Friday, August 5, 2011

A Dive Trip Gone Wrong - Good Bye Caye Caulker

I left Caye Caulker, the two mile and a half long island. I had to force myself to leave. I was becoming really attached to the island. I was developing relationships with the artist, his wife, and his daughter. I would bike to the lobster fisherman's house in the evening and say, "Hey Mon, how you been?"

The hostel owner and I would chat during the hot days about how much he missed his Korean girlfriend. I would listen. Then one day, I said I was going to leave. The people looked surprised but tried not to show it. Of course, I have to go. I even postponed going by two days.

I went to the hostel owner one night and just told him the news. "I'm leaving." He stayed quiet for two seconds longer than he should have and said, "Oh. . . "

I left early in the morning, 5:30am. We took a rough boat ride out, the 20 of us to the Lighthouse Reef. As above in the picture, you see the reef surrounding the blue hole. But in the center, the water crushed a cave that was on surface before the ice age. As a result, a sunken cave that goes down to 130 meters exist.

The dive company, Aqua Dive, should never be trusted. That was the sketchiest most dangerous operation. First, the toilet on board failed. Why is that a big deal? It's not too bad, but in the overall scheme of things, it shows that they don't properly maintain the boat. This becomes a bigger deal over time.

Then, they forget to pack my wetsuit! I was so upset and I started up in my aggressive mode. "Where's my wetsuit? How could you forget? It's not that hard. How do you expect me to dive without one?"

The dive master just said, "There's no dive shop out here, Mon. Make the best of it." It calmed me down because the rationale part of my brain said, What can you do? Nothing. So, I dove without a wetsuit.

Then, some people's regulators start hissing air. The dive master said the same thing, "A little hissing, Mon, is no problem.

The blue hole dives were supremely overrated. You spend a total bottom time of 10 minutes at 130' or 40 meters. There were some sharks. The stalactites were nice. But overall, a very expensive dive for a total of perhaps 25 minutes.

When we were leaving the cite, one of the boat engines fails on us. At that point, I just scold the dive crew and said, "Your problem is you don't inspect and maintain your equipment. This is really dangerous, the way you're operating this operation." The Germans on board look at me and you could tell I'm making them worried. But, they acknowledge too, that this is the worst dive operation they've ever been a part of.

Instead of having a 3.5 hr boat ride home, it was now like 7 hours. Another rescue boat had to come to guide us through the reef, otherwise the boat would've crashed on it.

So - this is how I left Caye Caulker. The dive boat dropped off the divers on Caye Caulker. Then we changed boats, and left for Caye Ambergris. I could see Caye Caulker getting smaller and smaller as we approached the capital town of San Pedro on Ambergris.

I knew, as I looked behind me, this part of my journey was now finished.

No comments:

Post a Comment