I haven’t written much about my fellow divers this trip, but I have absolutely enjoyed every minute I have spent with everybody with whom I’ve shared the dive boat. They’re easy-going, friendly people. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people with whom to be randomly paired. If somebody offered me the opportunity to travel with these people again I would do so in a heartbeat.
And it might be something about CoCoView. This is an unassuming place – there are no deep tissue massages, hot tubs, or concierges here. The rooms aren’t luxury hotel rooms, but rather cabins, and there is no gourmet restaurant – just a small buffet at every meal. Although Butterblogger doesn’t object to luxury, this is not, in any sense of the phrase, a high-maintenance place. It really is dive camp, and it attracts people who love to dive and want to be here. And that’s a recipe for friendliness.
Today was my last day diving this trip.
My first dive, at Mary’s Place, was the deep dive to finish off my advanced open water certification. J again joined us on the boat, and once we were in the water the two of us passed through a swim-through and then dropped down to almost 100 feet to complete some tasks.
One involved writing down color descriptions on a slate. The problem is my handwriting has never been good, and is currently utterly terrible even under ideal circumstances. Fortunately this wasn’t a handwriting challenge. Basically, blues still look blue. Greens and yellow are muted, and anything at the red end of the spectrum becomes brown to meconium in color.
The second involved playing with child’s shape toy. The reason for doing this has to do with the effect of working at depth on how we think and solve problems. I’d figured out how the game was organized on the boat coming out (not difficult) so I think I did better underwater than I had done on the surface.
Once these tasks had been completed, we explored the reef with the rest of my friends. In truth, the surge at Mary’s Place was significant, so I was ready to ascend well before my air was gone.
I hadn’t taken my camera to Mary’s Place, given that there was a certification dive involved, so I took it to Newman’s wall for my dropoff dive instead.
There is something about diving and looking for the creatures of the sea. Many of them are small, they are almost all subtle, and they know how to hide. There is a real skill involved, and I haven’t yet developed it, but I’m getting better.
Still, as we moved along the wall this time, knowing this would be my last dive of the trip, some of the creatures seemed to come out to bid me farewell.
This lobster was one of a few saying goodbye.
As was this crab.
And as I floated along the edge of the reef wall, I saw a little grey thing move, and I snapped a photo. I watched it for a while longer, but wasn’t able to figure it out. Even B didn’t notice it when he came by.
Later, I looked at the picture and labeled it “Stitch.” When I asked others to look at the creature, they helped me to identify it. I had seen a frogfish. Apparently this is an unusual find under any circumstances, and one not often seen on Newman’s Wall. The photo garnered a lot of attention.
That was quite the goodbye.
We passed the wreck of the Prince Albert, and this guy as well (as much as I try I can’t get the color quite right), just before the 3 minute safety stop, in which we pause for 3 minutes at 5 meters depth. And that concluded my final dive for the trip.
Lunch and dinner followed with my new friends. There was dancing and reveling, until at long last I retired.
Sometime later, shortly after 10, as I sat in my bed organizing my thoughts and photos, my neighbors were returning to bed, and G said, through the paper-thin door, “Go to bed, M.”
And so I did.