I woke up to the sound of roosters crowing somewhere in the distance, signifying the beginning of another day on the island. It was a very cool morning and unlike the other days of my training where we went in the ocean after noon, I was going to be picked up by my dive instructor at 7:00 AM. I was never a morning person but I can already feel the adrenaline rush through my body, because this day is something I have anticipated my whole life.
We drove for at least 15 minutes to West Bay Dock where we boarded one of the boats that will take us to the dive sites. I love that they served us snacks and drinks on the boat on our way to the dive locations because I was hungry and did not have time to eat breakfast. Not eating breakfast is actually a bad idea because ideally, you need to have energy and the right nourishments when putting strain on your body, like what diving does.
The first site we went to is called Trinity Caves, a dive site that only took a couple of minutes to get to from West Bay Dock. This is also my first time to do what is called a boat dive, where exiting into the water requires jumping off a boat, as opposed to a shore dive, where the divers exit from dry land into the ocean. The site got its name from having three canyons that lead towards a reef wall, one that will greet you with austere grandeur the moment you set your eyes on it. The other dive site we visited is called Paradise Reef, where we explored a wreck that used to be a ship that was blown up. One of my favorite parts during this dive was swimming through coral gardens of massive sizes and bright colors. Schools of fish in all shapes, sizes and hues swam around us like we were nothing, minding their own lives in their underwater world. Unfortunately, due to the science revolving around light and color absorption in water, my GoPro was not able to fully capture the beauty of the corals and only showed pigments of blue and green in my photos.
The highlight of this dive was the part where a shark just kept following us around the shipwreck and everywhere else we went, because the Dive Master was killing lion fish during the entire time. Lion fish is a highly invasive breed that feeds off and is responsible for the decline of the populations of the native species, driving them towards near extinction. This disrupts the very sensitive dynamics of marine ecosystems, and it is one of the duties of the Dive Masters to get rid of these harmful species before the fragile habitat collapses under these foreign invaders. Spearfishing attracted the shark, and it followed us around like a puppy because my Dive Master kept on feeding it every lion fish it killed.
Before resurfacing, I was required to perform a couple more of the skills I learned during my days of training. When we got back on the boat, I was welcomed by everybody else to what they called the most expensive hobby of my life, and officially became and Open Water Diver. Thank you to my instructors Patricia and Damien from Living the Dream Divers and my dive buddy Alex for being there on the beginning of a journey that I have always been passionate about, and will be carrying with me for the rest of my life.
“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”