Day 1: first dive, plane wreck, and the baths 


This morning we woke up to the sound of rooster calls at 5:30 after a surprisingly but pleasantly cool night. After packing our day bags we met at Doc and Von’s cabin for breakfast. We got plenty of eggs, cereal, and sausage before walking to the main road for the drive to the boats. Soon enough, we were fitted with gear and on our way aboard the Sea Monkey. The trip to George Dog island took about 25 minutes. After mooring, we were given a recap of diving basics from hand signals to how not to follow a dive leader to the practice exercises we would do on the first dive of the trip. Our instructor did include a 10 minute no mask swim, which I was worried about until the dive was over and I realized it was a joke. When I first jumped in I was astounded by the clarity of the water and all of the life that I could see. The depth was only about twenty feet, not much at all compared to the sites I would dive later that day, but it was spectacular. Being able to see the bottom, coral, and fish from the surface made it feel like I was standing on a glass floor looking down through air. My dive buddies Will and Henry, another dive group, our instructor Beth, and I descended along a rope to the sandy bottom and did our dive skills. After we finished, she took us towards shore and we toured the coral reef. I could not believe the diversity of life and amount of activity we saw. I saw squirrelfish, arrow crabs, hermit crabs the size of coconuts, and a lizardfish that let us get inches away from it just to name a few. We also saw a huge assortment of coral like brain coral, staghorn, and elk horn. After what felt like a very short dive, we ascended back to the boat. As soon as everyone had boarded the boat, we took another short trip to the next dive site. After a few snacks and a couple bottles of water, we jumped in on our second tanks. This time, the depth was 50 feet. I was fascinated by other groups of divers swimming slowly below is and the immensity of the plumes of bubbles that ascended to the surface behind them. The scene felt surreal. The descent took some effort on my part because I had trouble equalizing but after a few minutes I was able to make it to the bottom. The highlight of this site was a “plane wreck”. It was a small passenger plane sunk in 1997 to create an artificial reef. After 18 years, I was surprised to see how slowly the coral had grown. Nearly every inch of metal had some form of life attached to it but it had not grown to be dense or tall. That helped me appreciate the other natural corals’ size and how old it meant they must be. After swimming through the airplane, an eerie experience, we explored more of the reef and picked up some litter from the ocean floor while we were at it. After another, seemingly shorter, expedition we surfaced at the boat. After hours of soaking in salt water, spraying each other down with fresh water from a garden hose on the boat was one of the best feelings I remember. We had a quick lunch back on land at a seaside restaurant and headed back to our casa to get ready to explore the baths. The baths are a few minutes from the our casa so we walked there in our dive booties. After exploring the caves and swimming on the beach, we snorkeled back to the resort. We walked to our casas, showered quickly, and then met back at the beach for dinner as we watched the sun set behind the ocean.