Thursday, May 28, 2015

Scuba Chick Chronicles: Himalaya Bay

On our drive home from our last Mexico trip, we decided on trying to come back for Memorial Day weekend to get our "Advanced Open Water Certification". We had some hoops to jump through to make it work....but we made it work. Best last minute vacation ever!!!

What does Advanced certification do for you, some may ask? It's so you pay more money to the PADI Scuba diving association.....

Just kidding. But sometimes it feels like that ;)

Being advanced allows you to go on more dives, since you are certified to 130 feet below sea level. A basic certification only allows you to go to 60 feet.

We wanted to get this before our Hawaii trip, so we can potentially check out some wrecks while there!

What type of dives did I have to do to become "advanced"?

In order to become "advanced", you have to complete 5 specialty dives with an instructor. Our dives were:
1. Peak Buoyancy Dive - you have to show that you can gracefully flow through the water by controlling your breathing and managing your equipment so you don't touch the bottom or scrape upon reefs and precious sea life. You have to show that you can float upside down, right side up, sideways, etc..... No arm use allowed.

Demonstration Below:
 

 

Do you think I'm wearing enough pink?

 
2. Naturalist Dive: This dive was the easiest. You are required to point out various plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates. Which there are tons....Here are a few:
 


Mint Chocolate Chip Starfish
 
The ocean floor has so much beautiful plant life!
 
The really bright orange stuff is sponge. And it actually feels soft and sponge-y to touch!
 

 Can you spot the moray eel? To the right of the reddish colored rock! These things are SO fun to find underwater!

 
This picture shows how majestic it is down there!
 
3. Deep Dive:
This dive you had to go down below 60 feet. We did 2 deep dives this weekend. Our 1st to 75 feet, our 2nd was to 114 feet. It was 59 degrees F that deep! Burrr! Below is a video of me descending somewhere around 70 feet.
 
I got a crazy, wild thrill out of going this deep. If something goes wrong with your eqipment, you could die. If you ascent to fast, you could get nitrogen toxicity. You have to be in supreme control of your equipment. Oh, and about 40% of people get "narked" this low (aka narcosis) - where they act drunk and euphoric. Unfortunately, I did not get narked....(I was kind of curious to see if I would)
 
4. Navigation Dive:
I hated this skill. You had to use your compass.
 
Do I look like a boys scout? (this is what I kept telling my instructor). In fact, at one point, I told him "I'm too pretty to use a compass". In return, he made me go to the bottom and navigate a square using specific coordinates.....with no help from Ryan.
 
The good thing is I finally understand how to use a compass!
 
5. Night Dive
This was the coolest dive of all! No pictures during this dive because our Go Pro doesn't have a light yet. We chased on octopus around for about 5 minutes! And saw probably 50 stingray shooting around in a matter of 3 minutes! The sea is so mysterious at night!
 
It's eerie though. You turn off your flash light, and it's pure darkness. I could hear the "Jaws" theme song playing in the back of my head the whole time....
 
The other amazing part of this trip? We camped on the beach!! Our local dive shop sets up this beach operation with air compressors and tanks, and it's unlimited diving the entire weekend! They have zodiac boats that take you to different areas around the sea.
 
Words can't describe the pure happiness we experienced! There were about 20 divers, and we all got along, and had a blast. Every night, we would all commune around a camp fire. It was just amazing....
 
This was the beach we were camped.
 
There were tons of little coves you could hike around and explore :)
 
Our "home" for the weekend
 
In case you didn't know....scuba masks are painfully sexy ;)
 
 

Sea of Cortez Angel Fish are my favorite!

 
This was one of the "swim-through" tunnels we got to play in

This is what the tunnel looks like above water. This was my favorite dive site - it's called "Marshall's Cove"
 
I cannot wait until next time!!!