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Published: April 15th 2014
A Glimmer Realized, An Opportunity Jumped At
Having previously travelled to Honduras via C130 on a whim with my friend David Verde, we flew over some exquisite photo opportunities on the way to visit his family in Tegulcigalpa (the capital) and Palmerola. Sitting in the cockpit with the pilots, I asked about the Earth's artwork that we saw. "Oh, that's Roatan." I had never heard of the tiny little Honduran island, had never even thought about Honduras as a diving destination. Of course, at that point, I had only been diving for about a year, but it sparked an interest and I carried that as a place I'd like to see one day. Who would I take?
Now, add a chance view of a former high school classmate's Facebook page. I see a photo of Ronna diving, with whom I had not spoken for about 15 years. I shot her a message and commented on how cool her photos were. How long has she been diving? What level was she? Where did she like to go? You see where this is going? We reconnect after almost 15 years on a dive trip to Tampa, Florida where we quickly realize
that we are meant to be great travel buddies. We had to meet up again.
A Long Couple Years and Transition, Who Needs Some Relaxation and has Two Thumbs? This girl!
The past two years of being in submarines has been pretty stressful. It’s a stressful job to begin with, but add the politics and public affairs puzzle pieces and it quickly turns into a dramatic affair for even the most patient people. By the way, patience has never been my strong suit.
So, finishing up and preparing to move to Monterey, California for my Master’s program at the Naval Postgraduate School, I figured I was certainly due for a vacation. I had to get through a move first though. I packed up the house prior to my last deployment and planned my cross country trip to a t. Or so I thought… I got extended. I digress, but let’s say that I had to semper gumby a bit, jump through more hoops and had to rely on the kindness of some family to really get me through it. I finally get there, get my stuff moved in right before the
But I need a vacation! Christmas seemed as good as any time before I start classes, and Ronna was a more than willing participant in this madness. I had intended to go to Costa Rica with my Auntie and Uncle, but decided I wanted to do some diving. Check out Anthony's Key (http://www.anthonyskey.com/). An all inclusive dive resort? Perfect. From Cali to Honduras flightwise was about $1000, plus an overnight in Dallas. Upgrade with American Airlines for round trip and let's pack right now. And Here We Are
Three to four dives a day, three meals a day, happy hour, great people and incredible reef system (or arrecife).
The shark dive on day 3 was about 2 miles off the South side of the island with between 12 and 15 Caribbean Reef Sharks. An Italian expat named Sergio and his coworker, Marcos, used a small bin full of dead fish. No blood, just some cleaned fish (ie the skeletons and heads). This of course, draws the sharks in and they gently glide past you to sniff the food. The smallest was about 3 feet and the largest around 6-7 ft. They were incredible, not threatened
or threatening in any way. After a few minutes of swimming around with the sharks and admiring, the divers all go back in front of part of the reef in a sandy area and kneel down while Sergio goes about 15 ft away to drop the open bucket in front of them. Not a frenzy, but they go for the bucket and quickly eat the fish carcasses. After about 40 seconds, the feeding is done and they all go about their business. We found some shark teeth around the bucket, and then it's back to Anthony's Key.
Additionally on day 3, we had our first night dive. I have only done one night dive before, in Hawaii to see the manta rays. Very shallow water, kneel the entire time as the mantas swim past you to eat plankton. Well, I don't know how people don't get lost in the dark, it's really quite impressive. The first 15 minutes or so were not really impressive with limited finds of lobster... then we started finding more crabs and shrimp. I also found an eel. Then we get to a sandy part and turn off all the lights. Nothing happens for a
bit, then I wave my hand in front of my face. Bioluminescence. Oooh, something is about to happen.
Think about the most romantic slow dance you can... imagine pitch black and then strings of little blue orbs begin to glow all around you like a weeping willow has decided to become a live action portion of Avatar. It was the most magical moment I've ever experienced. My Divemaster, Marvin, took Ronna first for a couple of minutes. I wondered where they had disappeared to. Then he took me, swimming through these magical Strings of Pearls. It was surreal, like dancing fairies all around you, each one blinking on and off to some unknown (but mindblowing) romantic soundtrack. Or, here's another description... the galaxy decided to leave the heavens and became a part of the sea. Constellations, lines, or wavy lines, moving slowly around you. I have been on many, many dives. Though only my second night dive, and the first portion wasn't that impressive, the Strings of Pearls made this my favorite dive to date.
What else did this trip inspire in me? Well, I've been looking for a name to call my future dive shop.
There is strength in advertising, but I think there is even more strength in believing in the business that you have. A rose by any other name... no, that doesn't work in this case. At least not for me. Being with Ronna for a week and bonding over the beauty and magic of the ocean and all that creation has there, brought the name Sea Sisters to me. Now gentlemen, don't be upset, it is mostly a man's world in the diving arena. I know. Oh, and I love diving with men. It is a totally different experience going with a girlfriend though, especially one who feels the wonders as strongly as you do. Thanks Ronna, I'm happy to have you as my sea sister.
Tot: 2.209s; Tpl: 0.079s; cc: 15; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0572s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 4;
; mem: 1.4mb