Changing of the Guard
As I stood in the bus station in Playa del Carmen last week rocking my American flag shorts, a lot of thoughts crossed my mind. The main one was how sad I was to see my friends leave to head either home or the XTC dive center, friends that I had basically spent every minute with in the past month. When you’re on base, these people become your family and so saying goodbye to some of them was pretty tough. The second thought I had was of my own month that I had spent in Mexico. I’ve never had a time of my life be so paradoxical with regards to time. While the month felt like it flew by faster than any other month I can remember, it still felt like the friends I made here I had known for years. We had one last group of guys sticking in Playa on Sunday night, and those of us heading back to base kept delaying our departure as late as we could to spend more time with those leaving.
Now that I’ve got the sappy stuff over with, I’d like to turn to the diving I’ve experienced here in Mexico so far. The first month was certainly a different sort of diving than I had done anywhere else, as it is much more “rustic” than the excursions I had been on prior. We push the boats out each morning, and the only way to get on the boat is to jump and haul yourself over the gunnel. Being a tall guy, many of my entrances aren’t what you would describe as graceful. A similar process happens when you get picked up, and the weather the first month wasn’t making any of this easier. We often had choppy waves and large sweeps that can make getting to the boat tiring. On some days it was just too rough get the boats out at all. Last week for our fun dive on Thursday, we were really on the edge of passable weather, but luckily had Sam “The Professor” Wilson at the helm and he navigated us through the chop like a surgeon (lab coat and all). That dive will also be one of the most memorable dives I’ll ever do, as we got a very free and unhindered look at the gorgeous site Hen’s Crack. As a few of us were starting our rescue course this week, I was a bit nervous about how our rescue scenarios would go with rough water like we had experienced for the entire preceding month. However we were in for a treat as the waves have smoothed out and today it was like pure glass which made our rescue exercises an extra treat.
Speaking of which, the rescue course is certainly the most interesting scuba course I’ve ever done. It really makes you a much more comfortable diver, because if you can handle one of your instructors suddenly lunging for your air supply or mask, then you can handle anything. I definitely feel that it’s an overall great course that makes you much more ready just in case a terrible situation arises. But it’s also fun to do and gets me one step closer to divemaster which is a personal goal of mine. We hope to finish the course sometime next week and get back to the science training dives.
To wrap this up I would like to reach out to all of our alumni of Pez Maya to stay in touch with one another, and remember all of the amazing times you had with these people. An experience like this is truly once in a lifetime and I would hope that at least some of us will meet up again someday. To Ben, Asia, Tommy, Ric, Nasnu, Nick and Georgi: I hope XTC is treating you well and you have had a swell first week. To Ant, Seb, Adam, Paige, Sam, Staff Ben, and Cora: I hope you have a great next adventure wherever it may be and look forward to hearing about it.
Cold beer on a Friday night,