As of this morning I have officially logged eight dives here in South Caicos and a total of six and a half hours under the water since my certification. Compared to the freezing cold Pennsylvania quarries with a visibility of maybe five feet where I got my certification, the diving here is unreal. We dive every Wednesday and most Saturdays and they are all purely recreational dives, no class work involved. There are four dive masters and one dive safety officer working here at the center, all of whom have logged hundreds of dives. So far we have seen amazing, pristine coral, a number of sea turtles munching on the algae and a couple bigger reef sharks. On one dive a reef shark about seven feet long swam only a couple feet below us. However the most amazing dive that I will probably ever log happened a couple Saturdays ago.
That morning we had a dive on a site called “The Arch.” The dive started out with a nice controlled descent and a swim to an arch made of coral. We saw parrotfish, bicolor damselfish, some wrasse and a multitude of other beautiful and exotic colors! There were huge jacks coming in and out of the arch, getting within touching distance. Then I saw out of the corner of my eye, my dive master start swimming frantically away from me, given his usually very chill underwater demeanor I knew something was up. As I turned around my heart stopped because swimming not even thirty yards away from our DSO was a humpback whale. On my sixth dive ever I saw a whale! Our DSO, who has logged over 1500 dives, had never even seen a whale when he was diving. All safety and calm breathing techniques immediately fell wayside as the group of seven of us freaked out! The rest of the dive didn’t even matter and by the time we had made it through our ascent and safety stop, we all started screaming as we breeched the surface. “WE SAW A F***ING WHALE!” Between tears and shouts and laughter we all came to realize that this would be the most memorable dive of our life.