i just had a couple of days’ diving with a guy named kadin, a recent graduate open water diver, courtesy of my good friend jordan. kadin and i went out for his first official open water dives, and i wanted to say what a pleasure it was to be able to guide him.

our first dive was on colombia tortugas. the captain didn’t drop us quite in the normal place, and so we missed seeing the anchor in there, but we did get to do a splendid little tunnel that exited out onto the wall of the reef, very beautiful. coming inside we were passed by the big loggerhead turtle i have been seeing in the area for the past few weeks– they are laying eggs on the other side of the island these days, and so we see some of them coming through, but this is a special older turtle, huge and ungainly on land no doubt, but a real mover in the current– powerful flippers moving like automatons, reminding me more than once of an old oar-powered ship. from big we went small, finding a nice little pipehorse, perhaps two inches in length. moving along in there we came upon another turtle, almost directly in front of us, and i could see his face register so many of the great emotions that come from this first direct contact– first, the eyes open widely, and then there is a charge of excitement, followed by a big smile and of course then the water comes into the mask, necessitating a rapid clearing.

but the thing i remember most is that he really paid attention to what was going on, improving his skills rapidly. he got 58 minutes on that dive, and then another 58 on the second tank, which was dalilah, where we began in the deep part, finding another couple of turtles and a nice little nurse shark that swam away from us. i had been hoping to get him a green moray eel as well, and they are in there sometimes, but no luck. crossed over to the main body of dalilah and found a lot of great sea life, including another shark nestled in a trough, out of the current there was indeed a little current, but it wasn’t too bad and kadin did very well with dealing with it. i remember thinking how much i would have loved to have gotten 58 minutes when i first began diving– my tanks ranged from 38 to about 52 minutes, and it took some time before i had learned enough about diving to extend my times much past that.

but that is nothing compared with the second day. i gave him a couple of little tips on diving and he seemed to take it to the max, finding ways to improve what he was doing. we had to stay closer to the main caleta– cove or what have you– as there was some good wind kicking up, so we did cedral wall for the first tank. once again i was looking for green morays, and once more i got skunked– for them at least. but we did manage to come across a few turtles again and a nice drumfish, great big crabs, both midnight and stoplight parrotfish that were pretty massive, and i got one of the humongous groupers that hang around the end of the reef to come close to us, within a couple or three feet, thinking i might have something to eat. sorry, but thanks for the good close pass!!

the second dive of the day we went to do “the mountains of dalilah”, off to the side of dalilah reef, in amongst what are really some hills, and here i found an excellent great big green moray for him. it was actually the one i have called the “yellow-faced eel” for a couple of years now. it has been growing and growing, and its’ face is indeed a much more yellowy color than most of the eels in the area– big face, and sucking the water in and blowing it out as they do– good stuff!!

plenty more turtles, some big ones and even a smaller loggerhead passing by– i kept us to the right on the reef, so that when we arrived finally onto the end of the tops of cedral wall we were in quite a different area. i found that marvellous area with a lot of cracks there, gaps and overhangs everywhere. there are some drumfish in there and even some hot springs, but what we found were a couple of turtles and a shark in the overhang.

but all of this wonderful stuff was eclipsed by the fact he got 68 minutes on the first tank– and then 70 on the second, something a lot of people never see. congratulations, kadin, you were great!!

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