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lschrage

AOS 12/5/04 Review Part 6

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I'm back!

 

Here's the cast of characters that went on the cruise with us, for those that have not been following along:

 

Myself - 35

Hubby - 36

BIL (Hubby's brother) - 35

SIL (Hubby's sister) - 34

Nephew (hubby's sister's son) - 6

Neice (hubby's sister's daughter) - 3

MIL - low 60's

 

Wenesday, 12/8, Curacao

 

Today, we wake up early since we (hubby, myself and BIL) are going to dive in Curacao. Before we leave for breakfast, the phone rings and it's my MIL telling us the BIL will not be joining us on our dive as he is in bed with a horrible cold. Sucks for him as I'm sure Curacao is better diving than Aruba, or so I've been told.

 

So hubby and I head up to the windjammer and have the usual breakfast and then head back to the cabin to pack our scuba gear. We head on out schlepping all of our gear. We waited for the elevator and ended being the ones in the very back. Well, I was wearing my BC out, and I leaned on the elevator rail behind me. Apparently, I had forgotton to dump all the water out of my BC when I was rinsing it off yesterday....When I leaned back on the rail, I accidentally pulled the "Dump Valve" (located on the back and on the bottom), and a good pint or so of water came whooshing out onto the elevator floor. Did I mention the elevator was full? Needless to say, everyone turned around and was staring at me "Hi. How ya doin?" was my response (although maybe I should have asked where the restrooms were to see what kind of reactions I would get...). Note to self: dump all water from BC in future to avoid future embarrasing situations. We bypassed security this time because we opted not to take the dive knives on this excursion.

 

Today's diving was booked through Caribbean Sea Sports located at the Marriott, which we booked through our local dive shop ahead of time. Once we were off the ship, we grabbed a taxi and headed to the Marriott. I believe it was only a quick 10 minute drive if that. We walked through the Marriott to get to Caribbean Sea Sports. The hotel property looked very nice, and I would have no problems staying there if I was visiting Curacao for a land based vacation.

 

We found Caribbean Sea Sports and filled out all the necessary paperwork. We went to pay the remaining balance and realized that yours truly left the credit card in the safe in our cabin. I tried using our credit card # to have them ring it through manually, but I had accidentally transposed two of the numbers in the middle, so it wouldn't go through. Ok. This is bad. How much cash did I bring? $95, but we owe them like $110, not including tip, and then we need cab ride back, which is another $15.

 

"No worries", said Berdy from Caribbean Sea Sports. "Just give us the cash you have, and we'll take you back to the ship". I realized now that it was agood thing BIL had to bail on this dive because we would have been hosed with all three of us there. I can assure you $95 would not pay for three people! Feeling really bad, and ever dumber, we went to load our gear up on their boat.

 

There were about 13 divers on this 2-tank outing, with 2 dive masters to watch over. They seperated out 7 of the advanced people with the one divemaster, and the 5 less experienced divers with the other divemaster (who sorta reminded me of Patrick Stewart from Star Trek).

 

We headed out to our first dive which was the Tug Boat dive, which has a reef wall nearby. The first group of seven divers went in, and then it was our group's turn. I descended without problem (got the weights right this time), and followed along. The visibility was so much better, and the reef life was much more impressive.

 

I followed along with no problem and looked at my depth. 86 feet. "Holy Crap!!!! How did I get to 86 feet so soon!!!" Everyone else was fine, though. However, my a little voice is going off in my head saying "Crap. 86 feet. That's really deep. That's alot of distance between you and the surface" And then I looked down and the reef wall kept going, as did some of the divers. And then I looked to my right, and there was this huge "wall" of blue water. "Acckkkkkk!!!". This is where I had to consciously figure out a way to calm down. I forced myself to look at the coral. As long as I was looking at the coral and had a point of reference to look at, I was ok. So I just looked at the coral, and forced myself to remain calm, which I did. I motioned to hubby that I wanted to go up a little bit. He agreed, but still stayed below me about 10 feet or so. I went back up to about 65 for a bit, and kept it there until the group came back up, and then stayed with the group as they ascended the wall.

 

Since the Tug Boat is submerged at about 15 feet of water, we were instructed to use that as our safety stop. It was very cool, although covered with snorkelers. Overall, the diving was awesome. Saw a ton of fish, even more coral, and quite a few eels. I'm sure I would have seen more had I been relaxed and able to focus on the marine life around me, rather than having to consciously focus on not panicking.

 

Got back in the boat, and the crew gave us sliced oranges to get rid of the salt water taste in our mouths. Hung out for a bit, and then wee were off in search of the next dive site. We stopped at 2 or 3 places, but the crew moved on because the currents were apparantly too strong. Finally, we ended up at a reef that is right outside the Dolphin Academy. We got our gear back on and hopped in the water.

 

For whatever reason, my dive computer was not reading my psi in my tank when I jumped in (I have an air-integrated dive computer that only is operating when it's wet). Also, the current was still incredibly strong (I had to hang on for dear life to the descent line so I didn't get carried away). Those two factors just added up to be too much for me. and I bailed on the second dive. Bummer.

 

Hubby stuck it out, and said that they were just sucking up air down there trying to stay in one place. So both divemasters had everone get together and ended up turning the second dive into a drift dive.

 

The crew felt bad for me, and said that they could fit me in their afternoon dive or one in the morning. I explained that I was on the ship, and couldn't stay any later.

 

Shortly after, everyone came back up, commented on the "swiftness" of the current, and started packing up while the boat headed back to the Marriott. We grabbed our stuff, headed for a bathroom break, and then went in search of Berdy to take us back to the ship.

 

We had a pleasant conversation with Berdy on the way back. He's been in Curacao for three years, having come from Holland. He loves what he does and is having a blast right now (I can see why). He explained that diving on Curacao and Bonaire are both wonderful. Curacao is just a little more developed than Boanaire, though. Aruba's diving, according to Berdy, is good for wrecks, not reefs. I would have to agree.

 

After thanking Berdy profusely, we take our stuff and haul it back on the ship. I put my BC on the security conveyer belt and go through the metal detector. While I'm waiting for it to be scanned. I hear another tell-tale "whoosh". Crap. I forgot to dump the water out of my BC again....

 

The security guy looked at me and then at the floor horrified. I smiled my "guilty but aren't I cute smile?", grabbed my BC and dashed off to the elevators faster than mightly mouse, hearing a request for housekeeping coming from the vacinity of where I just was. Oops. I've got to remember to dump that water!!!!

 

We headed up immediately to the Solarium showers again to rinse off our gear and then took it back to the cabin so that we could put it on the balcony to dry while we cleaned ourselves up.

 

After showering, we headed back to the Windjamer for lunch and then I dragged hubby back off the ship with me so that we could go into town for the last hour to walk across the floating bridge and to get a few more souvenirs.

 

We were out there for only about an hour, but man was it hot there!! Successfully found some t-shirts and tank tops for us as well as souvenirs for family.

 

Headed back to the ship, and almost got stuck on the floating bridge coming back. As it was about 4:15, and we needed to be on the ship by 5:00, I would imagine that it would be bad timing to get stuck on it. Well, we were in good company as there were quite a few other people panicking. Thankfully we made it to the other side, but they shut the gates before we could off. Ok....now it's time to panic. Luckily, the gates opened only a few moments later, and we were off like a flash.

 

We ran into hubby's family on the way back to the ship, and stopped to take some group photos. After that, we cleaned up and met the family back in the dining room for dinner.

 

Unfortunately, I don't remember what was for dinner, so it must have been fairly uneventful.

 

After dinner, the family hung out in our cabin for a bit, and then we ended up splitting up. BIL, SIL, and I went to check out Jesters (nothing happening that early), and then checked out the Royal Promenade. BIL then went to bed (since he still wasn't feeling well), and SIL and I went to watch Adventure Quest, which was really quite funny. We were in team #1, but didn't participate. We were only there to watch.

 

after that, it was time to collapse and call it a night. I was dog tired because of the day's diving adventures. Thankfully, tomorrow was a day at sea, which meant we could all sleep in in the morning.

 

Stay tuned for Part 7!

 

Lynne

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Lynne,

 

I have to admit that I totally ROTLFLOL reading about you dumping your BC in the elevator. I am wondering, did Berdy happen to mention how fast the current was moving at that second dive site?

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Berdy didn't mention it, but one of the divemasters did...

 

They said 3 knots, but not knowing any nautical terms, I have no idea what 3 knots translates to.

 

And if you think the elevator scene was funny...you should have been there. It was much worse! I can only imagine what the next batch of people who got on the elevator thought!

 

Lynne

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Well, at least they had a story to tell.

 

3 knots is a pretty swift current (about 3.3mph). We had that in Ft. Lauderdale last year for my first OW dive. Then, recently in Cancun, we had 4 knot currents. Yeah, we were moving! There was a strong surge as well.

 

I think it is a good idea that you used the Solarium showers to rinse off your gear. We have always struggle with the teeny shower in the stateroom. Will use the Solarium when we go in February.

 

Did you do any more diving on this trip?

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I think it is a good idea that you used the Solarium showers to rinse off your gear. We have always struggle with the teeny shower in the stateroom. Will use the Solarium when we go in February.

 

Did you do any more diving on this trip?

 

Actually, the Solarium idea was one that I had gotten from here on Cruise Critic. It worked out incredibly well as we could hang our wet suits on the railing next to the window while we were rinsing off the rest of the gear. By the time we were done, the wetsuits weren't drenched anymore. I'm sure our cabin steward was happy to have us rinse our stuff up there too!!

 

Unfortunately, we only dove on Aruba and Curacao. I really wanted to go shopping on St. Martin and we needed to spend some time on a beach or two with the family. I would imagine diving on either St. Martin or St. Thomas would be fairly anti-climatic after the fabulous diving in Curacao.

 

It actually worked out pretty well as it felt like two distinct vacations; one with diving, and the other one just hanging out. It was nice.

 

Lynne

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