Carnival and consequences

The latest post from the “Intern with a Sunburn,” Rada; her impressions following Cozumel’s Carnival celebration!
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Carnival is behind us now. The remaining of stages and kiosks are slowly coming down while the festive impressions are still fresh in my mind. The five or so days were packed with events throughout the day not to mention the weeks and months of preparations leading up that all ran smoothly in the end. Carnival was everywhere; it could hit you at any point without warning. An afternoon stroll to the supermarket was when we witnessed a kid’s performance on 7th street. Watching the kids and families get into it really makes it. Just marvelous, as a first timer, really was something.

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cozumel carnavalOne night I decided to wander around the neighbourhood in search for tacos and a beer. I had time to think about something curious a few ask. The local plaza was packed to the rim, carnival was in full swing and tacos were locked in sight. The vibe was nice, I felt safe. I didn’t feel strange because I was alone or a foreigner. Maybe it’s just my attitude to think I am at home wherever I go or Cozumel is not as dangerous as what we see on the news as far as Mexico goes—it also helps not to read the news (especially in Central America—no good news there). That night I got nothing but warm smiles and polite greetings on the street.

cozumel carnaval queso oaxaca
Senior queso Oaxaca

Cozumel is different. What I love most so far is taking the car on the other side. You take Transversal Street 14 km from town and you reach an untouched stretch of beach which extends left and right. The traditional path is to go right, the nice paved road leads past endless beach, some scattered restaurants along the way. The other day we were feeling up to the change of going to the other side of the other side. Turning left offers a more wild experience; a small sandy road takes you through an untamed green. A friends’ last day is worth the extra effort—a little swim and picnic was the plan. Trooper was fine until she sank deep into the sand and the back tires turned hopelessly. It took some strategy and man power to free her at last. Meanwhile, we had a chance to take a few snaps of the wilderness and mighty Atlantic, that is, before a flash rain hit and we were scrambling to keep the baguette dry.

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Diving this week was exciting. I am slowly checking off the dive sites I have been to but there was one on my mind since I came. The Devil’s Throat, as they call it, is famous dive a bit farther south—is all I pretty much knew about it. Was one of those things that I just wanted to see for myself without building fantasies. I only realized it was a little extreme when Willy (who was organizing the dives that morning) was hesitant to put me on the boat. “But it’s for professionals,” he said… I was already mentally on the boat; he had me at Devil’s. The divemaster for the dive gave us a few tips that confirmed my adrenaline. Maximum depth 40 meters and a flashlight would be useful. “If there are any problems let’s catch them before we go in because then there is no turning back” he said as we raced towards Punta Sur. The boat was full with experienced divers and everyone was friendly, down to earth and helpful. We back rolled out from the boat and entered the deep abyss and began swimming vertically down one by one through a narrow dark system of caves. Having survived the devil’s grasp, we warmed up a bit and shared a little of our experience (different and the same). We all now had that experience under our (weight) belts. Have you done that dive?

This week I am taking the instructor manual and slides out once again to get back on track to finishing my dive master. Matthew and I made a nice list to make sure I complete every requirement. Rescue exercise #7, equipment exchange, skills circuit are a few. The shop is busy and company came at the right time. A group of young Canadians came full of enthusiasm. This should be a good learning environment for all of us.

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You can read more of Rada’s personal blog here.

 

El Once Día de Febrero – One Small Step, One Giant Leap

A final post from Kale. This is an edited version of his post; you can read the original text here.

How does one begin to sum up three weeks of life?

Hm.  (An honest question as much as it is rhetoric philosophizing.)

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Well, let’s see… the IDC (or ‘Instructor Development Course,’ to you non-acronymites) began the last week of January, marked by an early-morning saunter into room 201 of the Blue Angel – a hotel suite converted into our temporary classroom. Here I met our course director, Mr. Jim Hutchinson, and my fellow instructor candidates.

The group included Julie, a conservatively-raised farm-girl and former ex-school teacher hailing from Missouri (‘Misery,’ as she called it) who broke away to live in Cozumel. There was Steve of Connecticut, a machinist and avid road-bike racer who sold everything to move to Playa del Carmen with his wife. Tracy was another piece of the IDC puzzle, a Texas-born badass who knew enough asian martial art to fight MMA, but opted to spend a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan instead. And then there was me, the long-haired hippy wanderer-type with a love of photography and perpetually growing beard (which had suitably earned me the moniker ‘Jesús’ around the shop (pronounced ‘hey zeus,’ of course)).

We were a colourful cast of characters, coming from different parts of the continent with our own unique stories. The coolest thing? That despite our differing background and age we had all come to Cozumel in a mutual search for fulfillment and purpose.

Inadvertently, being surrounded by all these people – these ‘adults’ – who were making the same changes I was, some having gone so far as to sell their home and 99% of their possessions, encouraged me further that I’ve been doing the right thing. That we, as individuals, are the only ones who can make the change if we are not truly happy.

In the following two weeks of training, we spent the majority of our time under Jim and Matthew’s guidance in class or in the ocean.  We learned the PADI system and marketing mechanics, refined skill demonstrations, took turns in confined and open water as ‘instructor’ and ‘students,’ wrote lesson plans, gave presentations, mastered diving physics and physiology, wrote more tests than I had fingers and drank more coffee than I had in the last two years of my life.

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Julie, Steve, Tracy and I watched each other overcome our own personal struggles during the IDC, then went on to collectively face the Instructor Examination. This took place over two days (Feb 7th-8th), with the written exams and classroom presentation on the first day and all the confined and open water stuff on the second day.

It was strange – I was incredibly confident with all aspects of my training but as soon as we were in an Exam Room with the evaluator (Mario, of Montreal) and eight other candidates, my heart started beating twice as fast. I think the notion of being tested shook me a bit, but the feeling was short-lived. I went on to score 94% on the Standards Exam (open book, don’t be impressed), an average of 90% between Knowledge Exam segments (physics, physiology, RDP use, general skills and equipment), and a 4.7 out of 5 on my classroom presentation, which we had an hour to prepare after finishing the exams.

Mario had to be on a ferry by two the next day, so he made our team (codenamed ‘red’) do our open water skill briefings that evening as well.  Talk about time crunch.

With that day successfully behind us, we arrived at the IE by eight AM the following morning. Team Blue was already going through their open water briefings, then hopped in the ocean with Mario to run through their skill segments. Team Red (us) stayed on the surface with another course director and ran through Rescue Exercise #7 – Unresponsive Diver at the Surface. We passed, switched roles with Team Blue, and sunk twenty feet below onto an expanse of sand.

The evaluator designated the instructor, then went behind him/her and signaled problems to the ‘students,’ which would have to be caught and remedied by the instructor. Failure to do so would result in a failing score. We had done this many times with Matthew and Jim but this was the only evaluation that day where there was no second chance.

Immediately after this, we went through our skill circuit (five were chosen alongside classroom topics, confined water and open water skills on exam day one), and immediately after that we swam to an isolated section of the beach where we did our confined water circuit. Team Blue followed up, and once they had finished we closed the IE with our open water debriefings. Upon individual completion, Mario would take us aside and let us know whether we passed or failed.

When he shook my hand, I was both relieved and excited.  When he told me I had gotten a score of 4.6 in open water, I was over the moon.

And just like that, it was over.

Hugs, high-fives, fist bumps, and good vibes abounded the rest of that afternoon and would continue well into the night. Mario and the PADI Regional Manager, Robert Sievens, gave a closing speech to congratulate us, and one by one we collected a certificate and a handshake.  We had done it, and that sense of accomplishment begun to feel more and more like a reality.  I became giddy with the realization of how far I’d come, thinking back to a year ago when I had first set this goal for myself.

And here I was, holding a certification in my hand. I had done it.

With that, I feel compelled to say thank you. I am overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received from everybody. First I’d like to thank my family for the acceptance and encouragement of my approach to life, and specifically to my mom and stepfather for coming to visit Leah and I during their recent vacation to the Yucatan.

I’d like to thank my love, Leah, for putting up with my prolonged absences; for buying groceries and making sure I was constantly well-fed (she’d make me lunch and dinner everyday). Wouldn’t have been the same without you.

I’d like to thank Matthew and Kari Atkins, for their remarkable hospitality and high standard of education and training; for allowing me to experiment with their underwater camera and featuring me on the Blue Angel Scuba School website. It’s been a helluva journey and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come and do it with you two in Cozumel. Thank you for making me feel at home.

I’d like to thank Julie, Steve, and Tracy – you were all a constant source of inspiration and it was wonderful getting to train alongside you.  Best of luck with everything that comes your way.

And finally, I’d like to thank you, the reader, and to those who have come up to me or contacted me telling me how much they’ve enjoyed the blog. It’s been really cool knowing that there’s a steadily growing audience who’s interested in my writing, my photography, and my future endeavours. It really does mean a lot. And, if there is anybody out there who still would like to contact me, my email is kl.beaudry@hotmail.com. Feel free to ask any questions, or simply drop a line to say ‘hello,’ I’d love to hear from you all!

As I said, it’s been a journey. Challenging, invigorating, self-actualizing, productive… but now the feeling of being ‘done’ is settling in, and entertaining future possibilities (which are infinite, really) fills me with all sorts of excitement.

~KL

You can contact Kale at kl.beaudry@hotmail.com and you can read his blog at http://klworld.tumblr.com/

final destination: Cozumel

We’d love to introduce you to Rada! She is our new intern, and among other things, she is going to be posting on our blog. Help us in welcoming Rada to the Blue Angel team!

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I wake up and rush out the door with my rollerblades strapped on tight early in the morning. The first challenge is to dodge my doggy and leave him behind the gate before he sprints out; he is always ready for a race. His name is Pollo (which means chicken in Spanish) and holds numerous medals for fastest dog. From the center it takes me an exact 10 minutes to Blue Angel. There is a long part along the malecon before I reach the shop where I take my first glimpse of the ocean directly to my right and ride on the smooth paved road.  With a good track on my mp3 player each time I catch myself with the biggest smile and fussy things inside because everything fits in my new home. Picking up more speed, it almost feels like I’m flying. Which is the exact feeling I get diving here in Cozumel: it’s a combination of the current, beautiful life and the last 9 months all about scuba. It’s been a long journey from my first dive in Costa Rica and having learned so much since then, I feel like a confident dive master (well, almost). I’ve made all the mistakes which I won’t repeat like not opening your tank all the way before jumping in. I stay calm, and try to understand other divers and how I can help. I still have a few things I need to work on which Matthew will help me with so I can finally finish my DM (I did most of it in Utila before coming here but got a case of estafilococos (basically a nasty infection that kept me out of the water). I am Rada and I will be posting on here for the next few months, as Matthew put it, an Intern With A Sunburn. Here is a little video I made about me.

My first week at Blue Angel has been a dream. It’s exactly the kind of shop I had imagined. Sometimes it was discouraging and I wasn’t even sure about my decision of quitting my PhD in environmental politics to pursue diving full time. Three months traveling Central America we stopped in lots of different dive shops but only this one feels like home. My first dive with the team was as easy as going to the park (with a beautiful garden), at Palancar Gardens—quite popular site due to the amazing corals. I went with Andres and a couple doing an Open Water referral so it was their first time seeing the ocean from below. I like assisting courses because each instructor has their way of doing things. I am not rushing to become an instructor, because there is still much to learn as a DM and I want to develop my camera skills, in and out of the water. I had the chance this week to hang out with Blue Angel’s first IDC group—the four of them finished Friday and have been celebrating since then. I have always heard that it’s an intense course but now I saw it (or didn’t since they spent many hours in the classroom). I jumped a couple times for shore dive exercises with them. I was actually surprised by the things you can see right in front of the shop. While at the surface, Kale (the previous blogger/DM/and now instructor) said “hey guys, there is an Eagle Ray right below us.” Even with the distraction, the guys and gal did a fine job. The skills I feared in my DM they not only had to demonstrate but also correct the other candidates who were playing, on Matthew’s account, difficult students and making typical mistakes. Here is one of the guys removing equipment off and putting it back on—it’s an important skill to have!

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It is carnival time in Cozumel!

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Meet Pollo with three precious girls.

After weeks of talk and preparation it’s finally here. Many roads are closed for the parade and local businesses are decorated with feathers and beads. Last night we had a little dress up party with friends visiting from Spain. It’s great to see the island full of life and people. The plaza is buzzing with attractions and local treats. Pollo, as usual, was a big hit in town with fans able to speak in only sounds “Awwwwwwwwwwww.” They still haven’t chosen a King and Queen; we are just warming up, the days to come, especially Fat Tuesday should be the big explosion and I’ll have lots to share…

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Look for more from Rada in the coming months. Welcome!

El Décimo Día de Enero – Water & Fire/Agua y Fuego

Kale is moving forward. Here’s his last post as a divemaster candidate! This is an edited version; you can read the full text of the original post here.

I am officially a Divemaster.

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Well, almost.  All of my paperwork and registration material still has to go through to PADI, but I’ve completed all the tasks required to take the first step in diving professionalism.  Therefore, it’s unofficially official – kapiche?

I finished last week off (Friday, the 4th) by conducting a mock class of Discover Scuba Dive students, consisting of Matthew and a freshly-hired instructor.  Had to go through the briefing, show them into the water as if they had never set foot in the ocean, and then spot delegated problems during skill demonstrations and correct them.

The following Monday, our assistants from the Rescue Diver course – Melina and Ken – came back to help with the infamous equipment exchange, where two divers must swap fins, masks, and the BCD (with scuba tank) while sharing only one regulator.  Matthew briefed us on what we’d be doing ten minutes prior to the actual test, and gave Melina and myself five minutes to discuss our plan of action.  We simplified it – mask first, fins second, BCD third – and hopped in the water after three.

Needless to say, we rocked it.  Taken out into roughly twelve feet of water, we were given the go ahead and began buddy-breathing; one person breathing off the regulator while the other removed equipment.  We traded masks and fins with ease.  Switching the BCD’s proved slightly more challenging, having to keep the regulator hose from getting twisted up, but we figured it out, ascended, and Matthew cut the skill.  We earned a solid 4 out of 5.  Sa-weet.

On Tuesday, I took on the role of an Open Water instructor and had to demonstrate five out of the twenty required skills with Matthew, Melina, and Ken once again.  Paralleling the mock DSD dive, common problems were delegated to my ‘students,’ which I would have to spot and remedy.  I demonstrated a variety of skills, like taking your mask off underwater, putting it back on, and clearing it; recovering your regulator; hovering above the ocean floor for thirty seconds controlled by your breathing alone; neutral buoyancy; and simulating a controlled emergency swimming ascent (or CESA), done by humming ‘aaaaah…’ while swimming horizontally for thirty feet.  The latter is a particularly important skill used if a diver happens to run out of air and must get to the surface.  Here I am making sure Matthew doesn’t pull anything funny.

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Yesterday was my last day.  I was given the responsibility of setting up the 8 a.m. boat, where seven other certified divers joined Matthew and myself.  I had to ensure all the right equipment was aboard – weights, belts, wristbands for the marine park, water, ice, snacks, scuba tanks – as well as make sure the divers were all accounted for.  When we took off, it was my decision to where would be diving that morning.  I asked the group what they would like to do, and chose Palancar Gardens – the first reef I dove at in Cozumel.  It was then my responsibility to brief everybody on the boat, and once we were in the water, my responsibility to guide.

Gotta say, it was a very interesting and enlightening experience taking on this role in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  All of a sudden I had seven people who were trusting me to guide them, in both terms of direction and professionalism.  It was difficult because I still don’t know the reefs that well, but with Matthew following from the back and shooting me signals on where to go, it went very smoothly.

With that first dive out of the way, we had a nice surface interval at a dock, where I got to talking with some of the people.  I was that much more comfortable when we set out for our second submersion, where I once again had to give the briefing and guide the dive. For my efforts, I was awarded with the sight of a gigantic moray eel, a coral-munchin’ sea turtle, and a nurse shark that swam right past me before our ascent out of the water.

And with that day behind me, my training was complete!

On the contrary to all this talk about water, Leah and I headed out yesterday evening to the main square.  We were meeting some friends – Ivan and Lezlie – who we had met on Sunday after they had put on a street performance involving fire-spinning.  We had approached them, asked questions about their fire toys (which were made by Ivan) and, upon mentioning that Leah spins too, were invited back so Leah could satiate her desire to light stuff on fire and whip it around her body.  So last night I had the absolute pleasure of witnessing – and capturing – my love do just that, alongside our young, talented new friends.

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More high-quality photos can be found on my flickr account.  Thanks ya’ll.

~KL

Día Número Veintisiete – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Kale’s adventure with us continues. Here is a post he created shortly after Christmas. This is an edited version; you can read the full text of the original post here.

Over the last 72 hours, I’ve been underwater – or at least sopping wet – for more time than I’ve been on land.  As a wonderful consequence, I come bearing many underwater photos, and some relevant subject matter.

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On Christmas day, I woke up and headed to the Blue Angel in hopes of catching one of the three boats leaving at ten.  I wasn’t surprised when I found out there wasn’t space for little ol’ Kale.  Undeterred, I sat down and waited for the horde of divers to clear out of the set-up area.  I had decided I was going to dive on Christmas, regardless of whether I’d be flying solo, with a group, off a boat, or walking in from shore.  It ended up being for the best, because as I walked over to grab my gear I saw a guy I had met at the Blue Angel Christmas Eve dinner the evening before.  A fellow British Columbian named Joe.  I asked if he was going on one of the boats.

Joe said ‘nope;’ he was going for a shore dive with two others, and I was welcome to come. I said sure! Two women showed up: May and Sharon? I asked them all if they had done any shore diving at all since they had been here.  I received a unanimous ‘no,’ and it was then revealed that May was an ex-instructor, but Joe and Sharon were inexperienced divers.  Because I had the strongest familiarity with the location, I took the role of leading the dive.

It was my first go at putting on the professional pants.  And I must say, when we came out of the ocean forty minutes later and everyone was buzzing with excitement and talking about how great the dive was, I felt truly satisfied.  I understood what I was in for.

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The next day Mr. Matthew had a large group of six doing their Peak Performance Buoyancy Dives, assisted by two other Assistant Instructors.  A camera was put in my hand and thus a photographer was born.  Essentially, my job was very easy, but I did get some good shots of the class as they completed the skills intended to maximize their efficiency underwater.  Controlled buoyancy, folks, it’s freakin’ important.

Matthew getting students to fill their masks with seawater, then clear them:

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A good way to practice buoyancy control: hovering upside down, using only your breathing to stay aligned, and knocking over a weight with your nose…

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Playing with the underwater frisbee:

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Matthew silently explaining an ‘out-of-air’ exercise (not part of PPB, but great to practice!):

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During our second shore dive, we went against the current for a good twenty minutes and then drifted our way back.  I managed to capture some of the craziness that followed, including this video and these photos:

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Naturally, I felt compelled to join them:

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Good fun all in all. 

~KL

Día Número Diecinueve Continuó – I Could Rescue You… Blindfolded.

As we noted in this post, Kale is currently with us for a few months while he moves toward his Instructor Development Course. Here is his newest post on our blog!

(Note this is an edited version of a post from Kale’s own blog; you can read the original full text of Kale’s post here.)

Kale, ready for his rescue diver training

It’s time to talk diving. I finished my Emergency First Response Course last week renewing some information on CPR I hadn’t learned since I was thirteen.  Practiced chest compressions on a dummy, learned how to provide primary and secondary care, and so on.  Wrote a little exam at the end of it all and became officially certified.  Woop.

I spent the next few days shore diving at Blue Angel Resort to increase my number of dives; the minimum requirement of dives before beginning the Divemaster program is forty.

After the EFR (and a multitude of shore dives) I began my Rescue Diver program.  The program seemed daunting at first, but when all was said and done I have an immense appreciation for what I learned.  It boosted my confidence in what I’m about to undertake as a Divemaster-in-training and changed my perspective of diving.  Essentially, it’s become real.  It’s no longer just about personal safety or task-managing, but constant awareness of everything and everyone in and out of the water.

The past Saturday (the 15th), Matthew and I went over some textbook work and then hopped in the water to practice some of the skills.  These included providing an alternate air source to a buddy low on air, learning how to approach divers – both tired and panicked – on the surface, and how to properly throw a line out to somebody who’s close enough to shore.  After we were done, I left with a disillusioned sense of accomplishment, not knowing what I had in store for me the next day.

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How is this relevant?  Well, I had been biking hard that day, spent over an hour in the ocean, and then topped off the night with a big dance session.  When I showed up the next day for Rescue training, my quadriceps were DOA. (Editor’s note: I snipped out the piece about the all-night dance off; read Kale’s original post for the full skinny!)

Matthew and I were joined by an older couple hailing from Washington state; another DMT named Melina and her instructor-certified husband Ken.  They were to simulate accident-prone divers, and I spent the better part of the afternoon learning how to properly respond to unconscious divers above and below the surface.  It was a challenge.  The currents had changed that day and were stronger than I had anticipated.

This meant while I was simultaneously providing rescue breathing, towing the victim to shore, and removing their equipment… I was also getting my ass handed to me by the strength of the ocean.  I came out that day feeling like a wet noodle.

However… every sore muscle in my body had lent itself to an incredible sense of confidence.  I had learned something vital.  Something real.  

Yesterday, the 17th, was the last day of training.  Ken and Melina joined Matthew and I again, and we took off on a couple more dives.  All three of them tested me in the knowledge I had acquired, running through different scenarios or situations.  Needless to say, I utilized what I had learned and officially passed the course.  I’ll be damned if that didn’t feel good.

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Today I completed the Emergency Oxygen Provider course. I learned how to assemble and disassemble the O2 tank and attach either the non-rebreather mask (for you weak breathers out there) or the pocketmask with the non-resuscitator demand valve, or both at the same time.

setting up oxygen kit blindfolded!

Then I had to do it blindfolded.

3 minutes and 20 seconds, baby!

Now on to the orientation for Divemaster!

~KL

Día Número Doce – Diving for Dummies & Turtle Souls

We have a diver with us from Canada – Kale – who is undertaking a life-altering experience. He comes to us as an Open Water Diver, and over the next several months, plans to upgrade his skills, experience and training and really take things to the next level: his Instructor Development Course. He’ll be posting here from time to time, and here’s his first entry!

(Note this is an edited version of a post from Kale’s own blog; you can read the original full text of Kale’s post here.)

Kale Beaudry and Matthew Atkins Advanced Open Water
Kale and Matthew

I am doing all my dive training with Matthew Atkins at the Blue Angel Scuba School in Cozumel, Mexico. My plan is to go all the way to become a PADI instructor. Prior to this trip, I was certified as an Open Water Diver (the most basic certification level) when I was in Belize almost three years ago. Since then, I have dove Caye Caulker, the Bay Islands, and some cenotes on the Mayan Riviera during my mother’s wedding last year. Before this past Friday however, I had not been diving for a year and half, and hadn’t been diving in the ocean since I was a lil travelin’ nineteen-year-old in Honduras… in 2010.

In order to become an Advanced Open Water Diver, you have to complete five specialty, or ‘adventure’ dives, two of which are mandatory. A specialty dive essentially offers a different experience or training option in regards to the underwater realm, and you have about 14 to choose from for this course. These include altitude diving, night diving, wreck diving, diving with a propulsion vehicle, underwater photography… and more. Deep diving and navigation are the mandatory dives, as they are fairly important, but whatever else piques your interest is up to you. The other options are intended to open a divers eyes to the possibilities. And if a diver intends on going all the way to instructor, it gives them an idea of what they can specialize in with further credentials.

Yesterday I got in the water, and let me tell you, I was head-over-heels in love with everything. I truly got to appreciate what we were doing, even during the ‘Navigation’ and ‘Search & Rescue’ specialty dives which were conducted from shore and consisted playing around with compasses and different search patterns.

It started raining as we finished yesterday, giving birth to this magnificent sunset that I had to capture and interrupt the informative nature of this blog post with.

Blue Angel Scuba School sunsetI woke up early today to get onto an 8 a.m. boat at Blue Angel Resort. Matthew and I were off to do the mandatory ‘deep’ dive, and to follow it with a drift dive. I was particularly excited for these because, although the shore diving is good, I hadn’t been in at depth since Honduras.

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Our first dive was at “Palancar Gardens,” and immediately after going through our dive briefing and buddy checks, we descended into the beautiful turquoise body that is the Caribbean Sea. We reached 95 feet below the surface, and had to maintain buoyancy for a minute or two while I gaped in awe at the immense coral structure that surrounded me from above and below. We then kicked off and found ourselves in a light current that took us in, out, and around the reef for the next hour. We stayed around 60 feet, witnessing the vibrant variety of Mexico’s sea-life, including numerous nurse sharks and turtles, one of which was close enough for me to peer into its eyes and directly into its turtle soul. Also, I could’ve touched it.

At one point of the dive I remember being so overwhelmed with the beauty of the sea and my privilege in it, and sweeping my arms out to the big blue void, thinking: “WHAT.”

“Tunich” is where the drift dive took place, and was equally spectacular. There’s something special about being caught in the ebb of the ocean and pushed along by an unseen wind. You’re able to observe the reef and everything around it by simply becoming one with the current. Very, very cool, and there’s so much more to come. The end of that dive marked the end of my advanced diver training…

Matthew is an excellent instructor. He’s a contact through an acquired family member of mine, and I can’t help but admire the passion he has for the education aspect. I know this is just the beginning but I can’t help feel I’m in good hands.

On to the Emergency First Response!

~ KL

Written by Kale Beaudry. You can read more about Kale’s adventures at his (almost) daily blog.