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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Advanced open water started, exciting sighting and lion fish disection!

Well this week didn’t get off to a great start. Turtle festival was sadly mostly rained off, however they powered through the opening ceremony and a few of our volunteers spent the evening playing conservation games with local children. The terrible weather meant no diving for four and a half days and everyone’s feet getting soggy and sore. After numerous films and a solid four hour stretch of playing president, the cabin fever finally got too much so a swift escape to Playa Del Carmen for a debaucherous weekend was had by most. One number amongst us got a little too excited but, even so, a wonderful weekend back in ‘civilisation’ was had by all who attended. Those who stayed behind got to enjoy a calm and relaxing time on base without some of the more hyperactive members of our team.

Luckily Monday brought with it diving weather and we haven’t stopped since! Two dives a day have started, exhausting but so worth it. Advanced Open Water (AOW) has begun (to be finished hopefully today J) with us all becoming neutrally buoyant pros. Matrix fighting and underwater racing has definitely helped. Today we did  
out deep dives down to 30m, the last task in completing AOW. As if the prospect of Nitrogen narcosis wasn’t going to make the dives interesting enough, two of our more self confident staff members decided to conduct the dive in mankinis. A sight first thing in the morning that I think many of us look forward to never seeing again. As for more enjoyable sightings this week we have seen several kinds of turtles, a tropical ray, southern sting rays, a spotted eagle ray (!), a nurse shark, moray eel and some massive crabs and lobsters. We were also fortunate enough to have a lion fish caught and brought back to base. We dissected it which was a real education, analyzed its stomach contents and then all got to try a bit as it was cooked up with lime and chilli. Most people are on base this weekend so its party time once more…..lets just hope the mankinis stay packed away.