So it’s been a few days since I posted – mainly because I’ve been having a ridiculously awesome time. During that time I have been lucky enough to have some of the most entertaining and challenging experiences of my life.
After getting scuba certified with Frenchie’s, a dive shop 1/2 block from our cabana, I scheduled a dive to the Blue Hole, which is recommended only for divers that have done 10-12 dives after their certification. I ignored this safety measure, assured my wife it was going to be just fine, and booked myself on the very next trip: Thursday. (Clearly) the safety measure does not apply to me because I have discovered during my certification dives that I’m not prone to anxiety that would cause me to ascend at unsafe rates which is what panicked divers tend to do. I also don’t feel any of the effects of Nitrogen Narcosis (unfortunately) which can cause “foolish behavior” and highs similar to “whip-its” and laughing gas due to your body absorbing the dense nitrogen from the depth-pressurized breathing air at 130ft. The dive masters have said they have seen many a case of Nitrogen Narcosis where the diver takes the regulator (breathing apparatus) out of their mouth and attempts to give it to the fish in a brief bout of hallucination. Interesting…
The Blue Hole trip was a 3 tank adventure. 3 dives, 3 different sites, 2 hours away. After having my ass pounded by the unpadded boat seats on our 2 hour ride out there, we backrolled into the water and immediately descended to 130ft. You have to equalize your ears quickly as you sink to depth, and this is the most challenging part of the dive. You only get 8 minutes at 130ft in a No Decompression dive so you have to get to depth quickly. Once you are there, the fun starts.
The Blue Hole is a limestone sinkhole in the middle of the ocean. Belize and the surrounding areas are land masses atop an ancient cave system which make for interesting geology at depth. When you are descending, the color wheel goes away and blue and dark blue are the only remaining colors, and it gets very quiet. All you can hear is your own Darth-Vader breaths and whatever movie soundtrack your consciousness creates. It has a very eerie feel as you approach GIANT stalactite and stalagmite underwater, 60-100ft in length. You slalom swim around the stalactites and just observe the creepiness of the ancient, underwater surroundings. No fish or coral to see here, just creepy-ass rock and darkness – it had a very surreal and otherworldly feel to it.
The other 2 dives were pretty amazing but more traditional. 40-50 meters of visibility near 30-40 feet and the scrolling coral landscape burned images into my retinas that I could see at night on the back of my eyelids when I was trying to fall asleep. Sharks, giant sea turtles, octopus(es?), crabs, lobsters, color changing fish and more. Ridiculous Awesomeness.
Friday I took to the next challenge: wind
falling surfing lessons. It took me an hour to figure out the basic mechanisms of tacking and turning, and the next hour I found myself doing pretty well in one direction and piss-poorly in the other. A few more hours and I think I will be able to say I can wind surf. I’m currently classified as a Wind Faller.
Yesterday, Saturday, (but who really cares what day of the week it is – Ridiculous Awesomeness) we rented a sail boat with our fellow cabana mates Rob, Andrew, and Lynn, hired a small crew which included a chef, and hit the open seas for some snorkeling. It was a 5 hour tour. A 5 hour tour. Seema really impressed me as she jumped into shark-filled waters and even touched stingrays and reef sharks that were being caught by the fin by our tour guide. The visibility was amazing again, and we saw about every sea creature that you could wish to summon. We enjoyed a happy hour on our way back from Shark Ray Alley and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve that included some fresh made conch ceviche sourced from our last dive, and upon returning spent the rest of the day recovering from the 5 hours of sun.
Life won’t always be this amazing, but when it is, I’m more than happy to recognize Ridiculous Awesomeness.
post image: Left to right: Michelle, Henry (instructor), Tina (Seema’s replacement), and Tyler. My PADI Certification class.