View Full Version : New Member of Divers Den


Columbus Reef
06-22-2010, 7:27 PM
:thumbs::yay:My First Dive!:yay::thumbs:

24872

When I was in Belize last week, I made three dives on the Belizian Reef. Just took the resort course, but got to dive to 80ft. Now off to my local dive shop to get started with certification. It was GREAT!

:yay::thumbs: :thumbs::yay:

Assault
06-22-2010, 7:40 PM
grats!!!

purpleGORILLA
06-22-2010, 7:53 PM
Congrates..I am surprised they let you go down to 80ft for an introductory dive without cerfitication.

bdesper311
06-22-2010, 8:02 PM
I promise, getting certified will be one of the best things you can do!!!! Diving is so much fun and you get to see the coolest stuff and meet some amazing people! Congrats

MvM
06-22-2010, 9:18 PM
80' on the first few dives!! Wow!
Glad you're hooked, though.

washowi
06-22-2010, 9:32 PM
alright then!! hope you can help jump start this Den......enough reefing already, DIVE!!!! :) and be one with the fishes...

Sprayin70
06-22-2010, 10:28 PM
Congrats buddy.

Columbus Reef
06-22-2010, 11:13 PM
I was with Patojo's outfit on the north end of San Pedro on Amergris Caye (staying at the family's hotel, The Tides). My quick course was on the pier and in the pool one-on-one with Patojo since no one else showed up that morning. Pretty cool having that kind of attention, but a sign of the economy's heavy toll on tourism, at least in Belize. The two of us then went directly out to the reef, which is a matter of a couple hundred yards off San Pedro, with one of Patojo's daughters to stay on the boat (she said she took a nap while we were down). It took us longer to get through the chop of the passage through the reef than to get out to it.

We used the anchor bouy at San Pedro Canyon and Patojo took me down for the first time. It was like swimming in my tank! The sheer quantity of beautiful things to see was overwhelming, though I think I used nearly half my tank just reacting to my first close encounter with a nurse shark and a spotted eagle ray. I was also facinated to see whole families of Fairy Basslets (I usually call mine by the hobby name Royal Gramma) since I had always read that more than one was ill-advised. We were down for right at 30 minutes and Patojo told me we had gone to 35 feet. (You can't prove depth on any of my dives by me - until the safety stop on the way up from my third dive, I never had the presence of mind to look at my guage.)

That was plenty for that day - I had a nice seafood stew for lunch (stone crab claws, shrimp, squid and a whole snapper) for lunch, a nap and some World Cup, a late supper of conch chowder and a mojito, and a Cubano Cohiba on the porch outside my room as the evening breeze blew and cooled things down.

Patojo had said he expected a group for snorkeling rather than diving Tuesday morning, so I walked down the pier the next morning expecting to content myself with that. When I got there, though, the group they were expecting had made other arrangements. I was pretty bummed until Ralph, a 20-something divemaster that works with Patojo called from the boat he had been prepping asking if I wanted to dive. I jumped at the chance and told him I'd love to do whatever Patojo said I was allowed to do - I assumed he knew that I had had only the resort course.

In a heavier chop than the previous day, we went out to Tackle Box Canyon and hit the water. The highlight on my second-ever dive was the 6-7ft nurse shark with whom Ralph made friends. He brought it over for me to pet and then turned it over so we could stroke his belly. The son-of-a-gun loved it! He kept coming back up and nudging Ralph, wanting more, like a needy little puppy. It got to the point that Ralph had him hugged to his chest belly-to-belly swimming along together until our friend finally had enough, gave a quick wag of his tale and went his own way.

We came back up to the boat, tended by a another of Patojo's crew. Ralph told me that that day was the first of lobster season and explained how as a teenager he made a great deal of money free-diving for lobster on the reef. It is illegal, he said, to take lobster with SCUBA gear on, but in the same breath said he was determined to have lobster for supper on the first day of the season. He asked if I wanted to dive again and I again responded that I was eager to do whatever Patojo said I was allowed. He had some errand to do, so we went back to the pier and agreed to meet a half-hour later.

I spent the break floating in the pool and then joined them on the boat to head back out for my third dive, back to San Pedro Canyon. When Ralph joined me in the water, he brought a tool made with a hook attached to the bottom section of a small fishing rod. He managed to pull out three lobsters with the hook and then dispatch them with a quick hook to the thorax. The antennae make good carry handles, as it turns out. We swam to the base of the canyon and hitched a ride for part of the trip on the back of lager-head turtle.

Once back on the pier with Patojo, tired but as a happy as I can get, I asked how deep we had gone. He said the first dive had been 65ft and the second to 80ft. Again, I had no idea other than what he said, but Patojo snapped his head up when he said that and caught Ralph's eye. I think either Ralph had forgotten just how new I was to this, or had gotten a little disoriented by his gustatory cravings.

I had some fish tacos and a mango mohito for supper and spent a very restful night before getting up the next morning and taking the water taxi back to Belize City to catch my direct Delta flight home. Ah well, I suspect if one spent all one's time in paradise, it wouldn't be paradise! And to think - some of you guys do this stuff all the time!

Corigan
06-23-2010, 1:59 AM
Sounds amazing. I never like it when dive masters mess with the sealife (stroking nurse sharks to sleep). 80ft on a resort dive is a big no-no. :D Glad you are ok, go take the class and have fun. I haven't been to belize in a good 5 years but love that place. Most people are going to rip you apart for riding the turtle. They aren't made to be ridden - respect the reef. Also, if I remember correctly lobstering/spearfishing is prohibited on scuba in belize. I don't even think they can use spearguns if I remember correctly. I hope he wasn't grabbing lobsters on scuba.

Columbus Reef
06-23-2010, 6:43 AM
Yeah, I kinda knew I wasn't supposed to go that deep - just didn't know it 'til we were safely back on the pier. I suspect that was the gist of the withering look that passed between my guide and his boss when he heard it. I never felt unsafe while down, though - probably a combination of having one-on-one attention and being too ignorant to be scared!

I was wondering about the whole interaction with the wildlife thing. At the time, I thought it was telling that the young guy did that sort of thing while his seasoned veteran boss spent all his time signaling me to "look and see."

As for respecting the reef, I was in constant fear a stray fin might damage a piece of something that would cost hundreds of bucks if it were in my 90g at home!

I would say it was the experience of a lifetime, but I am hoping to be able to experience it a lot more.


Sounds amazing. I never like it when dive masters mess with the sealife (stroking nurse sharks to sleep). 80ft on a resort dive is a big no-no. :D Glad you are ok, go take the class and have fun. I haven't been to belize in a good 5 years but love that place. Most people are going to rip you apart for riding the turtle. They aren't made to be ridden - respect the reef. Also, if I remember correctly lobstering/spearfishing is prohibited on scuba in belize. I don't even think they can use spearguns if I remember correctly. I hope he wasn't grabbing lobsters on scuba.