Learning to Dive in the Bahamas

Bahama Mamas: A Girls’ Dive Getaway to Abaco

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I never had much desire to visit the Bahamas. I mean, I was here back in 1991 on a Disney Big Red Boat cruise, but that hardly counts, right? I just sort of envisioned the whole country being one giant, tacky Spring Break destination like Panama City (apologies to my PCB native friend Alison), or else littered with tourist eyesores like every port-of-call you visit in the Caribbean. And that’s just silly, isn’t it, expecting a country that consists of 700 islands to fall under one large umbrella of generalizations? Because I’m here to tell you, you’ll nary find more crisp, clean, stunning water than we saw in the Abacos, the island chain in which we were staying. (In fact, it supposedly has the best visibility in the world, making it all the easier to see if a SHARK is approaching well in advance!).

Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco

Much like Canada before it and the Maldives before that, the Bahamas has stolen my heart.While there, too, I thought it would be fun to come back a few pounds lighter, as opposed to heavier like one usually does on this type of self-indulgent vacation (even though this was technically a “work trip,” when it comes down to it, let’s be honest, IT’S THE FREAKIN’ BAHAMAS, and really served as little more than an awesome, sunny, five-day break from chilly San Fran). So I opted for a new diet, one that consists of contracting a deadly stomach bug likely from my germy 8-year-old airplane seatmate, and one that surfaces as you’re sailing upon placid water, so upon the first hour of severe vomiting on board, you mistake it for an odd case of motion sickness. Then, when 18 hours later, your stomach is still thrashing around like a fish trying to rid itself of a pesky hook, you realize, hmm, that’s really odd for seasickness and write it off as a virus that will dissipate after its scheduled 24 hours…or so you hope. And then you proceed to rid yourself of anything that enters your system for going on four days and come to the realization that 24-hour viruses don’t necessarily last only 24 hours and sometime stick around just to be a nuisance for a full 96. But hey, you do return home FIVE pounds less, possibly the only time that will ever happen after a Caribbean escape.

I felt really bad ditching Holly on our second day of diving, as not only was the first day a real blast, but we were the only two divers getting certified and we were, after all, Dive Buddies. I mean, what if she drowned without her buddy there for support? I wouldn’t want to go through life with that burden hanging on my shoulders (besides, I kind of adore the girl, so that would just generally suck all around). But she passed with flying colors and even swam with SHARKS(!), and upon getting back to the resort, accompanied me to the beach because I was feeling slightly better.

Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco

And because she’s a true pal like that and in her obvious Olympic spirit, she went as far as to join me in my intense pain, by possibly breaking a toe or two (no exaggeration) through performing a death-defying Nastia Liukin-like leap on a deserted beach. Because friends don’t let friends be condemned to the infirmary alone.

The thing about Holly is that when I was but a mere fan of hers on the East Coast, I thought, this is The Nicest, Most Down-to-Earth Girl Ever. But now that we’ve become friends, I’ve learned that that’s simply not true.
Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco

She’s even nicer and cooler than The Nicest, Most Down-to-Earth Girl Ever. Definitely someone you want as your travel, dive and infirmary cohort.

By day three, however, I was feeling well enough to hobble around in a hunched-over positions, so I completed my dives, and Holly and I got all grad-u-mated at Brendal’s Dive Center. Sadly, the caps and gowns were still at the cleaners.

And can I just brag for a minute on my underwater digital camera case and suggest that if you’re planning similar snorkel or dive trips, you follow my lead and invest in one, as well?

Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco
Diving in Abaco
COMMENTS
  • August 19, 2008
    etrevallion

    great pictures! thanks for sharing. my husband is certified and keeps trying to convince me to do it myself. but, i have this small fear of fish – specifically, when they swim near me. i’ll have to get over that cause your post is definitely motivating me!

  • August 19, 2008
    Sarah

    Wow that trip sure was full of ups and downs! Oh and btw those pictures are gorgeous-they make me want to scuba dive asap

  • August 19, 2008
    Abby

    Sounds like a lovely trip – I saw your pics on Flickr and was amazed by the quality! That is quite a point-and-shoot camera you have there.

    We also have an underwater case for our camera, which we don’t use nearly enough. If I remember correctly it was a bit pricey but worth every penny!

  • August 19, 2008
    SLynnRo

    What brand is that white swimsuit?

    Also, have already informed Mr. A that 5th anniversary trip is to the Four Seasons in the Maldives.

  • August 19, 2008
    May Vanderbilt

    WHOA. I may the only person on the planet who knows what the Big Red Boat is. I went on it too! And it’s defunct now because Disney has it’s own cruise line!

    I am buying a digital camera water case right now. I owe you a cocktail for that tip alone.

    Also, I am obsessed with these diving pictures! Obsessed!!!

  • August 19, 2008
    Angella

    I am SO SORRY you were so deathly ill!

    I have to say that after meeting Holly last month, I SO KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. She’s a class act.

    Also. Sweet photos. I need to get an underwater case for my next tropical vacation…

  • August 19, 2008
    Aprille - The Muddled

    amazing pics! I didn’t even know they HAD waterproof cases for digital cameras. Where have I been?

  • August 19, 2008
    transienttravels

    Sorry you got sick.

    I will never get tired of these pictures!

  • August 19, 2008
    rachel.

    b-ea-u-tiful!

  • August 19, 2008
    jvanvelsor

    Fabulous photos. You are also working on your fears of sharks…good for you!!! Bahamas is now on my list of destinations.

  • August 20, 2008
    Moose

    You’ve totally inspired me. I’m going to make myself a thermos of cocktails and go to the beach. I suppose I should wait til the sun comes out for true authenticity.

    Looks like an amazing trip! And you’re a class act too. The amount of class flying around must have been epic. 🙂

  • August 20, 2008
    Ali

    wow. 4 days??!?! that’s WAY worse than my food poisoning. i’m glad you were still able to have such an amazing trip. i would have been a total MESS.

  • August 20, 2008
    k

    congrats on getting certified. and that camera case is awesome! love the pics, especially the second from the end!

  • August 21, 2008
    La Petite Chic

    Sorry about the stomach bug you caught!! That’s awful! I got so seasick on our first certification dive that I almost didn’t go back for the second dive. Being sick while diving is the worst!
    Oh, and we have that camera case too and it is awesome!

  • August 21, 2008
    nicoleantoinette

    My new goal is to have a reason to purchase an underwater digital camera case.

  • August 22, 2008
    Jemima

    Dude! Those pictures are freaking AWESOME!

    I’m sorry you had the barfs though. Feh!

  • August 22, 2008
    bahama mama

    okay, were you sucking in your tummy or are you really that skinny?

  • August 22, 2008
    Camels & Chocolate

    HA! I’ve never been called skinny before, so thanks…I was, however, coming off a severe stomach flu “diet” so if I look skinny, it’s likely because of that =)

  • August 22, 2008
    Camels & Chocolate

    HA! I’ve never been called skinny before, so thanks…I was, however, coming off a severe stomach flu “diet” so if I look skinny, it’s likely because of that =)

  • August 22, 2008
    Camels & Chocolate

    HA! I’ve never been called skinny before, so thanks…I was, however, coming off a severe stomach flu “diet” so if I look skinny, it’s likely because of that =)

  • August 22, 2008
    Kayleigh

    holy wow i want your life….great pics, i love that one of that fish with the grouper like eyes. …

    sorry you were so ill, though. yuck to the max.

  • August 23, 2008
    Kari Bear

    is it just me or does my sister look HOTTTTTTT in that bathing suit picture!?!?

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