Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Grand Cayman - Part 6

Sean and I drove to the beach at Coconut Harbour for his second shore dive as part of his course with Tortuga Divers. The beach was a slip of white sand in between a cove of rock with coconut trees. Very picturesque.

Julia was already there with her Aussie boyfriend, Brett, who was also a dive instructor. They were joking around about how some female tourist divers wore pink bikinis and were all flirtatious, and couldn’t be taken seriously as they unloaded all of the gear. I was thinking that I was glad I hadn’t worn mine. Brett’s accent was hot as were his rugged good looks. Julia was just a bit pudgy for my tastes, but cute none the less. Their plan was to swim out to a buoy in 30 feet of water, so I decided that I would try to keep them in sight. Everyone suited up, and the divers entered the water backwards to minimize fin wash.

I entered my usual way, walked in to thigh high water, put my fins on and swam off. The divers were already lost to sight. Where could they get to so fast? So, I paddled off in the direction of the buoy. Again, I saw the shoals of coral and sand as I had at Sunset House. In addition to many fish I had already seen, I saw a stop-light parrot fish in the red phase!

When I got out to the buoy, it was surrounded by interesting corals I had not seen. I free dove down the length of the chain it was moored with to get a closer look at the tube coral, like the ones Sean saw yesterday. I just about made it to the bottom.

Back up on top, I noticed the bubbles from a diver. So, there they were! But this diver was not wearing any gear I recognized. Then he was joined by three of his friends. There were too many divers to be my group. So I swam on ahead.

Then I saw something that scared the shit out of me. It was a huge barracuda. You know, folks tell you that they are harmless and that they won’t bite, but this thing was enormous! But it was on the bottom, guarding its territory; so I felt relatively safe. So I hung out watching it.

Then along came the four divers. The barracuda was on one side of this giant brain coral mound and the divers were unknowingly swimming up towards it on the other side. The barracuda began to flare its gills and gape its mouth open threateningly. The divers just could not see the barracuda from where they were. If they swam over the coral they would be right on top of the barracuda. They would have to swim up a bit to see it over the coral.

I began flailing to get the attention of any of the divers in the group. Finally the lead diver looked up at me and I gestured with my arms and hands a big length and pointed down repeatedly. He got the message and swam directly up and saw the barracuda. He quickly got the attention of the others and gave the thumbs up, let’s surface, signal. They didn’t understand why until they got up high enough to see the barracuda too. They shot lots of pictures of it and we all came out of the water together.

They were honeymooners and this was the story of their trip to Grand Cayman. They had never seen a barracuda and to see such a big one the first time! I had saved them and they all wanted their pictures with me. I also got to take their pictures. Meanwhile, Julia, Brett and Sean had come in. They had seen the barracuda too. Brett said that he did not think the barracuda would attack but he did say that it was bigger than me.

We decided to go for a beer and we all hopped into our Jeep with Sean at the wheel. Sean seemed giddy and backed right into a coconut tree. Julia determined that he had nitrogen narcosis from surfacing too quickly but would be okay after a short time. We all decided that someone else should drive, even though Sean said that he felt fine. The damage wasn’t that bad to the Jeep. Remember that kiddies: Friends don’t let friends drive with nitrogen narcosis.


Mike said...

It's funny Ive always wanted to scuba dive but I can't swim.

Sue said...

You should learn to swim. There is nothing to it. Snorkeling is even easier because the salt water holds you afloat and the mask and snorkle make it a snap to breathe. Add a wet suit and it is impossible to drown. Mike you gotta do it!

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