SCUBA


8
Jul 19

We were in Roatan, Honduras

Welcome back. This is what has been going on the last few days. We skipped town a week ago Friday night and went to Indianapolis. We had a pizza and stayed in a hotel where a travel baseball team, full of youth and life and energy and dance party ideas, was staying. Ordinarily that’s not a problem, but we had an early flight to catch.

Which we did! We caught a plane! Bare hands and everything! And so the fly flew us to Atlanta. And then another plane flew us to Roatan, Honduras on Saturday afternoon. A couple of nice guys took our luggage and we got on a shuttle bus which drove us across part of the island to our resort. On the way we met the most obnoxious child in the world. The resort is a small place, so you tend to see the same people over and over. And we saw that kid, Evie, and her adults over and over throughout the week. She didn’t improve much. Or any, really. It would have been cute if she’d had Little Orphan Annie’s charm, but that role has been cast. And while I would never say anything out loud, I really wanted to say Evie’s Mom “I’d never be one to tell a person how to parent, but you should start.”

The teen years are going to be tough, and the adult years may not be any better. Pretty much everyone that had the displeasure came to this conclusion.

But that’s a person, and we were on vacation. This is a dive trip, and the resort, Anthony’s Key, is great. It’s a dedicated dive resort, which is growing out its family things. So you can take the whole family! (No Evies allowed!)

We signed in on Saturday afternoon, got our luggage and took a quick snorkel before dinner. I saw three starfish in those few minutes:

On Sunday we started diving. Three dives a day. Two in the morning, one in the afternoon. And I made a new grouper friend on one of those first dives:

And then The Yankee made friends with a turtle:

Here are some more clips from our first dives:

There’s a lot more to get through and show off over the course of the rest of this week. Maybe longer. Just remember to keep an eye on your gauges.

In the meantime, we have pictures!

Do you see the little white fish below? He’s also in the video above.

There’s beautiful coral around Roatan. I found I could stare at it for the entire sequence of dives.

But if you’re here for the fish …

This one is me. I am not a fish:

The Yankee is at least part fish, though:

On Sunday we went wreck diving:

Sitting at 110 feet under the surface is the Odyssey. The freighter, at 300 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 85 feet tall, is Roatan’s largest wreck dive, and one of the larger ones in the Caribbean, as well. It was sunk for divers in 2002. People see grouper, barracuda, tuna and sometimes sharks. We saw grouper and one barracuda, later in the dive I caught a glimpse of a tarpon.

But the coral formations are lovely.


20
May 19

Spend a day on the bottom of a pool, get philosophical

I began SCUBA diving as a teen. It was *goes into my wallet to dig out my C-card … * a lot of years ago. Since then, I’ve explored ship wrecks. I’ve swam with turtles and manatees and barracuda. I’ve swam with dolphins in the wild. I’ve caught reef sharks with my bare hands. I’ve been all over the Gulf and the Caribbean and in parts of the Atlantic. I’ve dived ponds and rock quarries.

Saturday the guy that runs the local dive shop let The Yankee and I jump into a high school pool with some of his tanks after his morning class wrapped up. I’ve never dived nothing, though I’ve always wanted to. Just me and a tank and sit on the bottom. There was nothing to see, no place to go. It was great, peaceful, fun. Of course I’d do it again.

Speaking of wildlife, this morning I discovered we’ve got a new colleague at the office:

If you work in a big building, as I do, make sure you rotate through the many doors for entrances and exits. That’s both metaphor and practical advice. Sure, perspectives and all that. If you do, though, you’ll see new things, like that guy, all the time.


15
Jan 15

SCUBA diving in St. Maarten

The currents were up — but the locals said the waters were actually, finally, calming down. These were some of the hardest dives I’ve done in a long time, if ever. I sucked oxygen like I haven’t in years, if ever.

They were also some of the best dives I’ve done. Sharks, rays, turtles, eagle rays, eels and all manner of smaller fish, all in one dive.

Almost everyone on the dive boat got sick. Except for us.

The people that got sea sick may disagree, but these are the dives you really look forward to.

This is Peter Stuyvesant, the last governor of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. (That’s New York. It is a long shot, but the man conceivably knew my ancestors there.) Previously he’d run things in Curacao and then tried to take St. Maarten back from the Spanish in 1633. It offered a strategic harbor and salt, and the Dutch failed miserably in getting the Spanish off the rock. But Stuyvesant took 13 ships, landed in March of 1644, notified the Spaniards and planted his flag. The Spanish fired on the flag and Stuyvesant was wounded and his right leg ultimately was amputated. He’d become known as Peg leg Pete and he’d watch his comrades sail away from St. Maarten in defeat a month later.

Maarten

After surrendering New Netherland to four ships of 450 British troops, he stayed on in New York as a private citizen, dying there in 1672. He was a strict Calvinist and a big believer in education. Everything I’ve read about him makes him seem rather harsh, but the 17th century often was. He’s buried in The Bowery — which is, apparently, an anglicization of Bouwerij, which is Dutch for farm, and also the name of Stuyvesant’s 62-acre property that stretched up to Harlem. (I’m going to have to read a history of New York City now, aren’t I?)

Anyway, diving in St. Maarten was a challenge, the visibility wasn’t the best because of the currents and the silt, but the views were great. Great place to dive. Watch the video.


9
Jan 15

Diving Bonaire

We saw a great show with a juggler on Red Bull and speed last night. He was a bit like a young Robin Williams, even worked through the crowd twice. I have some video and will upload it later. Anyway, today, we walked off the ship in beautiful Bonaire and there was Pete, the juggler, who decided to go diving with us.

He sat down next to me in this little place:

dive shop

In my experience, this is exactly how dive shops should look.

Pete Matthews is a nice guy. Says 70 percent of his act is written and the rest is ad libbed, and that his stage personality is him turned up to 12. (You’ll see.) He’s also funny when he’s not working and is giving, willing to let a dive boat of pretend comedians try a joke on him. He’s also a fine diver.

Our dive video:

Going back aboard in Bonaire, we saw this dairying vessel. Kruise Mor Cows:

Tomorrow, another fine day on the water.


8
Jan 15

Diving Curacao

We’re here:

Curacao

We saw a moray, two Pterois, or lionfish, nice corral and a bit of every other small thing on two nice, calm shore dives.

And then we took in a bit of the scenery, walking over what is supposedly the longest floating pedestrian bridge in the world, the Queen Emma, which is more than 500 feet long and opens for boat traffic.

The video:

Enjoying the late afternoon breeze:

Curacao

First good shot of the whole ship:

Curacao