SCUBA diving at the point of North Seymour island in the Galapagos is otherworldly.
SCUBA diving refresh class
I took a refresh course at the Red Mangrove Dive Center since it had been 8 years since my last dive. I think the most fun part was taking the class in Spanish. I think this might have been the first time I put my Spanish to real test, because SCUBA diving can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. The instructor spoke English, but when he asked me what language, I smiled and ventured…Español por favor!
It took him 10 minutes for me to understand what a “Dispositivo de Control de Flotabilidad” was. I finally remembered learning in English that the “Buoyancy Control Device” or BCD is a really excessively fancy way of saying “The jacket you can fill with air.” But the exercises – clearing my mask – and letting go and finding the regulator again made me much more relaxed and confident for the day to come.
The first dive at North Seymour involved swimming in a straight line alone a rocky ledge, where white tip reef sharks were sleeping in the coves. There were little fish hanging out, cleaning them. At the north point of the dive the current was strong, so we emptied our buoyancy-control-devices and chilled out on the rocks, essentially waiting for the fish to swim by. After the first dive we took a brief break at the surface where we pigged out on tuna sandwiches, cookies and hot chocolate (oink oink!).
The second dive was my favorite. We saw a big school of sea eels first. The eels live in the sand on the bottom of the sea. They pop up vertically, waving in the current like fronds of sea-grass, and then retreat back into the sand when you swim by.
But my favorite part was….
My dive instructor Abraham had taught me all the had signals for all different type of animals (which when used in conjunction with a pointing finger means LOOK!!! Over there is a turtle/eagle-ray/garden eel….!. I remember the signs for white tip shark, black tip shark, Galapagos shark, turtles, eels, and barracudas. I had seen the sharks before just snorkeling around the bay, so I wasn’t quite as excited to see them. But when Abraham made the sign for barracuda, I looked over expecting to see a couple. Instead there was hundreds, if not thousands!
I still remember when I had gone SCUBA diving last, 8 years ago. We were diving in the freezing-cold fish-less waters off the coast of San Diego, where we’d get really, really excited if we saw a fish. A fish. Singular. I can’t describe the difference between seeing a total of 5 fish on a dive and the thrill of seeing 500 all at once.
I can’t do it justice with words. The video I took can’t do it justice either. But watch it anyway.