Sunday, 5 July 2009

Honduras Diaries, July 27th

Today we did the last two dives to qualify for our PADI Open Water Dive Qualification. The first dive we did was at 10:30. We got on the boat again and went out to somewhere called Jack Neil Beach, which was about 5 minutes away again. The water where we stopped was about 7-8 meters deep, and was so clear that we could see the sand from the boat.

This time we had our BCDs on before we jumped in, and we had to get with our buddies and follow a rope down to the floor where we waited until everybody else descended. When they did, we did skills with an underwater compass, and navigate to another buoy chain and back. Then we just swam around the corals for about 20 minutes. This was really interesting because we looked at all the things living on the coral, and Tanya found some ‘Cleaner Shrimps’ which clean all the dirt off fish when they go near them. Tanya put her hand next to them and they started cleaning it. We also saw some Christmas Tree Worms which were plants that filtered the seawater for plankton and bits of food, but with the slightest noise they shot back into the rocks. Tanya clapped her hands near them and they all just disappeared. When we were finished, we went up and I almost swam into the underside of the boat which was horrible. I don’t know why I have a fear of the underside of boats.

We got back and had some rice with beans and fried potato stuff. That was nice. We then had to do a test for our qualification. It was basically 50 questions that were all tick boxes. I failed the first attempt because nobody was concentrating, but the second attempt I got 82%. (I must be an introvert…) I also had to get a photo taken for my diver’s card. I couldn’t use my passport photo because they would have to post it to the PADI HQ instead of just emailing it. The photo I got done is hideous. I then gave my $30 for my card to the-guy-with-a-MacBook-Air who logged it and put it into a spreadsheet. This gave me $70 spare, so I gave the $50 I owed Mrs Riches from the other day. I now have about $30 of spending money, which isn’t too bad.

We almost didn’t get to do our last dive, because the Air Machine was broken, but they fixed it just in time.

At about 5:00, we went to do our next dive. This time we just swam off the pier again, and as soon as we got in the water, Jon said to us all: “Congratulations, you are now all qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Divers.” That means that all we had to do was touch the water for it to count as four open water dives. I don’t mind, though. This dive was basically just a nothing-dive. We just swam about, looking at corals and fish. Then we just messed about and did somersaults in the water.

We were in the water for about half an hour.

When we got out of the water, we found out that today was our last day on Utila instead of tomorrow. It’s apparently something to do with the ferry’s crossing times, so tonight’s our last night here. I feel like I have been scammed. So OpWall have found us a hotel on the mainland to put us in for one night, and we are promised a pool as consolation. They are also going to put on some activities for us during the day. It still doesn’t quite equal Utila. This means that I will miss out on my fun dive/wreck dive tomorrow so I can’t use my underwater cameras. From about 7:00 until 10:00 we all just sat on the pier drinking Coke and Sprites. We also got our Dive Log Books signed by our instructors. I filled in all of the details and Jon signed everything for me. At about 10:30 we were all told to go to bed because we had to be up at 4:00 to catch the 5:30 ferry. I thanked Jon and Tanya but couldn’t find Jay or Cal, so we all went back to our rooms.

All of my stuff is pretty much packed away again and ready to go. I want to stay here.

I never want to see an alarm clock set for 4:00AM ever again.

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