(OK. I'll try to keep this one as short as possible, but it's gonna be really hard! I'm not making any promises).
Up at the crack of dawn. Breakfast was some mangos we had in the refrigerator. Went out with Amigos del Mar for the Blue Hole Dive. We got picked up at at 5:45am (I was NOT awake yet!). That didn't last for long.
Our guides were Alex, Andy and Phillipe. These guys are absolutely great. They made the whole day fun. I was a little nervous. I had gotten certified the weekend before we left for Belize and the only dive we had done so far was the one at Hol Chan. Sebron's been certified for about 15 years but had never gone to the depth of Blue Hole and hadn't been diving for quite a while. Anyway, by 6:30 we had been briefed by Alex and were off.
The seas were still pretty rough. The open water crossings from the reef to Turneffe and Turneffe to Lighthouse were something else. I'm talking 15 - 20 ' swells. This may be nothing to some of you vets out there, but it was definitely an experience for me. Sebron was in Heaven. Good thing I don't get seasick! We were literally airborne at times. Alex is an amazing boat captain. I can't believe how he maneuvered us thru all that. We had Bob Marley blasting on the stereo and were singing at the tops of our lungs. I don't know about anybody else that was with us, but I was singing to keep my mind off the "Perfect Storm" waves I saw on every side. We got a break going around Turneffe Island but then it was onto the second open water crossing. Just before that came, we were joined by a school of dolphins. There must have been at least two dozen of them jumping out of the water around the boat. They were SO beautiful. We stopped for a couple minutes to pet them (they came that close). We were gonna get in the water with them (the water was not that rough yet) but rough enough that the rocking was making a couple of the people a little "green at the gills".
We were at the Blue Hole after about 2 hours. It seemed like an eternity. All that water action sure made us feel how small we actually are. The power of the water alone! The whole group (which were a great bunch of people) was really anxious-vets and beginners alike. I was really nervous by that time. Sebron finally admitted (after the dives, of course), that he had been a little nervous, too. This was a big thing for me. I had gone diving a few years back (resort dive) in the first place to get over my leeriness of water. After that boat ride, I was a little overwhelmed. Yikes! We get briefed and we're in the water. I had mentioned to the DM's that I was inexperienced and they said that one of them would keep close to me to make sure I was OK. I felt better.
What can I say? Most of you who have done the Hole know what I mean. I was at 130 before I knew it (after a couple catch breathes when we went over the ledge). Going over that ledge reminded me of the movie "The Abyss". It was exactly like that. An endless, dark, blue void. You're just suspended there! I actually slipped down to 140 plus without knowing it (it's so easy to do). Don't tell anyone! The formations are amazing. Then came the sharks. Big Caribbean reef sharks. There must have been at least a dozen of them on all sides. I can't believe how fast they are. We see a lot of programs on TV about sharks, but nothing can prepare you. This was the first time for us to see "real" sharks in their own environment. I lost my fear but gained a whole new respect.
Sebron got narced at 130'. He was wondering why his depth gauge wasn't working (it was) and why he wasn't using his own equipment (he doesn't have any). He was motioning underwater talk to a girl he thought was me when the DM waved him to ascend a little. I was cracking up when he told me that. I wasn't affected. Getting back in the boat, Sebron just had to mention the fact that one of the sharks was swimming not even 4 feet below my feet. He said to make sure both my flippers were still there. Funny guy, huh? The dive was amazing, thanks to my great boyfriend and DM's. Chum was thrown in the water after we were all aboard. My respect for sharks went thru the roof, then!!
We all stuffed ourselves with fresh fruit and water and were off to Half Moon Caye wall for our 2nd dive (about 50 - 60'). Granted, neither Sebron nor I have been diving at too many places, but this has to have been one of the prettiest things we've seen. The corals and marine life are in overabundance there. We saw morays, sea turtles, eagle rays, countless varieties of fish. The wall itself looked like a water color painting (no pun intended). We swam under ledges, through tunnels...You're diving along the wall and catch yourself looking down into nothingness. Whew! A couple times I caught myself holding my breath. I was in awe.
Our next stop was Half Moon Caye for lunch (which was wonderful). The island is so pretty! After we ate, we walked over to the bird observatory to see the infamous red-footed booby birds. You hear them everywhere but don't see them until you're to the tops of the trees on the deck. There were hundreds of them! A couple nests were real close to the deck. The babies are so goofy looking. Cute! We rested on the island for about an hour or so and then on to our 3rd dive of the day-Long Caye wall.
Another great dive. On this one, we started the dive way out and dove up the wall so we were able to see some of the bottom dwellers. Once again, we saw so much. Hard to keep track of it all. We were then on our way back to AC. The seas weren't as rough this time. I don't think anyone would've noticed as much. We were all so pumped about the day. If we could've danced to the great music blaring from the speakers, we would have. Thanks for sticking by me at the Hole, Phillipe! Andy, you can wear my shirt any time (C'mon, guys! His was wet and he was chilly and I had an extra!). Alex, we love you (Sebron and I miss you already).
After dinner (vendors, vendors, vendors), Shark's. Everyone on the dive had decided to meet there to celebrate the great trip (like we needed a reason to party!). Alex looked so cute in my headband! Sebron made friends with everyone in the place. I think he still thinks he's a local. Nobody lasted very long that night. We were all, you guessed it, TIRED!! We moseyed back to del Rio. Another beautiful night. Can't remember what lulled us to sleep that night besides the usual. We were too tired. Next, fishing.