There are places on the planet where you can be totally remote. Alone. Removed. Well, radio waves are pretty much everywhere, but cell and internet signals are not. I just took my third trip to the Revillagigedos Archipelago, to dive and photograph Giant Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, Sharks, Dolphins…and all of the cool smaller stuff. What is it like to be so remote? And where the heck is this place??? And be sure to have Travel Insurance, always!
When you travel to a place this remote, you have to understand that there are no hospitals, no doctors, no chambers if you get decompression sickness. Or a heart attack. Or a stroke. Or anything, really. This is the risk you take in some parts of the world. There is no signal, and it would take at least 24 hours to get back to civilization. I’m not sure if a helicopter would go there, obviously there is no place to land. I always take antibiotics with me, a Z pak for possible strep or sinus infection, Cipro in case my tummy acts up. Oh, and dramamine, which I needed on this last trip. And I always buy travel insurance!
On one hand, I find not having a signal relaxing. Unlike the millennials and younger generations, I do not do everything on my phone. I have had phones stolen and I have lost phones, my kids chide me when I don’t answer but I just do not carry it on me every second of the day. I lose the damn thing in my house! My husband has to call it so I can locate it. It is a relief when I don’t have to worry about missing a text or a call.
Being without internet is sometimes a pain, but as long as I can edit photos I’m happy, and you don’t need the internet for that. Imagine sleeping with no interruptions from your phone. Eating with no texts or calls. And, on the other hand, being very careful. On these trips I am very careful with my depth, my air supply, my limits. The only time I went outside my limits on this trip was when the dolphins came to check us out. Has anyone ever explained to you that dolphins are bastards? They really are. They mesmerize you with their eye contact and take you down deep. I looked at my depth while photographing them and I was way too deep for the gas mix I was using in my tank. 110 feet. For some people that is not very deep, but I try not to go below 100, and I prefer staying above 90 feet. The other thing that dolphins do to merit name calling is hanging out around your zodiac, or panga (a rubber boat used to go to dive sites). They jump, you coo, they come close, and you want to swim with them. So you put on your snorkel and fins, jump in, and the only dolphin you see is one going deep and out of sight. See what I mean? The little bastards. Sigh. But I still love them.
Having a dive buddy is helpful when diving this remotely, with this much current, and the bottomless depths. The big blue is not too far away, and unless your dive master takes you there, you don’t want to go and be separated from your group. The big blue can be really disorienting with no bottom and nothing but blue, blue, blue. I had a fellow photographer for a buddy, and we kept an eye on each other, but photographers never dive right next to their buddy. Sometimes we were close, especially if conditions warranted it, but mostly we kept each other in sight while looking for cool animals to take pictures of. It worked out well.
Going so remote and to locations with endless big blue is not for beginners. There are no beginner dive sites in this Archipelago. I am not a professional, but I have 30 plus years of experience in the water. Sometimes I might be just a little bit too comfortable in the water, but not at these dive sites. You must keep in mind that sites like this can be cold, can have down currents, up currents, strong currents, and surge. Several people got lost this trip, meaning losing their dive group. At that point, you must surface. Not being able to see any other divers is not good. The Revillagigedos is not the place for solo diving.
But I digress! Going remote can be a great experience. I love the privacy and silence from my phone and the internet, but I remind myself often that it is not a place for any kind of accident. I try to be very careful when I go remote!
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