It was a little strange being in San Pedro without Dave and Corinne (happy travels!) but we found something to help fill the void.
Tadd and I had talked about continuing our PADI training in hopes of having some fun and also making ourselves even more employable, so having talked to a bunch of dive shops on the island, I set out to get my Rescue diver cert with Crazee Eddie.
The whole thing only took a couple of days and Tadd was able to come along for a free dive one morning so not too shabby. Eddie was fun, but being slow season here, he didn’t have many students lined up, so we decided to go with Ecologic Divers (next door) for our Divemaster certifications as they had a steady stream of people through their doors.
It may not have been the cheapest place in the world to divemaster, but we were already here… with a free place to live.. and had begun to get to know the island a little and where to get cheap food and shopping. And as we were going to spend 3 weeks training we reckoned the number of dives we would get to do would outweigh a cheaper location that would just push us quickly through the course.
So we began our life as, “lower than whale sperm,” according to Steve Lee (one of our instructors at Ecologic).
The diving was great and we got lots of dives in! We spent just under 4 weeks hanging and training with Steve, Junior, Shelley, Juanita, Charlie, Marcos… and all the other quirky characters at the dive shop.
We got to go to lots of the different sites outside the reef with the long finger canyons of coral reef that reach out east from the Meso-American Mayan Reef (2nd biggest in the world) that stretches south from the Mexico to Belize and beyond) and dive with up to 14 nurse sharks at once, spotted eagle rays, turtles, moray eels, giant grouper and dozens of other multicolored species of fish, corals and sponges. We even got to go dive the wall at the Elbow of Turneffe Cay, as well as exploring the Hol Chan channel by night (Tadd’s first night dive!).
But one of the most memorable dives was the day I spotted a poor yellow-tailed snapper with a hook in it’s mouth… I pointed it out to Tadd who gestured to indicate that it was done for… and so he grabbed the end of the fishing line dangling from the hook (hoping to trail the fish back to boat and for our dinner!) … but the snapper was having nothing to do with that plan and began to swim around like a crazy fish… Charlie the divemaster reckoned he could get the hook out and took over… at which point a big, black grouper came close by… and then out of nowhere the black grouper whizzed up from somewhere beneath us and inhaled the snapper, the hook, the fishing line and almost Charlie’s hand in one huge, and amazingly audible gulp… and it was all over!!
The challenges of underwater fishing I guess!