At 5:45 a.m. my alarm went off. It was not the alarm on my watch but the noise of the engines starting up. We are on our way! Everyone got up early to watch the bridges go up to let us pass as we sailed down the Miami River.
The crossing was a little rough but bearable (though I will admit I slept through most of it). There was an exciting moment when a few dolphins were riding our wake on the bow! I was an incredible sight to watch these amazing animals keep up with our boat (unfortunately they showed up so suddenly and left so suddenly that no one got a photo of it). [Past expeditions have encountered dolphins as well. Video from the Spring 2010 expedition is in this post and the 2010 teen diving expedition also reported swimming with dolphins.]
Six hours later we arrived at Bimini, cleared customs and were ready to head out to our first dive site. Everyone was very excited to get in the water. The stern deck was a buzz with all of us getting our dive gear ready. We were just about at the dive site when the captains decided the conditions were so rough that we needed to find another site. And boy did we hit some rough seas! For the next thirty minutes (though it felt like an eternity to me) the boat was rocking back and forth as we tried to sail to calmer waters. Chad, a participant from North Carolina, got some great video of the waves crashing on the boat that I will post once we get back to Boston.
Finally we arrived at a nice calm dive site, called Inside Turtle Rock. And everyone was so excited to finally get in the water. We did two dives the first one was just to get comfortable in our gear. During the first dive we saw some pretty cool animals like a big barracuda and a small school of squid. For me, who seems to spend more time in the water than out, it was felt so great to be in the water.
Finally getting in
Our second dive we actually attempted to collect some fish. We were successful in collecting some slippery dick wrasses. As their name describes they are long, swim fast and are wiggly; so they can be tricky to catch, but we got some.
Slippery dick wrasses
Today was a long, but ultimately productive day. I can’t wait to get more dives in tomorrow.