Departure Day

May 18-day 10

Today was an emotional roller coaster. I saw some things that I didn’t want to see and I also reflected a lot on the past 10 days. I am forever grateful that I was able to attend this trip. This was such an amazing experience, and I learned a lot. Scuba diving was incredible, I never thought that I would ever get the chance to scuba dive. It was such a great experience, being underwater was incredible, and I cannot wait to take these skills and dive somewhere else with them. I think that I found a new hobby by coming on this trip. I could definitely scuba dive for the rest of my life. It was really heart warming when Alizee looked at me and said that she knows I’ll be a dive instructor one day. Made me smile that she has that confidence in me. the skills that come along with the certification challenged you, and some of them made me have some fear but as you work through them and become more confident in your abilities they become a piece of cake. Doing the skills is the most challenging part of getting the certification but it is a great feeling when you over come the fears that come with some of the skills!

Another great thing we learned was the culture on the island.  One way we did this was attending the fish fry. Here we got a good sense of commons foods on the island and we also experienced some of the island reggae and other music they listen to. We also saw the island band at the fish fry. This was also a great experience. I also got to see the “real” island, without any hotel development or anything. This was a culture shock almost. They don’t have big fancy houses or much of anything that’s “normal” to have in the states.

Today was a sad day because I was leaving a great island but also leaving a great group friends. We all bonded and became really close. There were lots of laughs and smiles shared between all of us. I am in love with the island, diving, and all the memories we shared together. This will be a trip that I won’t ever forgot. This was a great opportunity and I’m glad to be apart of it.
ITS A GREAT DAY TO BE AN OWL! HOOTY HOO!!!

Check out this video from the class!

Day 9

Today is day 9 ( May 17th) although we depart tomorrow, today was our last day to actually have fun on the island. We were suppose to go kayaking in the mangroves today but it got cancelled because of the weather. I was excited to do this too, so it mad me sad when it got cancelled. Instead we went snorkeling at Smith’s reef. We saw a lot of the fish we have been seeing the last  9 days, but today we got introduced to a Dusky Damsel fish! That was pretty neat. This one Dusky damsel in particular was showing an interesting behavior. It was hanging out around one coral head and it was chasing off every fish that came near the coral. Even if it was a bigger fish. This fish was showing great territorial behavior. Dr. C pointed out that it is probably doing this because there may be eggs that she is protecting. Today we also saw a lot of baby fish, so this part of Smith’s reef is a great nursery ground. We hung out for most of the afternoon, and went to dinner at a restaurant called Mango Reef. This restaurant was lovely!! It was very elegant, the food was awesome, and it was a great place to be for our last dinner on the island.  After dinner when we were at the room it was a great bonding experience. We were all laughing, joking and just simply enjoying each other presence. It was a great day today. I am very sad to say that this trip is coming to an end. The island was beautiful, and I don’t want to leave. 

May 15th

Day 7

Today was my off day of diving. So myself, Will, Jaime, and Melissa got to explore the island today with Dr.Strong. We went to blue hills today, which is how the island really is without all the beatitful hotels. This depressing to see.  We got to see Clement Howell High School. Dr. Strong was telling us that the school use to have a barb wire fence and now it has a regular chain link fence. All the children that go there wear uniforms, and we were passing by as they were all gathering for morning meeting outside. We also saw the soccer and track fields. It was just a flat sand lot that had some rock embedded in it…..which really isn’t safe to play soccer on if the kids fall. We also saw Long Bay High School, this school looked fairly new and like it was in pretty good condition. We also drove by a lot of car washes that were on sand lots…which doesn’t make much sense to do! We also saw Jubba Sound. Which was beautiful. I got a nice picture of it! While we were diving around the island. We saw a lot of the islands vegetation, which was nice to see because it wasn’t just all palm trees. Along our trip we saw a lot of trash on the side of the road. Which was sort of shocking to me. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to throw trash out in the right areas..but it’s obvious a lot of people just throw it on the side of the road. Which is devastating because this island is beautiful. I noticed that there were campaign signs to keep the island clean..because tourist like it clean which is also sad. I’m sure a lot of this island depends on the tourism industry, for an income- but keeping your island clean betters the planet and reduces pollution. In addition to our exploration we also went shopping and saw the pot cakes! I got a fewT-shirts  for the family, that’s all I got for gifts. Going to see the pot cakes was pretty awesome. They are all so cute and playful, they just want all the love. We also got to meet Dr. Strong’s newest addition!! It was a good afternoon, I was very pleased with today. When we got back to the hotel a few of us went snorkeling in Coral Gardens. We saw 3 different sea turtles this time around, which was very cool. We saw a HUGE Queen trigger fish, they are gorgeous. Today I also saw a donkey dung sea cucumber, it was a lot bigger than I imagine they would be. Tonight for dinner we are going to Somewhere which is the restaurant at the hotel. Tomorrow I have my last dive session! This trip is coming to an end quickly and it is sad. We have been so spoiled on this trip. We were blessed with beautiful weather, and great experiences all week.

Here are s me pictures I took today!


This is a picture of Jubba Sound


A picture of one of the pot cakes !


Dr. Strong and his new lucky lady!


A picture of all the islands with Salt Cay located on the bottom right on the sidewalk

The Day I (hay hay) Didn’t float

Day 5

Time: 930am-1230pm

Depth: 60Ft

For dive one, we were at the location tons of sponge. On this dive we did a few of the skills that we had left. These skills included:

  • CESA
  • Hover
  • Compass work (surface and underwater)
  • Fully remove mask and put it back on
  • No reference ascend and descend
  • Diving with a dive computer
  • Planned a dive (second dive of the day)

The CESA skill was a challenge for me, I was so nervous about doing it. My dive instructor reassured me that I could do it, I went into the water, and successfully mastered the skill! Woo! The other skills that we preformed today were not a challenge to me. Which I am surprised about because I hate flooding my mask never mind completely taking it off, but it was a breeze for me to complete. It shows that I have become more comfortable in the water. On dive two  which was at Sand Schute, we executed our own dive with our instructors behind us, this was very interesting to do. Definitely shows you how much you depend on them during a dive. I have had trouble with buoyancy the last couple dives. BUT, today, I was NOT floating away from everyone! YAY!! I am a lot more comfortable in the water today than I have been the past few times I have more confidence in myself in the water! WOO! After all the hard work of both dives today we are officially open water dive certified!! YAY! WOO! This is such a great feeling. Now after all the skill work, we are certified and now can dive anywhere! The dives are so much more enjoyable now that we don’t have to do any skills.  I cant wait to dive again on Tuesday! On These two dives we saw Caribbean reef sharks, that were big! Sharks are such majestic creatures. We also REALLY big french angel fish that was right in front of my face, that was pretty cool!

Tonight we are going to Dr.C and Dr.S’s friend’s house and then we are going to see the the glow worms!! 🙂 I can’t wait!!

9:54pm:

Just got back to the hotel, wow the glow worms were amazing!! It so great seeing something like that, and not many people know glow worms exist. It is very fascinating how this worms sync up with the moon phases. The world works in amazing ways. In the middle of our little excursion, we couldn’t find one of the dogs and we soon found that the dog was laying with a shark fin!!! It was neat to see a shark fin up close and personal. It’s sad because someone must of caught the shark and cut its fin off. None the less it was still neat to see. Tomorrow we are going to sailing! I can’t wait!! 

The shark fin we found. 

May 12th

 

Day 4

Today was a very lax day compared to the previous days we had. We got to sleep in, and hang out for some of the morning. Around 11:30 we snorkeled around coral gardens; we saw a few different fish this morning. We saw a honeycomb cowfish, a lot of blue tang, scrawled filefish, a trunkfish, a smooth trunk fish. Also we saw a lot of yellow tail snappers, queen trigger fish, and many different parrot fish. We also we saw a spotted eagle ray. This animal is just so majestic, they are breathtaking. Then we ventured off to Smith’s reef. Here I saw a trumpet fish, and many of the other listed fish.  I saw a sand diver here too. There was some interesting behavior going on, I saw many different cleaning stations and I also saw a yellow tail snapper feeding. We also did some reef monitoring at Smith’s Reef today. That was fun to do! My partner and I did monitoring for fish. This program looks at very specific fish, we did monitoring on a 10 meter transect. I am interested in doing this again; it is an interesting way to monitoring a reef! Tonight for dinner we are doing a family style dinner and the entrée is tacos!! I love tacos so I can’t wait to eat them!!

 

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The beach area at Smith’s coral reef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 11th

Day 3!

Today we dived in the ocean for our open water certification dives one and two! We got on AquaTCI’s dive boat, got our scuba kits ready, and as we were boating to the spot we got briefed on what skills we would be doing today.

Location:  Eel Garden at North West Point

Time: 9am-2pm

Depth: 40ft

Today underwater we did a few different skills, we half flooded our mask and cleared it and full flooded our mask and clear it. These skills are the ones that I have the most trouble with, I think it’s because its a fear of losing my contacts and the fact that there is water in my mask. It’s a new feeling that makes my nerves uneasy. We also did the skill of using our buddies alternate air source if we don’t have air, and we did an alternate source ascend with a buddy. These skills are the one that I don’t seem to have trouble with! We also did a snorkel regulator exchange, tired divers tow and the finn pivot. These are all skills that I feel like I mastered very well! On the dive we saw some pretty interesting things! We saw a nurse shark and a moray eel underneath a coral head.  There was a flamingo tongue on a coral, those are pretty neat to see in person. We also saw a baby sting ray! This sting ray was very little! We also saw a bunch of garden eels, poking their heads out of the sand beds! Being under water again today was amazing. The feeling of being 40 ft under water, is an incredible feeling. Nothing else matters down there, it just you and the fish. You become one with the fish. its pretty great. Before the second dive we had to swim around the boat for 3 minutes and tread for 10 minutes. That went very well for me. Will, on the other hand, threw up after this and he fish came up to the surface and ate his throw up. This was a feeding behavior. We also saw flying fish jump out of the water, this was a great thing to see! On the second dive of the day, the water seemed much colder. I don’t know if it’s because we warmed up from the sun and jumped back into the water, but I was colder on the second dive. On the second dive, I was weighted perfectly during the dive, but as the cylinder got lighter, so did I and i started floating away. My dive instructor, Alizee had to take a hold of me so I didn’t float to the top. That was quite comical!

 

Later that night, we went to the local fish fry.  This was a fun experience. We all got drinks in coconuts, and ate food, danced and shopped a little. This was a great way to experience the culture here. It got pretty busy towards the end of the festival, more people showed up.  For dinner I ate chicken tenders and mac n cheese. I also tried plantains, those were pretty good! Most of everyone danced for a couple hours. This was so fun! We had a native island boy come up and start dancing with us, this was interesting! I loved it though, he was funny and really enjoyed dancing with all of us. He was about 20 year old. At the end of the festival we saw a band! This was also really fun, it was really interesting to see them, and they were very good too! This was a great way to end a perfect day!


Here are some pictures from today!

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The sun setting!

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The Band at the end of the festival!

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All of us girls who danced the night away!

 

May 10th: Day Two

Today is day 2 and we have our confined water dives today. We did this in the pool! It was fun putting our scuba kits together, and learning all the information that comes with the skills. Today we learned a lot  some of the skills I remember are, taking on and off our mask underwater and then clearing it out, we practiced using our buddies alternate air source, and we ascended making the ahhhh sound, without breathing from the regulator. These were a few of the skills I had a little trouble with, but finally mastered. Swimming with fins on is a new feeling too. It is like you are gliding in the water! These new experiences are so great and I highly appreciate them. I am more hopeful and confident to dive now, than I was yesterday. We did our confined water dive #5 in the ocean!

scuba gear

 

Day 2: May 10th

location:Coral Garden Reef

Time: 2:30pm

On this dive we dived 20 feet. This was our 5th confined water dive, and it was in the ocean. This was a very new and interesting feeling. Your anxiety is high, especially if this is the first time that you have dived. I felt  the nevousness today in the ocean getting ready to dive. When you enter the water everything that has been bothering you vanishes. It is like a sanctuary, so peaceful. Underwater your vision is the best thing you have, all the fish, sea grass, corals, everything is so new, and lovely. The feeling of just breathing under water at 20 feet is incredible. You don’t hear much under water besides your breathing. The biggest issue I had today was my buoyancy, I kept floating, when I should of been “sinking”. The issue was solved by having the instructor add weight to my weight belt, after that I was ready to go. We saw a sea turtle on our dive, this majestic animal was just munching on the turtle grass. This was an amazing animal to see on our first time diving! I saw many fish today eating coral, and I also saw a cleaning goby clean today cleaning a large fish. Cleaning goby’s clean dead skin cells and ectoparasites off of fish! This dive was only about 30 minutes, but I can’t wait to dive tomorrow again too!

 

After this dive we brought all our gear back to our instructor’s truck. The scuba kit is very heavy when your out of water.  After we were all squared away, we got an hour of free time and went to a restaurant on the island called Tiki Hut! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

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