Monday, September 03, 2012

Little Cayman - July 21-28, 2012 - The Pool's Open

Diving from a land based resort had its differences from the liveaboard experience I was used to, though I couldn't say if the way it was done at Little Cayman Beach Resort is representative of all land resorts.

Early on the first morning, they take the gear bag you left outside the front door of your room and place it on the boat to which you have been assigned.  Our group was put on a boat called Holiday Diver II.  For most of the week, our crew members would be Clive, who grew up in Zimbabwe, and Aly, from British Columbia in Canada.  On our first day of diving, Sunday the 22nd, Clive had the day off and his replacement was another guy named Craig.

When you get on the boat, your bcd and regulator are already set up, with the rest of the gear stowed away underneath the seats.  When I first got on the boat, I couldn't find my where my stuff was at first.  And then to my horror, just when we were getting ready to shove off, I realized I had forgotten to put my dive skin in the gear bag, so I notified the crew and made a mad dash back to my room to get it.  While I had did my diving in the Bahamas last year wearing mostly a shirt and shorts, the main deck of the boat where our gear was stowed was uncovered and I wanted to make sure my pale skin was not exposed to the hot sun, so I wore the new full body skin I had bought.

The day's first dive established the routine that would follow for the week.  The boat would head out and turn west past the western tip of the island, then turn north and then east until we entered Bloody Bay Marine Park, off the north central part of the island.  All of our dives would be at one of the sites within the confines of the park.  We would do two dives in the morning, head back to the resort for lunch, and then go back out again for one dive in the afternoon.  On the two liveaboards I was on, most days there would be up to five scheduled dives.  The resort's dive shop did offer a night dive and a dusk dive during the week for an extra fee, but they were contingent on enough people signing up for them.

Once the boat would be moored at the dive site, one of the two crew members would give a dive briefing on a small white board.   Upon the conclusion of the briefing, one of them would invariably announce, "The pool's open."  When you were ready to go into the water, you would walk to the back of boat and start putting on your fins.  One of the crew members would bring over your bcd, regulator and tank and help you put it on.  Then you would get up and go in.

That first morning, I was a little edgy, as I had experienced problems on my first dives on both the Belize and Bahamas trip.  The site we were diving at was called Sarah's Set.  Like all of the first dives of each day, it would involve going down to the reef wall where we were permitted to descend as deep as 110 feet.

Thing did get off to a bumpy start, though thankfully not for me.  David, Josh's son, was the first to giant stride into the water, and as soon as he was in, his regulator started free flowing.  Then another diver in our group, Dick, had problems with his bcd.  But once everything got sorted out, we were finally on our way. 

I don't really remember anything remarkable about the first dive, though it was great to be back in the water again.  Everything went rather smoothly for me, and when I got back on the boat, I was relieved that my first dive jinx had come to an end. 

We also adopted a new member into our group.  The first evening we were at the resort, during dinner, my wife and I noticed a young Asian female by herself, who I could have sworn was only a teenager.  She ended up being assigned to our boat, and on the way to our first dive, Ira and I struck up a conversation with her.  Her name was Jill, and it turned out she was actually from the Philippines (seeing her from a distance, I had thought she was Korean) and was now living in Canada.  She had noticed my wife the previous night and noticed she was Filipino as well. Jill was also much older than my initial impression, being a few days shy of turning 33.  She would be diving with us for a couple of more days before leaving to spend the rest of the week at Grand Cayman.  She had a low key but friendly and ingratiating personality to her and before she left for Grand Cayman, she had expressed an interest in joining us on our next diving trip in 2013.

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