The choice for our first excursion was easy: dive the southern barrier reef. We had to get one day of diving under our belts and demonstrate to the divemasters that we were capable of doing the more advanced whale shark dive going out on Tuesday. At Hamanasi, they really spoil you when it comes to diving; all you do is hand your weight belt and bag containing fins, mask, and snorkel to the divemaster or captain on the boat. They do the rest. You don't assemble or dissasemble equipment, rinse or clean anything, or carry tanks (or anything for that matter) to and from the dock. Talk about being pampered.
After much debate, we decided to rent a camera and underwater housing from a dive shop in St. Louis. So, one of us carried it and one of us carried the disposable on the first day of diving. We swapped during the surface interval. I think you'll be able to tell which pictures were taken with which camera!
I am always a little nervous when I dive for the first time on a vacation. But once I got underwater, I felt at ease in no time. There's too much to see to feel nervous! Before descending, the divemaster warned us that there is a particulary friendly and curious remora, or suckerfish, that hangs around. He's not dangerous, but he just wanted to let us know about him.
Sure enough, there he was underwater and he followed us through the whole first dive and was damn annoying. Living up to his name, he sucked everything-our tanks, our fins, our skin. It didn't hurt so much as feel kind of weird-but it was still a little freaky to have this thing try to suck your leg.
Here he is irritating a fellow diver:
Nibbling on Jason's tank:
Even with the digital camera, these photos just don't do justice to the beauty that we observed. The corals were spectacular in color, richness, and diversity. There were reds on greens and iridescent purples and yellows. Here are some of my favorite photos of the different types of coral [note: I did edit these a little to make the colors pop more]:
I like this one because it picked up the colors a little bit better:
These coral were unbelievable. They were a deep purple, but then had these bright yellow tops. It looks like the yellow was painted on.
Some brain coral:
This one looks like it has an angry face!
Here's a ferny-looking (yes, that just might be it's scientific name) one:
There's not much color to this one, but you can see the diversity of the coral there:
Ever since we saw a lobster in one of these in St. Lucia, we have to look inside all of them:
Some more yellow ones:
Tired of coral yet? We also saw some nice fish.
Same guy, different angle:
A little blurry, but this fish was cool:
This one is definitely one of my favorites:
I know it's hard to tell, but this is a big ass grouper.
Jason got a pretty good shot of this gigantic lobster peeking out:
Teresa, this eel is just for you!
Finally, just a few we took of each other underwater:
Not sure what I'm looking at here:
Doing my three-minute safety stop:
Rockin' my purple mask!
We also saw some spotted eagle rays on our dives. I don't have any pictures, but they were so graceful and beautiful as they glided through the water. That was the first time I'd seen them and it was a real treat. So, there you have our first day of diving in a nutshell. We did our surface interval on the most picturesque island, but I'll save those for our other barrier reef dive since we don't have many pictures from that day.
And meanwhile, back on dry land, we headed to dinner
Just after my husband's face betrayed how he REALLY feels about me!
Up next: our incredible whale shark experience...