Sunday, July 6, 2008

Diving Bonaire

It was so nice to get away for a week. We've been really lucky so far that we have gotten to take a diving vacation every year since we got married. So far Two Fish and I have been to: Puerto Rico, Fiji, Maui, Little Cayman, Bikini Atoll, and now Bonaire. We feel pretty spoiled. It's definitely going to be harder to take all these fun trips now with kids but Red Fish really loved it. She is quite the little water baby. She loved walking down to the dock and looking at the fish. She got to swim in the pool everyday and spend time with her grandparents and Uncle J. She got alot of attention and plenty of playtime.

Bonaire is a beautiful place to dive. We stayed at Buddy Dive Resort right on the water. We were with a group of 58 people, most of whom live nearby us. We had unlimited diving and there was a great reef right on the dock off the resort. We did quite a few boat dives and would have liked to do more shore diving but Two Fish was kind of sick while we were there.

The corral reefs in Bonaire are really beautiful and colorful. Most of the diving is just right off the island so there were no long boat rides. There was minimal current and alot of life on the walls. One of my favorite dives was 1,000 steps. It was a shore dive but you have to walk down a big stone staircase to the beach. Even the walk down was really beautiful.

We were working on our extended range and trimix diving while we were there. They are both technical certifications that basically it allows you dive deeper and longer. Both nitrogen and oxygen become toxic at certain depths and pressures so we were training to use trimix - a gas mixture that replaces some of the oxygen and nitrogen with helium. This translates to good news for me because I have a tendancy to get "narked" at any depth past 130 feet. (130' is the recreational dive limit so most people don't ever surpass that depth.) In other words the nitrogen has such a narcotic effect on my brain I can barely function on deep dives. Everyone is effected at different depths in different ways depending on their genetic makeup.

While we were in Bonaire we decided to do one of our training dives on the Wind Jammer, a wreck that sank the same year as the Titanic. We had to get special permission from the government to dive on this wreck. The best part of the wreck was seeing the crows nests and masts that are still attached. I was less than thrilled about the entry though. We had to walk across the rocks wearing double tanks bolted to a steel backplate on our backs and two decompression tanks strapped to the front of us. Then was a nice relaxing swim through five foot waves for a good half a mile. The dive down to 180' was colorful but a little stressful because of some disorganization. Then during the shore exit I fell wearing my tanks and a really struggle standing back up with all that weight on. But all in all it was successful and I'm definitely converted to the virtues of trimix. It's much more fun to dive deep with a clear head. I'm still a little wary about the fun part of the more advanced technical classes but I do love diving, I loved Bikini Atoll, and with the diving peer pressure in my family it was inevitable. I'm just hoping for easier entries and more exciting dives.


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