He sat us by the side of the resort pool and taught us all the hand signals until we had them down pat. Then it was on with the vest, the flippers, masks, and tank and into the pool. Oh and don't forget the weight belt. It's so wierd. The tank is heavy, but you still need a weight belt. The vest is inflatable so air can be added or taken out so you are perfectly bouyant. Or you should be. I tend to float...the Unsinkable Molly Brown...that's me. Getting everything regulated so I could swim along the bottom was challenging. We got into the pool and he taught us to clear our regulator if it got water in it, and how to clear our masks of water. I made the mistake of putting sunscreen around my eyes before getting wet. Word of advice...don't do that. My eyes were burning for a long time. I tried to clear my mask and started coughing. I'm so glad I was in the pool because I started to panic and wanted to go to the surface. Sean very calmly signalled me to cough in the mouthpiece. After a bit of panic in 3 feet of water, I managed to cough properly and all was A-OK. Glad it happened in the pool! When Sean thought we were ready, it was off to the boat for our trip to the reef.
It was a 20 minute boat ride out to the Devil's Backbone reef. It is a reef that is not continuous, and has many little coral islands. At low tide much of the reef is exposed. It's very treacherous and runs 300 miles along these islands. There have been many wrecks on it, including the original settlers of Spanish Wells who came fleeing persecution in the 1600s and wrecked their vessel on the reef. Our crew helped us on with our equipment, the snorkelers got into the water and off they went. Then Sean got into the water first and we went face first from a sitting position on the platform into the water. It was really wierd and a bit of a rush. Down we went. We dived on a ferry wreck from the 1800s. A passenger ferry hit the reef, but no loss of life. It is totally broken up and all that is left is a big smokestack and some big metal pieces. All being used by industrious sea creatures who have made it a home. We got down about 25 feet I think. Sean was great. He kept checking with us, and a few times he saw I was having trouble making headway and took my hand and swam with me. I found it very hard work swimming against the current, and staying down. By the end of the dive we were exhausted. The snorkelers were fine and they did a brief trip to another island and went in the water while we waited on the boat. When we got back to the resort, we decided to stay one more night and go again. I'm so glad we did because the 2nd time was easier, and more fun.
The 2nd time it was just Bill, me and Sean. Our own personal dive. What a blessing. He took us to another place on the reef where there were several little coral areas. None of them were very big, and there were a few caves. Bill was very brave to swim into the caves, but I was too scared. I was afraid I would float up and get stuck. He saw a bunch of really big fish in those caves. One was a tunnel that went through the coral to the other side. I was able to swim around and enjoy the beautiful fish and the coral. It was beautiful and we stayed down about 35 minutes. Imagine...a couple of middle aged people, trying something like this for the first time. I have had a fear of the ocean since I saw Jaws, and got stung by a jelly fish in Thailand. So this for me was a huge thing, and I overcame my fear of the ocean and totally had a great time. YAY me!