Hello, everything has been slowing down for me on the island. After my crazy shifts everything settled down back to normal mostly. My boss, is back from his vacation and getting the island back on track. My shifts have been uneventful, except one day that seemed to be "anxiety" day where we picked up a couple people that had been unresponsive. It seems to be a fairly common thing on this island, and it doesn't just seem like they fake it, a test is painful stimuli, and they do not flinch!
I spent a good bit of my off days with the med-students. Days at the beach, and nights going out for dinner and drinks. Having friends is fun, but a lot more expensive! But the girls have gone back to Montreal (already planning a trip to go skiing.) So I had to find something else to do. I picked SCUBA.
I have actually been wanting to learn to dive for years, but its kind of expensive. TCI is claimed to be one of the best diving sites in the world, so I decided I had to do it while I was here. With some the help of some Christmas gifts I signed up with Dive Provo. Right now its a bit slow again so I am lucky enough to be the only one in my class. First I had to do an on line course, it wasn't too hard. Then yesterday was the pool day. After a little bit of a review we go straight to work, setting up the tanks a couple times. Then was my swim test - 8 laps of a small pool then 10 minutes of keeping my head above water. That was easy, just boring. It helps they don't care how you float, just can't drown! So I floated mostly.
The diving itself isn't so bad, but it is a bit bizarre breathing under water. And its unsettling when they make you take the regulator out and practice using back up or just finding it again. I did very well, but I have spent a lot of time in the water, and firefighting training certainly didn't hurt either.
So into the ocean, today was the first two of my four open water dives. We took the boat out with a couple other groups into Grace Bay along the "Wall." That is where the sea floor drops from about 40ft to 7,000ft. Now I wasn't going along the wall just yet, but the first dive was amazing. As I was getting settled underwater, my instructor, pointed out a pretty big barracuda near by. That was the worst part! He just kept swimming closer!
Eventually we started on our dive, which was just exploring for the first one. We saw so much, a little Hawksbill Turtle, some Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, and lobster. And of course crazy amounts of fish and coral. My biggest trouble is my buoyancy, I tend to float and have troubling getting back down to the lower levels. Starting to get the hang of it, the trick is in the breathing.
So after a break and a snack we went back down in another spot. This time we had some skills to practice, it was even worse having to take my regulator out 20 odd ft down!! But it went well, didn't panic and we swam some more. Saw more sharks and barracudas. There was also an amazing school of Horse Eyed Jacks that were swimming in a circle. A couple of barracudas swam up, but the bigger fish in the group just bumped them away.
My last two dives are going to be on Monday, we will be going to the south side of the island. The neat part is its about an hour boat trip to the dive site so I will get a nice trip out of the dive too!
Along a slightly different line, I had a meeting with my supervisor on Thursday about my future on the island. Apart from the fact that I am definately coming home in Februrary, nothing really has been settled yet. But we talked things over and the plan looks like I will be back, probably only for a six month stint. I'll be home for several months to pack everything up and settle things to come back down here. He'll be looking for another medic for a temp position till I come back, so send your resumes!