Thursday, January 17, 2013

Full of Air (PDC Day 3 - Tuesday, Jan. 15th)

Tuesday, January 15th
We started the day early with some breakfast at the hotel restaurant, the Mayan Bistro. We made our way to the dive shop arriving at 8 a.m. We got ourselves and the equipment ready to go for the cenotes we would be diving. Everything was loaded in the truck and we were off. 

A SCUBA diver in full gear.
The cenote dives take a maximum of four people plus the dive master. We were diving with two men from the UK. They were nice and we chatted with them on the way to the dive site. The dive master was Andrea who is fabulous! I adore her, she's very personable and very knowledgeable  She is safety conscious, but balances it with the fun aspect of diving. It's clear that she loves what she does and that always makes for a more enjoyable experience.

After a bumpy ride down the entrance road, we arrived at the Dreamgate Cenote. We do two dives with an intermission between them. We first took our fins and mask down to the starting point of the dive. Dreamgate is located down a very steep ladder so you need both hands to hold on when you go down with the full equipment on your back - the BCD and the tanks. Therefore, you have to take the flippers and mask and whatever else you might need, such as a towel, before you are in full gear going down the steps.

The steps at Dreamgate Cenote.
We got our fins and such on the table and Andrea gave us the briefing that precedes each cenote dive. We headed back up and got our tanks on and went down the stairs. We had to walk backwards down the stairs because that was easier than going forward. Thankfully, my Dad had already dived this Cenote before so he gave me the helpful tip of going backwards. 

We got to the starting point and entered the water. The dive was beautiful as always! It's just amazing what is under the water in our world. We are not physically equipped to enter it, but Scuba gear allows us to see that incredible part of God's work that would otherwise be closed off to us. I am always in awe of this no matter how many times I dive. 

Dreamgate Cenote contains a lot of silt that is kicked up when you move your fins and this causes issues with visibility. Therefore, you must kick your fins like a frog. This is literally how we are told to do it. You would think I'd have no trouble kicking like a frog. But it is harder than it seems. I will have to practice this. 

As part of the first dive, we entered a cave structure where you can come up for air and see the roots of the trees growing into the ground. The roots stop just before the water. They sense the water and they quit growing right before they hit it. On one of the roots was a huge spider. There is life everywhere, even underground!

We continued the dive and then took our intermission out of the water. During that, I was talking to one of the gentlemen from the UK. Everyone has a story if you're willing to listen! Turns out this guy, who looked perfectly healthy, had been in a horrific car accident about four years ago. He was on a motorbike in Germany on the Autobahn and a car came onto the road and spun out of control across three lanes of traffic. The UK guy was going toward the car when this happened. He went over the car at 70 miles an hour and flew off the bike. He broke his neck and his left side was essentially shattered to the point where the doctors thought at first that amputation of his left leg would be the only option. Both his lungs were collapsed. 

He managed to recover from that and had a great story to tell about the kindness of strangers as well, but that will be shared another day. 

Parts of the Scuba Regulator
Back to diving - we started the second dive and it was gorgeous. About 5 or 10 minutes into the dive, I realized that something was wrong with my regulator. The air was coming out whether I was breathing it or not. With the regulator, the air comes out when you breathe in your mouth and then you breathe out through your mouth and the air escapes. In this case, I was getting a continual flow of air from the regulator. 

I realized what was happening and decided to ignore it. Had this been a longer or deeper depth dive, I would have alerted the dive master and in all actuality, that is what I should have done anyway. But, I knew I would have enough air for the duration of the dive and should there be a problem with low air, I could use my father's secondary air supply or the dive master's. So I didn't panic, I just continued on with the dive. Toward the end of the dive, Andrea (the dive master) realized what was happening and came up behind me to try and fix the tank. It didn't work, but I appreciated the effort. The problem with the air didn't bother me, the dive was gorgeous! I love the Cenotes, they are fascinating and always beautiful!

Once the dives were completed, we went back to the dive shop and then on to Subway for a light and filling dinner. We had a very fattening (and delicious) dinner on Monday so we decided to be a little conservative with the food on Tuesday. We talked for quite awhile at Subway. My Dad and I are lucky in that we are not just father and daughter, we are friends and we enjoy each other's company so we always have things to chat about.

We headed back to the hotel and I ventured out a little later for some late night snacks before coming back to the hotel and getting some much needed rest.

1 comment:

Emily said...

What an incredible story...and an incredible dive story as well. It sounds like you're having a great time!!!