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#59854 - 12/08/02 10:02 PM Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
Ms. Coconuts Offline
It was 5:30am when I sleepily stumbled to the end of the pier. (Once again Ambergris Divers didnít have eight divers to go to the Blue Hole so they put me on the Amigos Del Mar boat. At least I tried to get on a smaller boat. I usually get very grumpy on a large dive boat, but ADM divided the divers into two groups and did an excellent job getting us quickly in the water. The DMs, Alex and Philipe did a fantastic job.) As I waited on the pier, the world slowly grew light, but the sunrise was blocked by puffy pink clouds.
The ride out to the Great Blue Hole was a heap fun. The waves were the most enormous waves I had ever seen! The boat bounced up and down until I felt sure it would crack in two. Whenever the boat crashed down into the sea, a fine mist of water splashed into the air over the stern. At the same time, the early morning sun shone through the water droplets creating a perfect little rainbow. All the way to the Great Blue Hole, this tiny rainbow followed the ship. While I watched the rainbow disappear and reappear, I understood that this is truly a magical place.
Before I knew it we were at the Great Blue Hole. I didnít believe it at first because there was ocean all around. One or two rocks jutted out of the sea, but certainly not a surrounding circular wall like you see in the pictures. But when I looked down and saw the deep dark blue of the water, I knew we werenít in the shallows of a coral reef.

The Great Blue Hole 27 minutes, 153 feet

We descended over a shallow sandy bottom, but the massive drop off loomed so large, that the long barracuda, scant corals and other fishes seemed like a childís dream. It was the abrupt drop off into the cold dark waters that dominated the scene. I was scared.
Of course I didnít have a dive buddy, so I stuck close to Alex, the dive master, as we descended along a lifeless dark wall. It was a somber journey down. But a quick journey that past in a blurry haze. At 132 feet the wall curved inward and a monstrous stalactite hung from the ceiling. The stalactites were much larger than I had ever imagined. They were so big that they reminded me of those sculptures found on Easter Island.
As I swam in, out and around the colossal stalactites, I realized this was the most beautiful, wonderful, and inspiring thing I had ever done. The stalactites started swaying in the currents and the fuzzy plantlike growth that covered them started growing at an amazingly fast rate. Immediately, Alex was right next to me asking if I was OK, but it took a moment for me to process the question. I looked at my SPG, plenty of air. Then I looked at my depth and we began to ascend.
There must have been some sort of Caribbean reef shark convention going on because there were reef sharks everywhere! On the edge of murk and visibility, a pair of reef sharks lurked. Visible one second, gone the next. When I looked up, three sharks swaggered in the sunbeams far, so far away, until with lightening speed, they zoomed out of sight. Below me, I glimpsed a sharkís fin vanishing into the darkness.
The safety stop was another extraordinary experience. I was hovering off to the side of the group trying somehow to absorb what had just happened. A slow breath and I rose to around fifteen feet; exhale and I sank down a few feet. It just didnít seem real. Another breath. Suddenly, the guys on the boat began to thrown in dead fish heads and other yucky fish parts and the reef sharks swarmed all around me. If I had been so inclined, which I wasnít, I could have reached out and touched one. Once again, Alex came over and saved me. He took me back to hang on to the anchor line with the rest of the group.

Half Moon Wall 46 minutes, 67 feet

There were several very long tarpon swimming among the canyons. Unfortunately, I couldnít enjoy them because my mask kept fogging up! I let a little water seep in to clear away the fog. By the time I blew the water out of my mask, it would fog up again! At one point, I completely flooded the mask. My eyes were burning. I had inhaled water through my nose and I still had a foggy mask. I finally just left a small amount of water in the mask and continually swished it back and forth to keep the lens clear. I suppose things like this are going to happen if you dive enough and perhaps Iím a better diver for the experience. Nonetheless, I wish it hadnít happened.

Half Moon Caye

After a delicious lunch we walked to the observation tower. We were greeted along the way by softball sized land hermit crabs and also an iguana. I loved walking along the forest path in my barefeet, tripping over exposed roots. But the real excitement was climbing to the top of the tower. Standing on this tower I was immersed the birdís world. Red footed booby birds were nesting not five feet away. Large black frigate birds continually flew overhead. Whenever those frigate birds puffed out their big red necks, I totally cracked up.
Walking along the beach was yet another amazing experience. Since no one is allowed to remove anything from the caye, the seashore is scattered with big shells and gorgeous corals. For a moment, I felt a twinge of loneliness. There are few perfect places in the world. Half Moon Caye is one of them and I wished I had someone to share it with. Too soon, the signal was given for everyone to return to the boat for our last dive of the day.

Eagle Ray Wall into Aquarium 1 hour 3 minutes, 59 feet

Gray Bermuda Chumps and Yellow tail Snappers. Sure I had seen them before. But never, never like this. The moment I sank onto the reef, a Yellow Tail swam up to me. She wasnít curious. She wasnít scared. She was hungry. I didnít have any food, but someone else did. Before I knew it hundreds, thousands of Chumps and Snappers surrounded me. I could see nothing but Chumps and Snappers. I couldnít see the blue water, the reef, the other divers. I could only see gray and yellow bodies zooming around in a frenzied feast. Most of the dive I swam in the middle of this school of fish. They didnít mind I was there. We just swam along, everyone as happy as a mosquito on a tourist.
When the food ran out, the Chumps and Snappers scattered across the water and once again I could see the reef. Queen angels, spotted drums and parrotfish swam about. Philipe, the DM, was very excited as he pointed to a patch of sand. Hummm. Why was he so excited about some sand? I stared and stared. Everyone else had already come, taken pictures and gone. Still I stared. All of a sudden, I saw a long, skinny lizardfish hanging out on the sand! Wow, how did Philipe find that thing?
Then Philipe made the signal I had been hoping and waiting for: hammerhead shark! But look as I might, I never saw any hammerhead shark. What a bummer.

Rainbow out my window

When we returned to the boat, Alex handed out Snicker candy bars. I donít think I had ever tasted anything so scrumptious.
Then the boat started bouncing up and down in the waves. I donít think I stop smiling when the boat crashes up and down like that. Itís so much fun!
I stared out the window at the blue ocean waves, when what should appear, but a rainbow. Every time the boat crashed down, sending mist into the air, the evening sun made another rainbow. I was transfixed by the waves, the rainbow, the boatís constant motion. Slowly, something changed. For once, I was a part of natureís harmony. It was like I understood something, which I have for so long struggled to know. But words simply cannot describe the moment.
We approached San Pedro just in time to witness the big orange sun drop behind long whips of clouds and then disappear over the horizon.

That evening I had dinner with a couple that I had met on the boat. Holiday House was having their weekly Wednesday night BBQ on the beach. Excellent food. We ended up at Fidoís, of course. But I was distracted and soon left to wonder down the beach. I ended up laying on the pier in front of Rubyís staring at the shinning, sparking stars. There was not a cloud in the sky and the brilliant light of the stars pounded through my body.
My mind kept returning to that rainbow, that feeling. Never before had I experienced such a powerful spiritual sensation. It truly bothered me that I could not explain what it was. That I could not attach words to it. It was so intangible, that I was afraid to the depths of my soul that I might forget it.

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#59855 - 12/08/02 10:17 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
Mexicana Offline
Ms. Coconuts,
Once again your description is amazing!! Was your trip all solo or just the Blue Hole?? Did you take any pictures?? That would be the icing on the cake!!

Thanks again!
Mexicana wink

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#59856 - 12/08/02 10:19 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
Ms. Coconuts Offline
Perhaps some of you more experienced divers can offer some advise on this mask fogging episode. Why did this happen? Is there something else i should have done? This is my second mask and I just can't seem to find one i like. A friend said it fogged up because it was too loose. Does this happen? I did have it loose besause otherwise it made a big mark on my forehead that hurt. Any comments are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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#59857 - 12/08/02 10:27 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
Ms. Coconuts Offline
Hi Mexicana! Yeah, the entire trip was a solo one. I like traveling by myself because i meet such interesting people from all over. I have traveled also to Cozumel alone and i must tell you i felt a lot safer in San Pedro.

I got some good shots of my trip. No people shots only pics of the town and animals. Got a great one of my stingray boyfriend. However, i don't have any way to get them on my computer. frown

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#59858 - 12/08/02 10:35 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
Mexicana Offline
Ms. Coconuts, You are a girl after my own heart!! I have made some solo trips and found them very gratifying..so hearing your experience to AC was good since I have been thinking of going alone next time. As for the mask fog problem, the one product I found to help is a little dish soap...just rub on the mask lens prior to your dive only rinse lightly. but I would like to hear what others try??
Mexicana wink

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#59859 - 12/08/02 10:54 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
seashell Offline
Awesome report Ms. C. I'm right there with you. I particularly enjoyed your description of the Hole. That was very similar to my first experience. It's kind of spiritual for me even now and each time I descend into it, I see more than the time before.

Considering the wave conditions that you described that day, I'd say you were quite lucky to be on the big boat. I've been out on Amigo's smaller boat before they got the cruiser and the cruiser is a significantly more pleasant trip.

As for your mask fogging up, I use spit, my own spit. You have to really goop it on there and smear it all about and then a seawater rinse. It coats the lense so that it doesn't fog. There are special products that you can buy that some people swear by, however, I don't care for them. Others use a drop or two of baby shampoo, it doesn't sting the eyes while other soaps will.

Even after all this time, I occasionally don't do it well enough and get a foggy mask. I handle it the same way you did. C'est la vie.

When you described how you felt on Halfmoon Caye, that also called to me. I have always been alone when I go on that daytrip. Even when I've had people take the walk with me, it is a distinctly solitary experience, watching the rays and the little box fish in the shallows weaving in and out of the turtle grass. Next time you go, turn right when you leave the bird sanctuary trail and that path takes you over to the wilder side of the island. Now that's "alone"!!

Actually, I've almost felt like you've been describing my first couple of trips to Ambergris. I used to go and sit out or lay on the end of a dock every night before I went to bed too. Aside from the blanket of stars, one night I thought I saw a UFO. wink
_________________________
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?


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#59860 - 12/08/02 10:54 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
mossback Offline
So, you wanted to go in a SMALLER boat? Hmmm...

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#59861 - 12/08/02 11:27 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
skullyboy Offline
Ohh Ms. Coconuts... I think all of us are right there with you on your trip reports. As for the mask fog I usually do as seashell a little spit and just learn to deal with it. Waiting patiently for your next chapter

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#59862 - 12/08/02 11:32 PM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
Ms. Coconuts Offline
Seashell,

So it's important that its a SEAWATER rinse after you spit in your mask? That would explain why it fogged only during this trip because i just rinsed in the big bucket where everyone's masks were stored. Every other time i used seawater.

Mexicana- where have you solo traveled? I'm always looking for new places to go!

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#59863 - 12/09/02 03:29 AM Re: Rainbow Out My Window (Day Six)
jkdiver Offline
Ms. C. I also travel solo and Fiji was AMAZING. I was just a comfortable there as I was on AC.

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