did that.

We turned around and headed back.

Daddy trying to capture Sakari below and her bubbles rising.

I was never so glad to see that Tug Boat again. I felt like we were at least half way back.

After this second trip at the Tug Boat, we moved on and headed back.

About this time...I noticed something was wrong with Sakari. She darted up to the surface and the instructor zoomed up after her.


What could have possibly went wrong? She's my fearless little diver. Oh geesh, there goes my heart again. He was at the surface and holding her.


I had no idea what was going on. I had been keeping my eye on her as much as I could and I looked away for a minute to snap a few pictures and this is what I looked back to.

I came up to see what was going on and the instructor was up there holding on to her and she was crying. I kept asking her what was wrong...she was holding her leg...she had bumped up against some fire coral and she was stung. This is not her first run in with fire coral. This happened in Cozumel as well...only it wasn't her fault that time. There had been some storms that rolled in the night before we went to Passion Island and the water was so stirred up there and you couldn't even see in the water and after getting stung, the staff told us about the fire coral and pieces broke off in the water.

The instructor said he could pull her back to the shore if she wanted. Honestly, it was quite a swim back. We hadn't even made it around the turn and then after the turn, we still had to go down and around the barge. She cried, which turned into a whimper, which finally stopped, and he explained to her that he would be happy to pull her all the way back, on top of the water, or she could swim and he would stay right with her. He also explained that with the waves being a bit rough at the top, it would be easier to swim (scuba) back because you wouldn't feel the waves. She looked at me for guidance and I told her to please try to swim. I knew she was in pain. I know what it was like last time it happened.

She was a trooper and decided she could swim back. She gathered her composure, put her regulator back in, and down she went. She swam, kicking with only one leg and babying the other. It reminded me of a jellyfish...or maybe a one legged frog. But she was doing it.

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After awhile, she started using the hurt leg. Then before long, she was back to taking pictures again. All was good at this point.

I was just looking back at all of her pictures and checking the time stamp on them at the time it happened. This was the last picture she took when she got stung. My guess is that she took this picture and she was probably going in for a close up of the Christmas tree worms and brushed up against the fire coral. There was a pause in her pictures for about 6 minutes and she resumed taking pictures.

I checked to make sure she was ok...and she was still using her bad leg. She gave me the "kinda, something is wrong signal" (which of course I knew...the pain) and then the thumbs up (meaning ok and she's going on).

There is one thing that I thought of AFTER the fact...I'm always checking my air during the dive (both this time and last)...however, I never really paid attention to the other gauge, which is the depth gauge. Had I thought about it, I would have seen what it said when we were down so far at the wall and drop off. I did take this picture at some point on the way back. According to this, we were down at 10' at the time I took this. However, my hubby took the exact same picture at some point during the dive as well and he was under...not at the top or anything...and his said 0. So, we knew that was wrong. I'm definitely going to pay more attention to this from now on because I would really like to know how deep we were when we were out there.

I remember hearing the sounds of them working on the barge and in the water. It got dark around that area and the banging and clanging sounds meant we were headed to the beach area and would be there soon.

Almost at the end of the dive...and I manage to pull off this picture...a macro ON THE UNDERWATER SETTING!! Really? At the end of the dive? I NOW find the right setting!

So all of a sudden we seen this...


I've never been under a pier like this. I have always stayed away from pier areas when snorkeling because they are just eery to me and I know things can hide under there, like barracuda...although not a bad thing and we've swam around barracuda's plenty of times and they are curious creatures, but's just a weird "look".


I approached with was a little dark. I didn't see much under there, as far as fish, but there was some coral attached to the piers and some of the ocean floor.


I also knew that there were pictures posted of sea horses in this area by Hans. I had hoped to see something under here, since our instructor didn't find us a sea horse during the rest of the dive.


Doesn't this look like something out of a scary movie?


Our instructor went on down the pier and I kind of stuck to the area we went in at. I still felt a little weirded out by it.


Looking into the's kinda scary.

Our instructor went on down the pier and I kind of stuck to the area we went in at. I still felt a little weirded out by it.

The one thing I found interesting about this area with very little fish is that there was some very colorful coral on the bottom. Not much, but a few very brilliant colors.


I guess I instantly forgot that underwater macro setting on my camera once again.


I found a very colorful and florescent looking orange coral. Man it was beautiful!


Then I found an odd yellow coral with something in was a clam!

It wasn't long before I notuced Sakari was up at the top of the water again...but this time with daddy. I went up to investigate and found that she was complaining about her leg again and it burning. She wanted to head back. We were right around the corner from the beach area and we all decided it was time to get her back and get some vinegar on her leg to stop the burning.

Once we made it to shore, the instructor told me that I could remove my tank and he would carry it back for me. Thank goodness because I'm not so sure I could have made it out carrying that thing.


Now remember, I REALLY had to pee. Like really. I don't remember having to go this bad since I was pregnant and got stopped in traffic for over an hour trying to go to the zoo here at home. I kept telling the hubby I had to go...he kept saying...then go! I told him I had my wet suit on and I needed to get it off LIKE NOW! I was struggling. I have never had so many issues getting "undressed" as I did then. I was doing a dance. I was almost in tears. I wasn't sure I was going to make it. My stomach seriously hurt! I yelled "pull! pull! help me out!" Finally I was free of the wet suit and I watered the fish. The funny thing is, right before this cruise, there was an article posted on a social media scuba diving page I'm on and it was titled "Do you pee in your wetsuit". I read all the comments and everyone was talking about "how" this worked and laughing about coming up to shore and watching people peel away their wetsuit and it being "wet" inside from peeing. Others stated they liked the warmth. Others said it was gross and that you should never ever do this and how unsanitary it is...especially if it's a rental. Of course those that stated they had NEVER peed in their wet suit was ridiculed and told that EVERYONE had done it at least once while diving and they were lying if they said they hadn't. It was kinda funny to read all the comments...but for some reason, that kept going over in my head. Over and over...and I was going to be one of those that could actually say "I haven't". LOL


We made it back to the truck and was putting everything into the back. I decided to head over to the pier and get some above water pictures.  The section we were under was not so scary looking from up at the top right? When someone is up here, and looking at the pier, you would just never think that it would look the way it does in my pictures. Just so eery under there.

It was now 12:33pm and we were in the truck and headed back to the "office".

Immediately Ro went and got Sakari some vinegar for her leg. She said she felt relief from the burning after that.

It does not look half as bad as the last time she was stung. The last time she had whelps. This was a little red and swollen, but not bad by any means. Maybe it was because so much time had passed and it had a chance to go down some?

I had made the comment that I wanted Ro to fill out our dive books. He said "oh yea, I can do that" and he took them with him to the "office". I also ask him if they have the "Bubblemakers" certificate like she received in St Thomas. He didn't really seem to know much about this and said he would have to check.

Meanwhile, I decided I would take more pictures of the place.


Remember me hearing the "splash of the bolder" sound when we first arrived here in the morning? Then Ro telling us the only pets they had there were some barracudas? Well, we found them.  He went off to get them some "food" and I took more pictures while we waited.


Also, when we returned, he filled the blue bucket up in this picture, to rinse everything off. He also filled a container up as well, which I didn't see him do.  After awhile, he said "if you want to rinse off in clean fresh water, it should be warm enough now". So I went over and started using the huge blue bucket, thinking that's what he was meaning. He started laughing at me and said "no, this container I just filled with water and sat in the sun. That's what you rinse off with" I think my face turned 3 shades of red and I, of course, played it off and said "Oh, I know, I'm just rinsing my camera's off"

All of a sudden Sakari screamed with excitement and told me to "COME LOOK!!!"

She seen one of the biggest Lobsters I have ever seen. This thing was HUGE and the pictures don't do it justice. Like I have never seen one this big even in tanks where you eat. LOL


Also, several barracuda's came out to feed. These were humongous as well. Also some of the biggest I have ever seen before. I really wish you could tell from the pictures just how big they are.


Ro would give Sakari some "fish food" and she was feeding them. They were going after the food and she learned that if she threw it away from them, they would swim really fast down there and jump out of the water to get it making a really huge splash.

Our limo for that day...And all of our equipment

Sakari off taking pictures of the lizards......that she managed to catch again. This would be like the third time she managed to catch a lizard this cruise. I'm going to start calling her the lizard whisperer.

I found that the women's door would not shut and stay shut no matter what I did. There was a man standing outside of it, which I thought was weird, so I decided to try the men's restroom out. At least it shut and hey, I've been known to go in the men's restroom many times if I don't feel like waiting on the woman's or it's out of order. I'm not picky. I don't sit on the seat anyhow.

Remember all the shells that Sakari liked that they had lined up along the deck? Well, she kept bringing them over to me and asking if she could have one. I told her that the ship would take it (many reports of this happening with Carnival lately and especially at Grand Turk). She begged and begged and eventually I gave in and she grabbed a fairly small one (about the size of her fist). I told her that if they took it from her at the ship when we got on, I was going to play dumb and act like I didn't know she had put it in there and she was not going to put up a fight about it. She agreed.

Then she brought over 2 small conch shells to pick from. She turned one of them had a crab in it! Well, I guess that made the decision easy.


So, here we go.

Everyone wants to know why I was hesitant to post this part of the review as it happened and I'll tell you why...for several reasons.

This day was amazing, exciting, thrilling, scary, some mishaps, and some things that shouldn't happened.

First of all, I didn't want to post about the "depth" and having Sakari down that far. She is not allowed down that far. In the US, she is allowed at her dive shop to go down 12 feet. I have found in the Caribbean, they only allow her to go down 6 feet. I'm not sure if that's just the rules down there OR if it's the rules for maybe ocean water. She definitely was not "within guidelines" and I'm honestly not exactly sure how far down she went. IF I had to guess, the wall and drop off had to have been a good 30 feet.

So, I don't want to get anyone into trouble (the dive shop or the instructor). I'm pretty sure that had we dove with the owner, Hans, this day would have never happened...he made that clear. But also, I'm pretty sure we were supposed to have 2 for us and going deeper and one for Sakari to keep her at 6'. I'm not sure, but I imagine that we only ended up with 1 instructor because we were only a party of 3 and Hans was off on another "actual open water boat dive" that day.


I know what we did. I know we were out far. I KNOW it was not no 6' or even 12' of water Sakari was in. We've done this before in St Thomas and I seen how deep we were that time and it was 35'. Don't tell me that we only went 12' because you are not fooling me. (This is what he would write on our dive log). I kept saying "no way" and he would say "yep, that's it, just 12 feet". Now I KNOW the reason he would do this is because I'm pretty sure he would get into trouble. I don't know if it would be by the dive shop or PADI or what. But I believe this was his fear. So, my reluctance to post anything about it, but I just had to share the pictures and her accomplishments this time around. She has struggled for awhile with her ears and this was a milestone for her..especially that deep.

This would be our dive log that was given to us.

It also states that we dove for 70 minutes. I'm honestly not sure "how" they calculate the time. Is it when you first go under and start the journey? Or arrive at the first spot? Or from the beginning to the last spot and not include swimming back to the beach? Because I took a picture of my watch when we started at 11:04 and took a picture of my watch when we ended and came up from the water at the beach, which was 12:24pm. So that's actually 84 minutes...or 1 hour and 24 minutes total. He said and wrote 70 minutes. So I have no clue how this works or is calculated.

Of course on Sakari's dive log, there's no mention of a depth or time. I'm not sure why the kids have logs in their books that look like this with no info on it.

Now, I know that she shouldn't have been down that deep. I know that it takes children longer to develop their lungs and the skills needed to scuba dive. I know she has had issues in the past. But I also know that she knows her limit and will come up if she has problems. She is definitely more qualified than we are down there and I think she handles herself well for the most part.


But I'm sure that these rules were put in place for a reason...and they were broken on this day for some reason as well. Do I blame the dive shop? Partially. They know better and should not have taken her out that far. They also should have had another instructor with us assigned especially for Sakari. This would have eliminated her "running off" and having to be told to come back by another diver at one point. They also failed to have us do our "skills" when we first got in the water. When we were back at the office and going over the "book" in class, he did say we would do these skills prior to our dive. It did not happen. That was his fault, but yet...still mine because I didn't speak up and say anything about not doing it at the time. But honestly, I thought he was just going to take us out a little bit, where it was a sandy bottom, to do them. I had no clue that we would be continuing on.


Do I blame myself? Partially. Like I've said before, I'm on several diving social media sites. I read A LOT of the articles and information on there. There are many articles that are published about the do's and don't of diving and how people "get into trouble". I know that they express how important it is to not do something you are not comfortable with. I was not comfortable when we first started and didn't have enough time to accommodate myself with the breathing in the beginning and panicked. Although I did express my feelings when I panicked, I didn't speak up and say "I'm just not comfortable yet". I did mention "I'm sorry, it just takes me awhile to get used to the breathing and I'm having other issues with mask fogging and not being able to regulate my buoyancy as well".


One of the rules is to never do something just because someone else is and never leave someone behind. There's a buddy system in place for a reason (many of these article's are about someone not wanting to go into an area or ship wreck and waiting outside for the other to go in alone instead of abandoning the dive for both of them). I should have spoke up about things, but I didn't. I continued on with everyone else no matter my comfort level at the time.


Did I panic for no reason when Sakari went into the drop off and wall? Maybe. Maybe not. He had his eye on her...but he didn't signal her back or go close to her. She was not within reach. That is what really scared me I believe.


I'm sure there's other things I had intended on saying, but those were the main things. Something might jog my memory later, but that was the jist of it.

I am VERY grateful that this day took place. It was an amazing experience, even with the few mishaps from the day and even though I almost gave myself a heart attack. I'm pretty sure we probably won't be able to experience this again, as a family, for at least another year when she turns 10 and can actually "legally" do this with us. Also by then, she'll have a lot more experience behind her...and we will too hopefully. I know on the next dive, she will probably be very disappointed when they don't allow her to go out and as deep with us like she did this time. It will be a struggle. She thinks she's grown and a big girl and can do everything an adult can do. I'll have a sad little diver on my hands the next round I'm sure.


I plan on continuing to try DSD when cruising, but I'm taking it slowly and learning more and more each time. Hopefully I'll get a little more used to the breathing and learn to calm down more. I feel this dive was a little more intimidating than our last. Will I ever really get my diving license? Only time will tell. I'm honestly not sure at this point. I may just be happy with the DSD from now on. But, I'm well aware that I need more practice and more time in the water. This will happen!

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