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Published: January 1st 2017
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Nice apartment near the beach.
DIVING IN COSTA RICA
There were five of us in Coco Beach where we shared a nice two bedroom apartment. Sarina’s cousin Sandy and her husband Shane got one bedroom. Suzanne, Sarina’s aunt, and I shared the other bedroom and Sarina slept on the couch. It was a little crowded. But we had a nice lanai which gave us a little more space and since Sarina and I were diving in the mornings it worked just fine. We usually did something in the afternoon as a group; a little exploration drive, shopping, or dinner. Sometimes we ate at a restaurant and sometimes Sarina or another family member cooked. We spent one memorable evening in a pizza restaurant playing Crimes against Humanity.
We were close to the beach, but I never went to it. I got in the pool only once to practice a new dive skill. I got all the sun and water I needed on the dive boat.
It took a lot of time each evening to charge the batteries for the camera and strobes (ten) and the dive light, and camera focus light. It took additional time to set up the camera, edit photos and communicate
A great attraction for our non-divers.
with my family. I rarely got to bed early, but still the dawn came early. It was with relief that I sank into the welcoming coolness of the ocean. Nothing to do but look for sea life and snap photos.
The first week Sarina and I dived with Rich Coast Divers in the early a.m., not by choice…I like to sleep in. I imagine the dives are scheduled early due to the hot weather, or maybe the sea is calmer. Anyway, we were at the shop at 7:30 a.m. They are located in Playas del Coco in the province of Guanacaste. We did ten dives plus one night dive in five days. Boat travel time was less than half an hour usually, and the water was favorable, not too choppy and not too much current. Sarina and I were dive buddies and our air consumption was similar. Actually she used less air than me, since I was working to set up the perfect shot and was always a little deeper than the rest of the group who were just cruising five to ten feet above the bottom. Photos are better if you have the subject above you, so I
Look up into blue water occasionally. We often saw rays gliding by.
remain quite low while taking pictures. We took a 45 minute break on the boat between dives and the shop provided fresh fruit, water, and sweet rolls while we rested.
It is still taking me a long time to set up my new camera for the day’s dives. I knew there would be a learning curve, but I didn’t realize how long the curve would be. The first day I put a clean paper towel in the camera housing and took the housing down to the ocean floor, without the camera, to make sure the housing didn’t leak. So I didn’t have a working camera on the first two dives. The second day I took the camera on the first dive and I just couldn’t get it to take a photo…all I got was the menu. Between dives I was explaining this to the young dive master and as she reached to take the camera to examine it, she bumped it and the lens cover fell off. We had a big belly laugh over that. On each of the following dives, the captain, with a smile, reminded me to take off the lens cover. The third dive I finally
The islands are a regular nursery for small puffers.
got to take photos, but I couldn’t get the strobes to flash so only the internal camera flash was working. All the photos were green. The deeper you go underwater the more color you lose; the last to go is the green.
When I got back to the apartment I went on Google and discovered how to make the strobes flash. Then I lost the sync cords which connect the flash to the camera. Luckily I had taken a spare so I at least I could use one strobe. At last I had color. The following day I finally found the other sync cords and could connect both strobes to the camera. My camera and strobes were finally set up correctly and I had enough light for the last three dives.
The water was chilly and the visibility left a lot to be desired. I bought a new neoprene vest with an attached hood to wear under my 3 mil wet suit to add a little more warmth. It did make a difference.
We saw a lot of sting rays, and between dives they leaped from the water like jumping beans. Of course I couldn’t get that
RAY AND SEA STAR
I could not get an identification on this particular ray. But he did get much darker as I continued taking his photo.
photo. The critter we saw the most was the puffer fish. They are adorable. We also saw an abundance of octopuses. They blend in to the surroundings so well it is difficult to see them. I was grateful others usually pointed them out. There were also many moray eels; several different kinds. One day we took a long boat ride to Catalina Island, leaving the shop even earlier…at six thirty. The water was much clearer, making it easier to take good photos.
The second dive day we admired the young Divemaster’s pedicure; she had dive flags painted on her toes. So after our two dives, and lunch, we scheduled pedicures. Sarina’s aunt had never had her nails painted so she joined us. Sarina and I got red nails with the white dive flag stripe on the big toenails, and Suzanne really enjoyed her first manicure, especially the hand massage.
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