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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pez maya- new people, dive courses, ligthning storm!

The past two weeks have been the first for the new five weekers in Pez Maya and have marked a big change for everyone else on base. While the ten weekers went to Playa for their long weekend on the 6th (and to say a fond farewell to the friends they’d made), the new volunteers were setting up their mosquito nets and discovering the volleyball pitch.

Ten weekers – During each phase volunteers staying for the full time get a long weekend at the half way point. For us this meant party in Playa on friday night. The rest of the weekend consisted of some well deserved R&R (mostly eating, sleeping and internet) before heading home to meet the new hut mates.

Five weekers – Everyone arrived on Friday in good spirits, eager with anticipation for what was to come. We sat that night in the communal area introducing ourselves and getting flocked by hungry mosquitoes. The next morning came straight away, and we were regaled with information about our stay in Pez Maya. We were all ready to dive into the motions but were stifled by rain which lasted the whole day. It was a bonding experience to play volleyball in rain puddles, open coconuts and share a meal, and laugh and mingle with new people. The first weekend in our new home seemed an eternity but we soon realized how fast paced life could get.

Having all begun to settle in to our new routine the first week shot by in a blaze of sunshine and calm seas; meaning two dives a day! Studying for fish and coral got underway (while sleeping in hammocks) and a few volunteers tried to hack their way into some coconuts. By the end of the week everyone had got the hang of base duties, radio, compressor and the overwhelming tropical heat. Plus all the newly trained divers finished their Advanced Open Water courses making everyone on base certified divers.

This week opened with a sighting of a bull shark just off the beach in front of the base. Everyone returned from the Sunday off recharged and ready to get back into the water. The new five weekers have gotten relatively used to living in Pez Maya and have come to appreciate the charms that the base entails with its conservative ways of life that save vastly more water, electricity, and other things that daily life in a city is frivolous about. As everyone has settled into what duties to do and the rules of base, the time spent has been focused on the pleasures of being on a reserve, searching for aquatic life underwater, appreciating newfound friends, and soaking in the effervescent natural beauty that Pez Maya has to offer. Last night we had a massive lightning storm close enough to base that several of the staff feared for their lives (the volunteers were less cowardly). Turns out there’s some non-diving friendly weather heading our way making it the perfect time for the weekend…