While cleaning the hulls, I kept asking myself if it wouldn’t be a good idea to learn to scuba dive after all. Now we fight a stubborn barnacle in several dives and are completely out of breath after an hour of holding the breath. Since we are in a tourist area right now, there was a trial diving offer for absolute beginners starting from our place. The promotional picture on the internet showed two children beaming with joy in the water together with a competent-looking instructor, and the text promised to practice first in a safe environment in a pool before going into the sea. I took heart and signed up for the end of the week to give myself some more time to get used to the idea. I might have to mention that Mathias and I don’t like swimming around in deep water and are always a bit afraid of big fish. This fear is even more pronounced in Mathias than in me, although he has improved a lot. In the beginning he could hardly put his head under water, but now he can dive down to the keel, which is about 1.80 m deep. However, he only goes into the water in a long wetsuit so that at least the small fish can’t get to him and bite him 😉
Meeting time for the diving course was 7 am and the meeting point was marked in Google Maps. We had already seen a dive shop nearby, but I hadn’t taken a closer look the day before. That turned out to be a mistake. There was nothing like the description at the designated meeting point and no dive shop either. At the dive shop across the street the people spoke English and knew the right shop. It had moved to a side street and, as it turned out, had been there for 5 years already. Since then, they have been trying to get the last of their internet agents to update their address. Typically, that was the one I ended up booking with! On the second attempt we found the dive shop in the end. I was the only participant as a beginner and so the instructor was still relatively relaxed. After I had to sign various papers, the equipment was put together and I received a small manual (in German!), we went to a nearby hotel and into their small pool. Here I was shown how to handle the equipment, what to do if you lose your mouthpiece from your mouth and how to blow the goggles free again. To do this, you have to exhale through your nose. Sounds easy, but it’s not so easy to make once brain switch the breathing, when it has just found a rhythm under water to breathe through the mouth. It took me a while. Afterwards I did a few circles in the pool and felt much better prepared for the real dive.
We went back to the shop where more divers were already waiting. We walked to the beach while the equipment was transported on a pick-up truck – the compressed air tanks are very heavy. From the beach we took one of the several small boats that brought us to the somewhat larger dive boat and drove to a small nearby island with a mooring for dive boats. Here the group with the advanced divers got out while we went around the corner into a lagoon with shallower water. Then came the moment to go into the water. The diving west can be inflated with air, which makes it easy to swim with the big tank and can also help when surfacing. We went down on a rope that had been thrown overboard with lead weights beforehand. We jumped in from the bathing platform, simply taking a step forward. At this point at the latest, it was clear to me that Mathias had done well not to come along. He’s not so good at jumping into the water, and with all the equipment, the jump took a bit of effort.
The diving itself went surprisingly well. However, at first I concentrated a lot on the breathing. Every now and then I had to communicate the filling level of the compressed air cylinder by hand signal. What was difficult was keeping the dive height and sometimes the position. Every now and then the instructor had to pull me down. I didn’t see much more on the dive than when I was snorkelling but could almost touch the fish and swim into the middle of a shoal without it escaping. After this dive we dived back up for a break on the boat. With the weight of the bottle on my back, I just about managed to lift myself up the swim ladder and was glad to be helped. After the break, we continued at a deeper spot. Now the boat was at the mooring and we shimmied down along the mooring rope. The transition from air to water was a little uncomfortable. It took two breaths for my brain to register that I could continue breathing underwater. First concentrate on shimmying down. Once down, I was calm and could enjoy the dive. This time there was more distraction from the breathing. We saw an octopus, a small ray and two seahorses. The octopus could hardly be distinguished from its surroundings and the seahorses were also lying stretched out on a plant so that they could hardly be recognised. You needed a trained eye like our diving instructor.
Towards the end of the dive we entered shallower water and current / surf. I had real difficulties maintaining altitude and position. Also, my air supply had dropped to a little over 1000 and at 1000 I was supposed to give notice. But it was already going up again and everyone climbed back on board. It was raining hard at the time – we got wet 😉
On the way back, the dive boat did a lap around the SAN, then we changed back to one of the smaller boats. Before going back to the beach, I was taken to the SAN and got straight on board. It was only noon, but it had been a really nice trip.
Apart from this one adventurous morning, our life here is running its usual calm course. Editing blog, editing video, trying to convince the sailing community that calculating anchor chain length is a better method than sticking to the general ratio of 1:3. Clean the underwater hull.
One day we met Gunter Winter for dinner in his restaurant, the “Jardin Tropical”, directly on the main road, one of the first restaurants to be reached from the beach. The food and the fruit smoothies there were very tasty and it was a nice afternoon.
The little problems continue. My Polaroid printer, which I use to print out pictures for my diary (because I can’t draw), had a paper jam. The instructions on the internet were all useless, resetting it did nothing. So I set about unscrewing the small screws to get to the inner workings. One of the screws was so far into a shaft that my screwdriver bit thickened too quickly and thus didn’t fit all the way in. On a trip ashore, we managed to buy a new suitable slim screwdriver, but the last of the 4 small screws had a different head for some unknown reason, or had already been gnawed out. In any case, nothing happened with it. Now my technician had to work on this little problem and find a method to drill out this screw. In the end we were successful and it prints again. A paper had folded up like an accordion and blocked the passage. The only thing that really helped was to open the case and remove it!
The next problem was my computer charger, whose cable kinks could no longer be fixed by even thicker layers of insulating tape. Soldering was needed here. But where did the solder get to? In the end, we bought two spare drill bits and a spool of solder in the same shop where we bought the screwdriver. Mathias used the solder to repair my charging cable. 🙂
We paid customs for our last package to Costa Rica, so hopefully it should arrive soon. That would be nice, because we will soon have reached our 3-month authorised stay in Costa Rica. If the weather permits, we can continue to Mexico.
Shortly after I wrote the previous paragraph, we learned that our package was delivered to the wrong marina. Now we have to look again how and if it can be redirected. 😬
Fingers crossed that the next report can come from Mexico.
P.S.: You can always see our current whereabouts independently of the blog on the “home” page of the website, where a satellite tracker is embedded. (The mobile view is a bit too small, but on the computer you can zoom in all the way down to our boat deck, so to speak).