At 8:35 in the morning we were picked up by The Dive Bus outside the hotel, because today (Wednesday) was another diving day! This time it was Darren, who we met on the first day at the dive center, who was our ride and later our guide. We picked up another couple on the road; they were from New York City but I didn’t catch their names, and they weren’t going diving with us but with another group. Instead we met Ben and Christa from Calgary, Canada who were going diving with us. There were also another couple, so we were a total of six people plus guide, but they drove their own car and kept a bit to themselves, so we didn’t get to talk much with them.
Kelly started the day with a little drama already at the shop ;). A bee came into his flip-flop and stung him on his toe! So we had to bust out the emergency kit to pull the stinger out and clean the little wound. Kelly walked away from the incident unscarred and with all his toes intact :).
The dive site of the day was Vaersenbaai, with a beach in the bay called Kokomo Beach that we entered from. Everyone on the island (or on the internet) has been saying that car break-ins are common, so you shouldn’t leave any valuables in the car. We knew we would drive there and park, so both of us left our phones at the hotel just to be safe. Therefore, we haven’t been able to take any pictures today. Kelly did have the GoPro camera with him though.
Both dives were amazing. We had good visibility, maybe about 25 meters. The reef was on a steep slope and at the end of the slope was a sandy bottom at about 35-40 meters depth. We were hanging out on the side of the reef at 12-18 meters depth. The temperature in the water was 28-29 degrees (Celsius) so we didn’t need wetsuits, just rash guards and shorts. It really is the most comfortable way to dive.
We saw so many interesting things! I can’t even list all of them. These are the major attractions:
Barracudas, Snapper Cobera (very large fish), several shrimps, scorpionfish, peacock flounder, lionfish, trumpetfish, bearded fireworm, porcupine fish, orange spotted filefish, scrawled filefish, spotted drum, lots of smooth trunkfish, yellowhead jawfish (3 of them together), many lizard fish of different colors and patterns, stoplight parrotfish (juvenile and adult), princess parrotfish, French angelfish, sea anemones, Christmas tree coral, sea urchins, all kinds of hard coral of course (like very pretty, purple stovepipes and brain coral), etc… Kelly and I watched several sharptail eels, who look like brownish-grey snakes covered with white/yellow spots and with colorful markings, and they were very active. Kelly got some amazing footage with the GoPro camera. On the second dive, I even saw a sharptail eel catch and struggle with a fish, and then eating it! It was very dramatic, a fight to the death, and not something that is normal to see. On the second dive we also got closer to a site with many wrecks; I have read that there are car wrecks, boat wrecks and even crane wrecks out in the bay. Some are very deep, and our goal was not to see wrecks on this dive, but we did come upon what looked like a part of a ship.
After the dive we had some sandwiches, provided by the dive center, before heading back to Willemstad. Kelly and I stayed with Darren for a while at the dive shop, and we went over all the fish we had seen on the dive, using Darren’s fish book to name all the species and varieties. It was educational and fun :). Then we booked two more dive trips with them, Saturday and Sunday, and got a ride back to Avila hotel.
That evening we again went to the Blues Bar out on the pier. They really make nice food, to a more reasonable price than the other restaurants we’ve been to, and they have very friendly and attentive staff. It’s nice to sit there and look out onto the pitch black ocean, and see the lights from all the boats out there in the night. Also, this evening there was live entertainment!