After a day of a guided snorkel tour of Silk Caye with SPLASH Dive Center in Placencia, Belize, I was convinced to try out a Discovery Scuba in Glovers Reef slightly further north in the Caribbean.
My neighbour on the beach, Henri (from Denmark) helped with the arm twisting to join them diving, and well, I was intrigued either way. The benefit of diving at Glover’s, is that it is a 3 tank dive day, which means, and extra tank dive for me.
Glover’s is over a hour away from the peninsula to the NE, while on the ride over (early enough in the morning to see the sun rise), my Instructor Michael gave me a few briefings about the equipment, what we were going to do, what we could see, and went over some of the skills we would be doing as soon as I was comfortable in the water.
The boat dropped us off at a nearby island, along with the snorkelers for the morning, as the rest of the divers headed out into the open sea on the other side of the reef.
Michael was very patient in getting me under the water, with me popping up quite often, getting used to breathing compressed gas, tricking my brain into thinking that breathing underwater is ok, and getting my gear sitting comfortably (it was constricting my diaphragm originally when I put it on. I put the waist band lower and it was much better.)
After a few attempts at staying a few feet under water, we started on a few drills, like regulator recovery, using the BC inflator, sharing air, as well as hand signals.
We then went and worked on propulsion and trim, and consequently, a little bit of navigation. Michael couldn’t remember where we dropped the weight belt for the diver buoy. I quickly found it once I realized we were secretly searching for it while navigating the mighty 10′ waters.
The boat came back with the rest of the divers from their first trip, full of talk over some rays and turtles they spotted on the wall.
They were all wondering how the morning has gone for me as well.
A quick SI for the divers and we were all underway to the sea. Now, I won’t lie, I was quite nervous watching everyone do a back roll off of the boat infront of me. But that quickly subsided when I effortlessly fell backwards on cue into the water.
Michael and I headed down into a shallower area than all the rest, bottoming out at 30 feet. When we reached depth, we quickly saw a flounder half out of the sand as we headed to our target, a slight coral garden in the shallow sands.
While getting there in short grass, we saw quite a few southern sting rays, and a hawksbill turtle in the distance. We also practiced some of the drills we did earlier in the shallows
When we reached the corals, I quickly realized the main difference at looking at fish from diving vs. snorkelling. You can actually see the fish close up, they don’t scare as easy, and most of all, you get to see them from the sides (much like in an aquarium).
After looking at many kinds of reef fish, which Michael wrote down on his fisher price kids magnetic toy, we met up with the rest of the divers coming into the shallows.
Once we saw them, we noticed they found something quite spectacular … so much so that they spent quite a few minutes looking at the broken, dead coral. Once they left, it was quite obvious they found a Bat fish. Quite a weird looking fish, with a snout, ‘wings’ and what looks like legs and feet!
Well, quickly after that I started running low on air and we surfaced to the boat, and everyone else already in it.
Bottom Time: 50 minutes
Max Depth: 30 ft
Water Temp: 28C
Vis: Caribbean …. Lots!
More fish, including a large barracuda that accompanied us for most of the dive. He left in a rush about half way through, and shortly later we came across him, getting his gills cleaned out. We drifted past him and he joined us for another few minutes before disappearing again. We saw quite a few turtles on this dive, swimming around the corals and through the troughs.
Bottom Time: 50 minutes
Max Depth: 40 ft
Water Temp: 28C
Vis: Caribbean … Lots!
Looking at Michaels pressure gauge after both dives made me very envious. As I used up most of my tanks, he barely used 1/3 of his. Thinking about it, I never noticed him breath …. maybe he is part fish ….