So I am going to simply pick one dive to tell you about.
Why just one dive? There will always be time to write about the other amazing dives, and if any of our Bahamas adventurers wish to submit their own story-experience here, then by all means, fill your boots (send to: firstname.lastname@example.org). Share away. As winter sets in, we sometimes suffer a bit from lack-a-scuba-itis, so reading about your diving experiences actually helps soothe this trial period.
The Washing Machine Video
It seemed this week on the Aqua Cat, that I popped up from every dive exclaiming, “That was the best dive ever!” ...and the “Washing Machine” was no exception.
What is the “Washing Machine”? It is a drift dive that is the stuff of fairy tales. Well, maybe a scuba diver’s fairy tale, anyway. The current runs between two islands here, and a bowl shaped area has been eroded away where the current turns around on itself; where divers delight in a good tumble.
To begin the dive, all divers must be ready at the same time, lined up to 3 dive deck exits at the stern of the boat; so much like little para-troopers, we count down to the jumping phase, and then DIVE, DIVE, DIVE! One after another, we jump in, negatively buoyant, and begin to drift. The water is swift, our buddies are all around us, and there is the distinct sensation of flying like Superman. We are Supermen. Or Superpeople. Whatever. What a feeling.
After a couple of kilometres of “flying” through water, listening to our meditative breaths in, and our bubbles out, we encounter the Washing Machine itself. The current is strong, and turns back on itself in the carved out “bowl”, and I can see my Superbuddies in front of me starting to do somersaults in the churning water. I enter the arena and I’m immediately tumbled in circles, pushed down low, then sucked up high, and as I laugh through my regulator I am vaguely aware of my computer complaining about the crazy ups and downs, “Beep beep beep beep beep!” it complains. After thirty to forty seconds we are spit out the other side to continue our relaxing flight through water.
Along the way, we come across a stingray buried in the sand. The current is much lighter here so we hover to take pictures, and I can see his stinger tail slightly elevated and rigid in warning. After tolerating a few seconds of this he decides it is time to relocate, and gracefully turns and swims away.
Then I spot a small reef shark approaching. Just a leisurely swim today, he sails past without a second look.
And THEN, wonder of all wonders, there is a turtle. A loggerhead, I think, although some of you may correct me if I’m wrong (see video). He is resting under a coral head with two remoras. Looking like a very relaxed dude, he simply observes us for a while as we video tape. I am amazed at how close I am to a turtle - I have always wanted to see this - most of my turtle viewings have been very fleeting. This was just incredible! He too gets tired of the attention (I’m sorry dude, we just love you so much), and swims away to a place where divers may not follow. Soon, dive leader Diego gives the signal it is time for our safety stop, and it is with some regret that we all grasp the line when it is time to ascend. We pop up shouting, “That was the best dive ever!” or if you are Bree, “I’ve seen everything on my list now, that was amazing!”
I’m jonesing for more. Counting down the days until we are there again...
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