Belize Wedding Day 10: Unda-da-sea

As is ever the case with diving days, it starts early. We had signed up to do 2 boat dives in the morning and we’d see how we felt about doing a 3rd dive in the afternoon. Being punctual people, we were at the dive shop before we needed to be by a bit, and it being island time we were sitting around even longer. The others had an early start too mostly.

Pam and Chuck had scheduled an adventure of their own, to go swimming with dolphins. I had originally felt privately a bit unhappy with the idea of a dolphin petting zoo after watching Black Fish, but after yesterday’s experiencing and thinking on how we often domesticate animals as humans, I came to the conclusion it’s really a case by case basis. They seemed well taken care of and Pam had a blast!

Sara spent most of her morning walking around town enjoying a relaxed island pace.

We really liked our dive guide Anne. As it turns out it was just the two of us for the one guide. She was very personable but a bit macho with a close cut haircut. She’d totally be a “bro” if she was a guy. After our dive meeting, we put on our tanks and jumped in. Jenn’s cold seemed to be over, but apparently the congestion wasn’t, and she wasn’t able to clear her ears at 5ft, after 5 minutes she gave up and went back to the boat. I carried on all by myself, just me and my guide. I think this may have been one of my best dives ever, at the very least right up there with an identically named Half Moon Wall dive site in Belize. The clarity was great and the wildlife prolific. I saw a barracuda chilling out getting cleaned. Moving on I saw a little tiny shrimp in bright blue. Not long after at around 90ft I was looking at this fan coral and noticed something odd about it, there was something stuck to it, like a growth of some kind, but what caught my eye most was that it didn’t seem to move in the same direction as everything else with the well (not that there is much swell 90ft down). I puzzled over it a little then poked my finger in its general direction and in response 2 bits of seaweed raise up towards my finger and I realized I was looking at a tiny crab about 1cm in size! I pulled my finger back and its arms went down. Pointed at it again and its arms went back up! Ecstatic I get my guide’s attention to show her. At first she’s puzzled at what I’m looking at and then sees it too and makes a crab sign and does a little jig and gives me a high five. I try to take a couple of photos but my gopro I’m forced to use at this depth doesn’t focus that close… I notice she does a start looking to her right and I follow her eye line to see a huge 6ft long moray eel coming right towards us chomping with its mouth as it moves. These things could remove a hand in 1 motion so we give it a wide berth and it just makes a bee-line directly into a hole right behind where I was floating looking at the crab. Wow! It was even over yet, starting our accent we found a sea turtle rubbing itself against some coral trying to dislodge a pair of remora sucker fish stuck to its back. My guide dislodged the remoras after a few tries and I got some really nice photos up close with the turtle. During our safety stop a large school of Blue Tang swam by.

Jenn found a happy way to occupy herself reading a book by a famous endurance equestrian and was in a good mood all things considered. She was happy enjoying the nice weather out on the water on a tropic island reading about her favorite thing in the world, it’s all about perspective.

Dive number 2 was about as good as dive number 1. This time the dive site was Puncher’s Paradise, and I have no idea what that name even means. We saw another turtle which was rubbing it’s belly on a piece of coral and didn’t panic when we got close. I’ve read that turtles have nerve endings in their shells, and some even enjoy being pet which I do, careful to keep my hand behind it in case it decides it doesn’t care for what I’m doing. But the turtle seems totally relaxed, and eventually we move on. What a neat experience. Further on I found a red banded cleaner shrimp, another translucent blue shrimp like the one I saw on the first dive, and a spider crab all in one little hole! Too bad my camera can’t focus nearly so close and it’s a blurry mess. I’m becoming more and more motivated to find an enclosure for my camera so I can take it diving and get better photos. I had an opportunity at one point but passed not wanting to spend $500, now I’m kicking myself! I also saw an odd type of fish camping out on a stem of coral, and a spider crab which Anne picked up and put in my hand to watch it crawl its way around. The upside to go the gopro though is that it does shoot hd video which I got of my little curiocity. And to cap it off we saw a spotted eagle ray flying by. On our way out Anne showed how much more adventurous she was than I am, and swam us through a little key hole. I really wasn’t comfortable dragging my belly in the sand to get through.

After our second dive we head back to land for lunch. We explain about Jenn’s ear and I have to decide if I want to do a 3rd dive, it’ll be off the beach.

We eat at Celeste’s nearby and enjoy some nice local food with parrots hanging out in the rafters and are offered some bootleg DVDs which we reluctantly buy a couple of. It’s our job making and selling entertainment, and we’re absolutely feel guilty, though we’d never had watched or purchased any of these films either way. We find we have time until needing to go back and head to the house.

Jenn and I nap briefly but when it’s time to get up I can’t stir her. I didn’t want to feel the regret I felt after missing out on Turneffe so I decided to go diving, but I didn’t want to wake Jenn up so I slipped out the door and left her a message. Then I did something I think I regret more than almost anything I’ve done in my life, I left the door unlocked so I could leave her the key. I walked down the hill and realized I had just left my wife alone in a foreign country in a house without locked doors and began freaking out, messaging her to wake up and lock the door. By now Sara though was already at the house and Jenn was up, but in my mind every horrible situation flashed through my head.

The third dive was a beach dive, and I was stuck with some inexperienced people kicking up sand, which made it hard to get some photos I wanted. I was able to stay below them for a lot of the time, and we worked our way down to 70ft of depth which helped a lot. One of our group went through air quicker so we spent most of the last bit shallow, and I had a hard time staying below the surface, needing another 2 lbs of weight.

Back at the house after diving everyone was worn out and happy. We exchanged stories, and munched on some leftovers and never really followed through with the plans to eat out. We ended up watch Big Hero 6 as the night wound down.

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