It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Belize, Day 5

We had been trying to setup a Turneffe trip all week (or really, Peter had been trying to set on up for us with AquaDives), and they still hadn’t given a go/no-go by Thursday afternoon. Thanks to a bunch of last-minute running around by Peter, we managed to get to go. And Israel came in wicked early so we could retrieve our gear in the morning before the 7 AM boat departure.

So, there were only 6 of us on the trip, so we took a “small boat”. The boat could probably hold about 16 people though, so it wasn’t really small. There were lots of tanks on board, many with sketchtastic valves. The first two tanks I tried to use each had a squished valve orifice. One of the DMs suggested maybe something was wrong with my regulator (which made me want to kick him in the nuts), and after I insisted that wasn’t so, he tried cranking down on my reg and decided that the tank valve was indeed faulty. Another tank near our gear had a busted handle, that was hanging down about 30 degrees from horizontal. And of course even the serviceable valves had O-rings that were perhaps older than me.

The trip out to Turneffe was not as bad as I thought – it was only about an hour and a half, because we went to the South side, which I guess is closer than the Elbow. The boat ride was perfectly comfortable. The water had been very calm all week though, so maybe the “sometimes rough conditions” are for real. We did all three dives as drift dives. We told the DM that Rob is a pokey photographer, and he said it would be fine if we just popped our own bag when we were done, if we got separated from the herd.

Dive 1: Turneffe South

This site had more variety in corals and sponges than the sites at Ambergris. There were also more fish, though not necessarily more variety, just more of the same stuff. I saw a giant anemone, which I don’t think I had seen yet. Also saw some corkscrew anemones, knobby anemones, and branching anemones.

Dive 2 : Mertle’s Turtles

We saw an eagle ray here. I found several spotted cleaner shrimp (the cool blue ones) on sea anemones. One of the other divers pointed out a spotted drum in a crevice to us. I’m not sure why people get so excited about spotted drums, but everyone else seemed to be. Eh, it’s a fish, not even a colorful one.

Dive 3: Barrow’s Camp

We saw wwo eagle rays and two turtles here. And a little Pepper eel (it was a goldentail), plus a green moray. More of those pretty blue shrimp. Also found a dancing peppermint shrimp in a stovepipe sponge (why do shrimpies rock back and forth like that?). Two fish with two spikes on their heads, which I could not ID.

The trip back was likewise uneventful, except that I was pouty because Rob had re-appropriated my towel for his camera. And I got rather sunburned on my back because I am an idiot, and only put sunblock on my face and shoulders. When we got back to the dock, we had to schlep our gear up to the dive shop, where we rinsed it. Israel from Protech said that he would pick up our gear in the morning, on the way to pick us up from our hotel. The guys at AquaDives acted like this was some big inconvenience to them, which annoyed me. The service definitely wasn’t as good as Protech – I never had to move gear to/from the boat the entire week with them, except the first and last days. Rob made fun of me when I complained about this to him, but it’s vacation, so I’m allowed to be lazy.

For dinner, we went downtown to Elvi’s Kitchen. I got the special, which was a mixed seafood grill with a tropical fruit sauce. It was really good, the sauce was super tasty and had chunks of mango, papaya, and pineapple. It was probably my favorite meal of the vacation. All week, I had been telling Rob I was going to have key lime pie before we left, since it’s my favorite kind of pie, and it seemed to be on basically every restaurant’s menu. So I finally got a slice at Elvi’s – they had a frozen key lime pie. It was tasty.

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