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Published: July 17th 2011
The first site I dove on Roatan was Mary’s Place which is renowned for a crack in the reef wall large enough to swim through (max depth 85ft). Many of the typical reef fish were spotted and the most significant find were a couple of seahorses, so nothing majorly exciting, but the scenery was great. It had been a hot minute since I last dove (over a year) so I spent most of the dive getting reoriented with achieving neutral buoyancy and trying to relax. Diving is a lot like riding a bike, it’s easy to pick up again. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the water is the perfect temperature for trunkin it at 86F and the visibility is perfect, virtually unlimited. I also felt safe because besides the dive master, the other divers were very competent and even teach scuba at home. Halfway through the dive my buddy noticed a decent air leak coming from one of my regulator hoses (something that could be potentially dangerous and generally not good). When I checked my air gauge and hers they were comparable which meant I wasn’t losing air at a fast rate so I decided to complete the dive. I
kept an eye on the gauge, but it was annoying to have it in the back of my mind for the next 30mins. Thankfully I’m good at calming myself down so I was able to enjoy the rest of the dive. I find out later from a couple of the other divers that they were apparently way more worried about my air leak issue than I was. I guess they were just hovering about watching closely to see if I would spontaneously combust underwater or something gnarly like that, while I’m just sitting there chillin, no worries.
The second dive of the day is known as Doc’s Dive, where you can scuba through a couple of chimneys (tall holes) in the reef. Not recommended for the claustrophobic. As I swam up the chimney, the exhaled bubbles from the divers below rushed up around me and pleasantly tickled my bare skin, it was an amazing sensation. This dive produced more significant sightings such as a green, grumpy moray eel, a juvenile hawksbill turtle (yay for target species!), three lionfish (exotic invasive), magical cuttlefish, a big, tasty looking snapper, and two tastier looking spiny lobsters.
My buddy Noel got to try her
new underwater camera housing with stunning results (all the photos posted are taken by her). We also met with her thesis advisor to discuss the methods we will use to tag the turtles for Noel’s grad research of which I am here assisting with. We are excited to get the ball rolling on this project.
While at Mary’s Place, looking up from 85ft and seeing the light filter down through the crack in the reef, I had a this-is-so-beautiful-I-could-cry moment. I thought to myself, can one even cry underwater? If you can’t see or feel tears, would it even count? Bottom line, I felt incredibly lucky to be then and there under the sea in Roatan and excited that this would be the first of many amazing experiences to come over the next few weeks.
The sun may have set on this incredible day, but it was not even nearly over. A few of the divers we had befriended were flying out the following day so we all decided to celebrate. Many cervezas later we found ourselves wildly flinging our clothing asunder and proceeded to execute epic cannonballs and back flops off the floating dock into the moonlit waters of
the Caribbean. I was laughing so hard I nearly choked to death on saltwater. After having our fill of skinny dipping I grabbed my soap and took a luxurious outdoor shower. We then sat together and watched the sun rise over the island. This memory will definitely be a highlight of the trip. It’s true what they say about the local monkeys and their pension to steal people’s clothes …
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