Bahamas Shark Dive

This is Part II of Our 2 year Anniversary vacation to the Bahamas. Read Part I here

On our third dive, we had an awesome experience.  We went diving with sharks.  We witnessed a shark feeding and rubbed shoulder-to-fins with these amazing predators of the deep.  There were no cages, no chain suits, no escape plan, nope, there was some mad courage or just plain craziness, I don’t know which yet, but it was an experience of a lifetime.  I had been looking forward to another shark encounter since the first time I swam with sharks in Little Corn Island, Nicaragua for our honeymoon, but this time I wanted to be overwhelmed, surrounded by them. I wanted them swarming around me, not knowing from where they were going to come, not knowing if I was near a near-death-experience, I wanted the exhilarance and adrenaline high that comes from being so close to this machine-like, silent predator that was like a silver torpedo gracefully gliding through the deep, carefully watching us, studying us as if classifying us as prey or foe.

When the boat set the anchor down, Monica looked at me with fear deep inside her gentle soul.  She was here only because of me and for me.  She did not want to be here.  This was not her idea of fun.  She even had nightmares the night before!  Oh what people do for love… But here she was, scared — and she had not yet seen the sharks, she hadn’t yet seen the 8 foot silhouettes circling the deep blue shades beneath.  I could tell her by her anxious breathing that she was having second thoughts.  But there was no turning back now.  I had my gear on and was ready to jump ship.  It must have been her devotion, her self-imposed duty as my lover, my wife, my best friend, to come along with me, to jump into the abyss with me, and go through this “adventure” and not forsake the man with whom she had exchanged vows with 2 years ago — even though “with sharks or no sharks in the water” was never part of the vows.  (Besides, I also think she came to keep me “tamed” and stop me from doing anything stupid, like getting killed, and thus ensuring that she will have more offspring from this handsome man.)

But here we were.  We checked and double checked our gear, our air.  I put my mask on.  I took an anxious filled deep breath, closed my eyes, then leaped into the warm waters of the Caribbean.  It was an overcast day. As a result visibility was reduced by 50% of what it normally is.  And the water was darker.  I hit the water and immediately surfaced.  I looked for Monica.  She was still on the boat.  Looking at me.  My mask had come loose when it hit the water.  I was quickly trying to fix it.  I wanted to look down as soon as possible.  I needed to see what was beneath me.  I felt as if they were ready for me.  As if they were speeding with jaws open towards my legs.  I fixed my mask and turned my face under the surface.  I saw them. And I could feel my blood rush as reality struck like a hammer to a nail.  I cannot remember what was going through my mind.  I cannot recall the first minute or two after I started my descent, but I vaguely remember seeing them circle around a diver that had already made his way down.  It was an incredible site.  I kept getting lower.  And they kept getting bigger.  Then I looked for Monica, and there she was, rechecking her gauges, her equipment, mustering enough courage to let go of the rope and dive with these silent, almost mythical creatures.  Then she did… and below is our video…

***If you are viewing this from a mobile device/smartphone, click here for video***

Part III coming tomorrow…

Anniversary Vacation Trip to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island

For our 2 year anniversary, we decided to take another trip to the Caribbean.  This time we went to Freeport, Bahamas.  It’s located in Grand Bahama Island.  We chose this destination for two reasons:  its secluded beaches (since most tourists’ destination is Nassau) and its diving activities.  Getting here sucked, we had to take 3 planes!  Three!  With a baby.  We brought Seanna along because we just didn’t have the heart to leave her behind.  And besides, we want her to love the water, so what better place to start her love for the sea than this paradise?  The trip was more than worth it.  This place was absolutely beautiful!  Absolutely. Beautiful.

We stayed at the Our Lucaya Reef Village which is adjacent to its sister resort, The Radisson Our Lucaya, which has the really cool shape of a cruise ship.  The resort was nice with very friendly staff, except for the “Concierge/Tour Information” lady that had a face like she had few friends and was mad at the world — with an attitude to match.  We enjoyed our stay here and would come back again.

Anyways, on to the good stuff.  Here’s what we did:

Day 1 — 7.3.2010:

We arrived and did nothing but just hang out.  No pictures or videos.  We literally just hung out by the beach all day and did absolutely nothing, not even eat.  By the time dinner got here, we were starved.  We went to the plaza where all the touristy restaurants and shops are, which is a rock throw distance away.  Man, the food here is super pricey.  Actually make that mad pricey.  A burger runs you about $12-15 bucks, plus a can of soda ($2.50 — no refills), times 2 people, plus tip (15%) — per serving (breakfast, lunch, dinner) = Ca-ching!  If you wanted something better than a burger, you were looking to pay $17 to $32 for an entree plus the extras.   That really adds up.  So, if you’re thinking to visit this area, the all inclusive package should be considered.  We didn’t go that route because we weren’t planning on staying at the resort.

Day 2 — 7.4.2010:

We again stayed at the resort.  There was not much to do but lay at the beach and relax.  Mariana was anxious to do some water activities so Monica went on the Banana boat ride with her.  When they came back I noticed that Mariana was walking very awkward.  Something seemed off about her.  One glimpse at her butt and she had to tell me about the unfortunate events that took place: As she found out, it’s not a good idea to go on the Banana boat ride when you are wet and only wearing a bikini.  At first she thought it was funny that the motion of the rubber boat and the sand rubbing her butt gave her a funny feeling.  “I feel like my butt is exfoliating,” she exclaimed to Monica, laughing, almost with a private joy.  Soon though, as the boat picked up speed, the “exfoliating” turned into “OUCH! My butt feels like it’s being rubbed with sandpaper!”  Which then turned into “AAAaaah!!! It feels like someone is chainsawing my butt!!!”  From the boat you could hear screams of joy, of pain, and what sounded like someone was being gutted by the Texas chainsaw murderer — that was Mari.  Poor Mari.  Her butt was on fire.  It was glowing red — almost.  She had a mad rash.  She needed Neosporin, but we had none.  I tried to convince her to take a picture of it, so I can post it on this blog, but since she said it was “up deep in there”, she declined.  Here at thedownsclan.com we like to be detailed and provide you, our readers, with as much information as possible, sooo… since Mariana did not want a picture of her butt on this post,  in an effort to provide you with a glimpse of what she looked like, here’s an accurate portrayal (except she wasn’t wearing a bow):

After some snorkeling, taking pictures and just laying out doing nothing, we went to plaza to have dinner.  We went back to the hotel and waited for the firework show to start at 10PM.  At 10PM we heard the fireworks go off and so we immediately left our room, got on the elevator, sped down the hall, to the lobby and exited the building.  By this time, the fireworks show was over.  The “Show” lasted approximately 1 minute 30 seconds.  Bummer.  The “Mariana fireworks curse” continues.  If you ever want to see fireworks for the 4th of July, make sure you don’t spend it with Mariana.  She never gets to see them and neither those who are around her.

Here are some pics of our little lady being patriotic (4th of July):

Day 3 — 7.5.2010:

Monica and I got up very early because we had scheduled 2 reef dives and a shark dive.   I had researched for weeks where to best experience sharks in the Bahamas and all sites and reviews let us to UNEXSO.  These guys really run a professional diving organization.  They are well established.  My only complaint about them was that we got outvoted by some rookies that didn’t want to go on the 80-100ft dive to “Theo’s Wreck” (a shipwreck) so we ended up going to a 45 foot dive at a reef instead.  The way I see it, don’t pair up scared noobs with more experienced divers (or at least divers who are up for the challenge).  Scott and Jim were our captains/dive masters and they were very nice and took the time to show you all they had seen underwater.  Below is a quick clip of the first two dives:

After the reef dive, we did a shark dive… and it was awesome…!  I’ll write about this tomorrow…  Part II coming soon…