To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, my wife and I decided to get away a couple months ahead of the anniversary to enjoy a little vacation. 10 years prior, we went to Sandals Negril Jamaica. It was everything we could have asked for, and we have been looking forward to going back to a Sandals Resort at some point, and our 10th anniversary seemed to be the best time!
Why the Bahamas?
Why didn't we go back to Sandals Negril? Airline points! Due to my wife's business, she had obtained a companion pass from Southwest Airlines, and had a decent amount of points accumulated. Southwest had just so happened to finalize routes from Chicago to the Bahamas shortly before our trip!
We made the couple hour drive to Chicago, hopped onto a plane, and flew straight through to the Bahamas! The Sandals in the Bahamas, the Royal Bahamian and Emerald Bay, both looked amazing. We settled on the Royal Bahamian by feel mostly, but we also knew that the resort was being renovated shortly before our arrival.
The Private Island
After finishing up with our first dive and changing out tanks, we were on our way to our second dive location. We went to a shallow location, which was protected from the wind a little better. We had a little snack on the boat before diving. There were plenty of options and some water for everyone. There were a few more new divers that weren't qualified to dive at the deeper depth, so they took a little while to get into the water and settled. Once they were off the boat, the certified divers were able to get in and have at it.
Immediately, we were surrounded by a bunch of fish! The first thing we saw were a ton of Sergeant Majors! Then we saw a bunch of Yellowtail Snapper as well. There were a couple parrotfish, of some variety that you could actual hear chomping on the coral! At the 32 second mark of the video, I snuck up on a squirrelfish, hiding in a coral alcove.
This being my first ocean dive, I was shocked and amazed at how big the ocean was, but how small these individual environments were, and they were teeming with life! A whole world and ecosystem could be find on each individual coral bunch, it was so cool to see!
At the :38 second mark, you can see the parrotfish, chomping away!
During the Fall of 2016, my wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a trip to the Bahamas. A long 10 years ago, our travel agent recommended we go to Sandals Negril, in Jamaica, and we LOVED it! So for our anniversary, we wanted to go back to Sandals, and we couldn't have been happier with Sandals Royal Bahamian.
As a certified diver, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go diving in the Caribbean! One of the great things about Sandals is that they provide free SCUBA excursions for their guests. This made my decision to leave my wife for a morning a littler easier.
The process to dive was rather easy as well. I went to the dive shop they day or two prior to the day I wanted to dive. I talked with the dive staff, who were awesome! They made me feel right at home, and made everything super simple. They looked at my cert card, and logbook to make sure that I had dove recently. I dive regularly at work as a diver for the fire department. There was a medical waiver that I had with me as well, that was needed filled out by my primary physician. I had dropped the form off at my family doctor, who gave me a clean bill of health and filled out the paperwork. The Sandals dive staff wanted that paperwork as well.
The next day, I arrived at the dive shop around 8am. They handed out some rental gear, mask, and fins. I opted out of the wet suit, having become used to diving in cold water at home... I figured I'd be okay with the 70-80 degree Caribbean, and I was. Throughout the week, we had noticed the dive boat picking divers and equipment up at the main pier, but over the first couple days of our stay, the wind and waves had noticeable increased. We found out that for our dive, we had to board a small tour bus, travel to the other side of the island to escape the wind a little bit. We boarded the bus, drove for 20 minutes, to an inland pier where the dive boat was. Sandals dive staff did all of the heavy lifting, which was awesome! We boarded the boat, received some instructions and off we went!
The boat ride was about 30-40 minutes, and the waves made it interesting! I thought it was great, but someone that is prone to sea sickness could have had a problem with it. Everyone on the boat survived without yarfing up their breakfast and we reached our first dive spot.
Our first dive was the deep dive, max depth of 70'. We were going to dive along a shelf, then to a couple of wrecks. Here's the video!
Over the last couple of years, I've been fortunate enough to see some of the most amazing parts of the world. Ranging from Nicaragua, Hawaii, San Fransisco, Florida and Indiana (well, maybe not Indiana). Just about everywhere I go, I grab my GoPro Hero Session 4. I also added a couple accessories to make filming a little easier.
The Camera, GoPro Hero4 Session
I've liked this camera since the day I got it. I love how durable it is, and the size is amazing! The camera, by itself, is waterproof up to 33', making it great for beach shots and pool shots. I had to buy a couple accessories in order to dive with it, I'll discuss those later. The camera takes a MicroSD card, and off you go. One thing I like about the camera too, is that you can preview what you're filming and you can see what you've already filmed, without the need to connect the camera to a computer. This is all done through the Capture App.
As a certified diver, PADI Open Water, Dive Rescue International Public Safety Diver and Rescue Diver I, I've been in the water a fair amount. With that being said, I've been in Northern Indiana water, I'm lucky to see my hand in front of my face when I'm diving. At work for the fire department, I dive with a Viking Pro Dry Suit (in the picture above, I was diving in a drainage pond and found what looked like a goldfish that got ahold of the same ooze the Ninja Turtles did. The Viking dry suit works great for staying dry and remaining isolated from the contaminates in the ponds and river we dive it. The dry suits, though, don't offer a lot of cold protection and can leave some pretty nasty pinch marks when diving at depth. As you descend, the suit compresses and pinches small spots all over your body! I continue to dive with it because it offers the best protection, with just a little discomfort. I recently dove in 40 degree water with nothing under the dry suit other than shorts and a t-shirt, and remained "kind of" warm.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None