Wednesday, April 21, 2010
What an amazing month of diving!
Diving in the British Virgin Islands is all about having your eyes open. That’s it. Get in the water and look all around you. The lava tubes, the rock formations, the schooling fish, and the usual suspects, like spotted eels, eagle rays, turtles and sharks, create a panorama that surrounds you with breathtaking sights. Last week, our dive sites in Jost Van Dyke were teeming with life, and divers almost had to say “excuse me, but may I swim by” to the dense concentration of schooling fish around. Sites like Twin Towers and Playground had clouds of silversides playing on the reefs edge, while schools of yellow tail snappers and bar jacks ran in and out of them trying to catch a delightful meal. It was a treat being able to witness so much life in constant motion. Aside from the prolific population of small fish, divers had a chance to spot (pun totally intended) a spotted eagle ray and a hawks bill turtle. Suddenly, a big shadow blocked the sun, and turning around, the divers discovered a group of giant tarpon. What else can you ask for? Well, funny you ask! Last week we had a very motivated group of divers from California, the Byrne family. Mr. Dale Byrne and his older son were already certified, so the two younger ones did their Open Water class with us. They were actually on a sailing vacation, and decided to land-lock themselves for two days at Long Bay Beach Resort, to take advantage of the pool, and our in-house shop and instructor. After they were certified as Open Water Divers, they decided that it was not enough diving and did the smart move of enrolling in the PADI Advanced Open Water course. There was only one condition: Dad had to take the class, and all of them were doing it. It turned out to be so much fun that now we have two new divers hooked for life. They were staying on their sailboat in Norman Island, so their instructor Oswaldo picked them up and off they went to continue their education. Wow! When they were doing their FISH ID Adventure dive, they ran out of spaces on their slates to list all the marine life they saw: a black tip shark, a turtle, a southern sting ray, lobsters and more. The shark got curious and circled the group a few times to check them all out. Next day, on their deep dive, they had the opportunity to dive the world famous wreck of the Rhone. Visibility was beautiful, and the dive exceeded their expectation for their first wreck dive ever. At the end of the day, their smiles were the inspiration that keep many dive instructors going. They understood that it was not only about earning a certification, but also about having the opportunity to share something together, creating a memory that last longer than any photograph taken. At the end of the day, my last though, for Dale, Wes, Geoffrey and Jenny, was: “The family that dives together stays together”.