Ah, Mother Nature was capricious yesterday. The Blue Hole did not come about due to weather, and the first dive had a strong enough current for me to ask my husband to stick close to the boat so we were shallow rather than going deeper along the wall. Rain moved in between the morning dives and then, surprisingly, the sky cleared, and the sun shone. There was nothing big on the first afternoon dive, although it was quite pleasant. Yellow-head jawfish are delightful little creatures and for those of us who like them we can watch them for many minutes on end. They dig a hole and go in tail first, only coming up and out if they think it is safe. They quickly disappear again if you don’t approach them very carefully.
Oh, lunch today was an excellent conch chowder – the tomato-based variety with a perfect blend of spices. There were other items for lunch, but the chowder was so good, I stuck with it. I don’t care for mollusks in general and only like conch chowder when the conch is minced, as it was today.
Back to diving, however. The afternoon dives brought a couple of large tarpon that we don’t normally see on Key Largo reefs. We didn’t see the turtle that others did, but there was a nice Southern stingray. My request to the scuba god for eels was apparently misinterpreted because we got sea cucumbers instead. A sea cucumber is one of the truly odd marine creatures. It does indeed resemble a segmented cucumber. Actually, they look a bit like some alien invader and if there are a lot of them in one spot, it can be a bit creepy. They also make for easy photographs since they move very, very slowly.
Okay, what type of people book trips on dive vessels? It can be a good way for fairly new divers to become comfortable with diving because you are surrounded by dive professionals and avid divers who are not necessarily on the professional track. Sometimes a dive group will book much of a boat; people who have been diving together on different trips. Husbands and wives, sibling pairs, older parents and adult child, significant other pairs, close friends, and singles are the usual combination. (There are some dive cruises specifically for singles by the way.) Underwater photographers tend to enjoy dive cruises because they don’t have to haul their gear around. There will be tables set up for the cameras, connections to charge the batteries, and other photographers to trade stories with. Plus, the dive staff will always have at least one and often more photographers/videographers who can teach classes, etc. On this trip there are people from Florida, Maine, California, Ohio, Texas, Paris, Chicago, and so forth – a cross section of the country. Ages are thirties and older, although some of the staff is younger. And yes, there are many of life stories to mix within the tales of diving.