Today was my first dive. It was a completely different experience than I’ve ever had before. I fought terrible seasickness, for one thing. Apparently, the med I am taking for malaria preventative causes seasickness. Must take dramamine. Here is how it goes here with Peri Peri divers: from the dive shop you go down the “stairs of death” to the beach where the boat is being backed into the water by a Tracker. Everyone gets on the sides of the boat and pushes it out (it is a zodiac, but large). The women jump into the boat first, then the men, then you battle the waves to get off of the beach. The water is really pretty calm right now, but it is a bitch to get out of the wave line. Once out of the wave line it is open sea, and it is “yeehaw, ride ‘em cowboy”. I appreciate the zodiac, if it was a hard boat my spine would be in shards. We looked for whale sharks on the way out, no luck, and got to Manta Reef in 30 minutes or so.
I now know the “protocol” for diving here in Tofo. Weight belt first (I was overweighted for the first few dives), fins, tank (they put the tank on me, but holding it up was totally uncomfortable), mask, and negative entry. What is a negative entry? All air out of the BCD, roll back and just keep going. So, I had a few technical difficulties. First, the camera I had set up perfectly was suddenly set completely differently. I think someone opened the housing to look at the camera and in the process shut the flash trigger. So, there I am, at 20 metres, with no flash or strobe. The visibility was poor by Cozumel standards, probably 10 meters or so, 30 feet. The water is full of plankton and huge jellyfish, yes, the jellies from Finding Nemo. BUT. OMG, there is so much on the reef! The fish look like they’ve been on steroids! The trumpetfish are big and fat, I took photos of a scorpionfish twice the size of the scorpionfish on Cozumel. I saw a purple spotted eel, a four legged starfish, and then things started going wrong. I’m diving, checked my air and I had 150 bar. my jacket is overinflated, and I have 50 bar. Obviously, technical problems. So, I basically became completely nervous that I was running very low on air, and I didn’t want everyone to have to come up with me. I popped up without a safety stop, and that is never a good thing. When the dive master asked me why no stop, I said I was shaky from low sugar…not wanting to admit I ran out of air. I paid a price for that later on in the trip.
Waiting for the boat I really felt ill. To get back on the boat the skipper has to pull you up out of the water (or he has to pull me out of the water, most of them are strong enough to get themselves back on the zodiac, dammit, so humiliating). By the end of this trip my shoulders are going to be completely pulled out of joint.
Everyone got back from the dive, and off we went to look for whale sharks again. We found dolphins, and a Giant Manta ray. The manta was absolutely beautiful, just under the top of the water. Of course my camera was put away, but I have plenty of time to photograph mantas (I hope). One of the divers, a woman from Singapore, was very seasick and spent the ride back getting sick and being completely miserable. Tomorrow I dive again, and I must remember to take my Dramamine!
I just finished a game of Uno with the group, they are now playing spoons, of all things! I grew up playing spoons on Christmas Eves on Freeport with my family….they are having a great time with it. I took a video of them playing, I’ll post it in a day or two. They are an enthusiastic crew! Pieter, our young man from the Netherlands, is absent, as usual…he has a girl he is interested in who is at Fatimas, a bar and hotel on the beach. Most of us are here in the house tonight, four of us are diving tomorrow. 630 a.m. comes early.
I enjoyed a nice lunch at Albatross today, it is just a short walk up the hill (everything is up a hill or down a hill here….mostly up). The Mozambiquens are so very nice and polite, they always have a smile on their face. Tonight, Patty from San Francisco fixed a lovely corn and potato chowder, followed by flambe pineapples with rum. Wonderful meal.
I am off to bed, hopefully my dive tomorrow will be wonderful.