Out of Air

No one ever promised us that SCUBA diving would always be all smooth sailing, that’s why we took classes. That’s why we review the text book before our trips. However all the prepping can’t prevent issues with rental gear. We decided to take it slowly with our investment into our own SCUBA equipment and only purchase a few things at a time. The rest we rent from our outfitter, usually the stuff is fine but heavily used. Well poor Josh got the short end of the functioning gear stick this time.

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On our first three dives he experienced issued that could have been bad had he not remembered his training. On our first dive the tank came lose from Josh’s BCD, when he knew something was wrong he signaled me to look and come fix it. On our second dive his regulator, that wonderful device that allows us to breath underwater, started to “free flow”. Air was pushing through the mouthpiece without Josh drawing it in. This can shorten a dive by draining the tank and there is a constant flow of bubbles in front of your face. After trying what he knew to fix it, he signaled the dive master and they were able to get it back to normal. Neither of these issues are life threatening but scary. However on our third dive something a serious did happen. The needle on his air gauge got stuck, he didn’t notice at first. The reading was matching his accent and air usage. While at a safety stop to “off gas” he knew something was wrong. The gauge hadn’t moved and his air was dragging in. Quick thinking, he signaled the dive master and hooked up on backup air to safely make his assent. After we were back on the boat, his gauge read correctly. His tank was empty .

We are enjoying our dives even after these issues and nothing else has happened. The photo above I shot with my camera using a borrowed housing. I’m thrilled at how these early attempts are coming out and know they will only get better from here.

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AHHHHHHH

I’m happy to report that after three days in Cozumel and four dives we are healthy and not sunburned, yet! These are both a bit of a feat, us Midwesterns have skin like glistening ivory in the Mexican sun and Josh had his tank come loose durning a dive. Thankfully he remembered the proper hand signals and I was able to fasten it back on. No, he didn’t just flap his arms around.

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We are certainly enjoying the water.

Making More Bubbles

 

Josh and I have a fancy new toy to take on our trip to Cozumel, a Dive Computer from Oceanic. When we decided to pursue SCUBA diving as a hobby we also decided not to rush into buying a bunch of gear. As each trip has progressed we have a better idea what types of equipment we like and want to buy instead of renting. I would certainly prefer to have my own things but there is still a breakpoint between having to travel with this stuff and just renting it. The decision to get a dive computer stems from our comfort level in the water and wanting to extend our experience. Right now we rely on using dive tables and conservative measurements of our guilds. While it is recommended that each diver have their own computer, we just purchased one. I am usually at a not at the same depth as Josh and his times will be fine for me. He eventually wants to get a different style of dive computer, one that will be integrated with gear that we have yet to purchase. At that point I will inherit this wrist mounted one.

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I wrote this post last night and today we are going to a dive shop just for one more look at a few other pieces of equipment before our trip. Who knows what they might have on sale that fits our needs.

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Thank you to Josh’s parents for giving us the funds to make this purchase possible, a very generous Christmas gift.

The Right Stuff

If you were going a six-month long trip how would you pack? How would you predict what events and happenings would be coming your way? How would you plan for the changing seasons? How would you plan for what hobbies might present opportunities out there, away from your stuff. That is the subject of today’s Travel Tuesday. What stuff gets to come and what has to stay.

When Josh and I hit the road three years ago we had a house, hobbies and a life filled with stuff. In hindsight those things might have been a reason we decided to take this job. The amount of possessions that were accumulating and “hobbies” that were filling our time was not enjoyable. It was stress. In the first year we traveled each trip back to the Twin Cities also included a trip to Goodwill. It was hard at first but soon it was liberating to unload. When you have room for those old hiking boots, instead of getting rid of them they get put onto a shelf and forgotten about. Living a truck that does not happen, if you don’t use it you lose it. As for hobbies, the activities you truly enjoy doing are often ones that require no gear and if there is a special item or two then most likely you don’t mind packing it around.

We have a good load of backpacking gear that we keep in the trailers’ storage boxes. Josh has a fishing gear out the wazoo, at least in my opinion. You can’t go to the beach without the proper accessories, right? This all leads to me our newest hobby, SCUBA diving. We are still new to the sport and didn’t want to invest a bunch of cash plus have to find a place for the gear. Well this is break point, if we want to dive in non-resort areas we will have to buy some gear. In resort areas you can rent everything, but most local dive shops (ei…. In Houston) only rent the big stuff. So while we had four days off with plenty of time for a dive, we don’t own the gear to do it. I guess we’re might just have to take a “Giant Step” into this one.

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

The Belize Chronicles – Birds

I’m thrilled to share with you even more shots from our vacation. Shots that were lost and have been found!

For lunch during the full day dive trip we stopped at Half Moon Caye Natural Monument Park. This is home to a bird sanctuary for the Red Footed Booby. Josh was kind enough to tromp to the lookout with a zoom lens. Here are some of the wonderful images her was able to capture.

In honor of the birth of a litter of sweet Scottie puppies over at Rocky Creek, I wanted to make sure and share this fuzzy little guy.

As you can see they put on quite a show for visitors

I just think that Josh did a wonderful job capturing the moment here.

The Belize Chronicles – More Pics

Today a wonderful thing happened, we found the lost SD card containing all of our vacation photos.  I would like to share a few here that would have been in other posts.

The dive shop we used for most of our trip

My graceful exit from the water

The wonderful team of diver instructors and crew

Just could not pass up the opportunity to share this one.  I’m not sure what I like better the mustache or the hat but both just keep us giggling

The Belize Chronicles – The Dives

So I lost the SD card that contained all of our vacation photos, I’ll write about that next week, however thanks the great folks at ZAO I was able to recover many. The ones that were not recovered were most of the dive shots. So I have none of the great shots of us in the water with gear or with our dive instructors. Oh well let’s move on.

When we went to Belize, we went to SCUBA dive. That is just what we did, 11 dives in 5 days. How do you put into words the most amazing, mind blowing and spiritual event of your life? Yeah, there are no words to describe how much I love diving and my love pales in comparison to Josh. We have honestly found a calling, diving will for some time be a part of our lives.

After a week of enjoying coral reefs and amazing schools of fishes we were ready for the big boys, Blue Hole. On our 8th dive we fed sharks and Josh touched one. I just was a little too scared. Shark petting is not for this Midwestern girl. They were so cool to watch, the way they move is fascinating.

On our last dive day we forked up the big bucks to take an all day charter that included meals and three dives. The first was to Blue Hole, a once dry cave full of stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. Now crazy people like us dive to 140 ft below sea level to see them. You can only be down at that depth for about 8 minutes. While down there we saw at least 10 shark, reef and Caribbean, sniffing us out. No I do not taste good thank you! One reason for the sort dive is that the deeper you go the more air you use. At our safety stop I had to hook onto the back up air tank, I guess I suck, lol. On our final dive we stayed along a reef wall, it drops to depths of more than 3000 ft. So while you are enjoying the fish and coral you are also surrounded by deep dark blue. At one point we were joined by an Eagle Ray, it actually does look like it is sourcing. So beautiful hovering across the emptiness.

Josh made a friend while we were diving one day, a grouper fish. They had a chat waiting for the rest of us to come down. That grouper followed Josh the entire time, pointing out stuff to look at. I think our dive master must have slipped him a $20.