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Friday
Feb262010

Diving in St. Martin: take one

Location: Octopus Diving, Tintamarre, St. Martin

Rating: 5 Fins out of 5

 

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned...

What is it my child?

It's been almost 10 years since my last dive. 

As penance, you must dive at least 5 times while you are in St. Martin...

Yes, it had been almost 10 years since my last dive. I'm not proud of it. There's no excuse for it, though I will say that since Steve doesn't like to dive, it's not as though I've had a strong impetus to get out there. I never realized just how long it had been. 

Luckily I had been out drinking with a couple of the divemasters from Octopus Diving a few nights ago, and was smart enough to ply them with pain au chocolats and croissants this morning before our 8am dive. They were extremely kind and understanding, and just fantastic. It's amazing how hard it is to feel comfortable diving when it's been so long! I had a complete panic attack when we first got in the water at Tintemarre. Unlike the first time I went diving in Hawaii and got a bit freaked out, and no one noticed, this time both divemasters were great - Stu talked me down the rope (with his eyes, of course ;), and Aure held my hand while we dove until I was comfortable again. Once I was actually down, I remembered what I love about diving. 

It was amazing. We went out to Tintamarre, which is a small island off the coast of St. Martin, and hit a spot that usually is too rough to dive. There is a large tunnel you can go through (the first few pictures were actually taken by Stu with my camera while I was still getting comfy), but even if you don't hit the tunnel, the reef is spectacular. We saw barracuda, lobster, pufferfish, and so much more.

The best was a purple flounder that we saw during our second dive at Spanish Reef, though the barracuda and pufferfish were way cool as well. I'm thrilled with how well my new underwater camera case worked, and can't wait to get back down there to take more pictures.

The amazing thing was just how strong the current was; even a few hours after returning from the boat, I'm feeling the waves. Of course, that could be attributable to Alain plying me with wine all afternoon at the pool, but I don't think so.

I can now conclusively say I no longer think it's a good idea to buy a boat and live on it.

I'd never make it. The swells picked up after the first tank, and I almost hurled by the time I went down for the second dive. It's a good thing you can puke in your regulator if you have to (luckily it didn't come to that... but it was close). 

Though it wasn't the most comfortable thing I've done in a while - I definitely don't like feeling trapped underwater - I will say that it was worth it. I don't want to let myself get discouraged because I was a big wuss this morning. I need to conquer my fears...

The one thing I will say is that I will definitely be diving with Octopus again. Those guys were just the best. They only take out a few divers at a time, so it's a really manageable group, and they have a comfortable, fast boat that gets you where you want to go quickly. They just take care of everything, and make it all so easy.

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