Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day... something.

Usually on dives I stay above the group a bit shallower, so today at one point I decided to hit some deep water. Most of the walls go from 20ft and drop off straight down to over 100ft. Let me remind you that I am also breathing nitrox which greatly improves my chances of not getting bent. All this to say I shot for the bottom of the wall just to see how deep it really went. At 109ft, I heard the divemaster use his little quacker and looked up to see him telling me to come back up with the group. They were all hanging out at about 55ft, so I was a little ways away, but I could still see them just fine and the max depth on the dive was supposed to be 100ft and there was no way he could have known I was at 109! Nonetheless, I ambled back up the wall like a scolded dog and spent the rest of the dive above the group at about 25ft to get some of that excess nitrogen out of my bloodstream... don't worry, I was still well within the safe limits of plain air, let alone Nitrox. All this to say, I am being safe, and having a great time as well. I don't mess around with the bends and am always keeping well within the regular safe areas for plain old air, even though I am using Nitrox the majority of the time. Sorry if all that tech stuff is confusing.Greg has been taking a lot of great underwater pictures with his 3k$ rig. He will be sending those to us when we get home. These pictures were taken with my $100 point and shoot that has a max depth of 12ft. ENJOY!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bonaire contd.

The water is so blue here it doesn't even look real. There is a picture in a real estate ad that shows a place with one of those endless pools that looks out onto the ocean and the pool and ocean are virtually the same color. The native people are all really friendly, though I am still trying to figure out what language they speak. The island is owned by Holland, but is so close to Venezuela and so visited by the US that it is really hard to find what their identity here is. They even use US currency. I don't mean like they take US dollars, but that is ALL they use! From what dad said, they used to use this standard called Gilders, but now they don't even have those. US only. We went to a grocery store yesterday and bought hot dogs in a can and some weird kind of spam meat made from chicken and packed according to the religious rights of Islam... don't know exactly what that looks like, but it tasted like very lean spam. 
All the dive spots are marked by rocks painted yellow, so basically you drive down a coastal road until you see a yellow rock and then you stop, park, dive, and then drive home. Diving is a strange thing. Sure, there are young people that do it, but for the most part, it's engineers, investment bankers and other older and retiring professionals. There is a lot more gray hair in the water these days. It seemed like mostly people in their thirties when I was growing up, but now, it's still the same people and they have aged. Especailly Dad. I guess you can't go through a kidney transplant, open heart surgery, cancer treatment and two strokes and not have at least some of it show up in wear. It's like his body has gone through some sort of war, and he wears the scars on his skin and it's effects somewhere inside. I guess I probably notice it more because when we used to do this together, he was in better shape than most of the people we used to dive with, who were all younger than him. It is good though, to be able to kind of reverse roles here. He even asked me at one point if mom told me to keep an eye on him, and said that if she did, I was doing a good job! The coolest thing about it though, is that serving him feels so good. I round up his gear, carry his tanks and wait for him on our dives. I check to see that his air is where it should be and drive everywhere we go. My new role is different, but I like it, and Dad says I can carry his gear any time I want! (of course right?)
Let me explain to you what I am looking at right now. I am on a second floor patio, looking through the rungs of steel railing at the roof of a tiki hut, beyond which is several dive boats, teal ocean and in the distance, the desert mountains on the far end of the island. To my left is Klein Bonaire, which is a little island off the island that is perfectly flat and covered with cactus and very thorny vegetation. In the air are sounds of generators, construction, the lapping of th water on the natural rock seawall, and the sounds of people speaking English, Dutch, and the native language here.
We went on an 8:30 am dive this morning and then explored the downtown area and the salt mountains that lay near the salt peer from where they ship the salt all over the world. They have these huge drying beds where the pump in the salt water and let the sun evaporate out the H20 and leave the salt behind. Then they scoop it all up and load it onto huge freighters to be made into industrial salts for water softeners, etc.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Here I am in Bonaire with my dad. We are celebrating his 1 year anniversary from getting his new kidney. Yes, my dad is an organ transplant guy. Dad and I were huge divers back in Florida and when his kidneys decided to quit, his diving had to slow down.
This is trip is like a second chance at life, second chance at diving second chance at just about everything. We drove to Atlanta together and then flew straight south to a little country that is just off the coast of Venezuela. Their major industries are salt and diving. It's this tiny little desert island that caters to divers and just about everything here helps divers from all over the world have a good time. The first thing dad and I did was have a cheesburger. According to him, we needed our CHEESBURGER IN PARADISE. So we settled into our room and donned snorkeling garb and headed into the water, which was so clear it was like floating on air. The next day we met up with an old friend of ours from FL and did 3 dives today including my first night dive... which was awesome. My favorite thing was to turn off my light and see the world of dark underwater from the lights of others and the moon. It was amazing. At one point, dad and I came upon a small wreck and both turned off our lights. By waving my hand in front of my face, I could see the glow of phosphorescent organisms that literally glow in the dark when disturbed.
My writing right now is distracted because there are a lot of distractions going on conversationally. I'll write more later...