Monday, January 5, 2009

Mountains, above and below sea level; natural elements

Dana and our niece and nephew Katie and Jonathan are here.

Dana and I bought them swim fins and masks for Christmas and they are
getting their chance to try snorkeling for the first time.

I had planned a dive over a sunken tugboat that lies in about 50 feet of
water. You can't dive down to it without SCUBA, but you can see it down on
the bottom like a toy boat. Well, this is in pretty open water, and it is no
place for beginners.

I was pretty much raised in the water, and I forget that not everyone is
comfortable in it. Thankfully we decided to have a quick practice session
with the two of them to kill some time while waiting for the French to
finish their two hour lunch before filling our tanks with water. The two of
them were very uncomfortable with snorkeling, which I had mentally reduced
to just breathing through a tube. For the uninitiated, there is a lot more
to it, like swimming against the current so that you can get back when you
are tired, clearing the fog out of your mask, making sure that your hair is
not preventing your mask from making a good seal, how to swim with fins,
etc. etc.

It was a very goo d thing that we did this practice run, as it did help me
realize that these two would not be ready for that tugboat dive for several
weeks. They are only here for one week.

It was fun to watch them have fun learning. They were laughing so hard and
cutting up so much that it was making me concerned that it would get in the
way of their progress. But the point was to have fun, after all, and they
just had skipped right to the point.

We dove in Orient Bay and Galleon in St Martin, then off to St Barth's for a
dive by Pan de Sucre and the wreck in the channel, then off to Colombier.
They told me tonight the idea of diving over the wreck creeped them out and
it did take them along time to get out of the dinghy. I am not sure exactly
why it creeped them out, but I think it may have had to do with pirates of
the Caribbean and ships of undead. I don't know, for me it seems natural to
want to see a shipwreck.

They saw two sea turtles, one in St Barth's and one this afternoon in
Statia. I did not get to see either from the water; I saw one from the

We hiked the volcano on Statia today, the crater was very dramatic. It took
about 4 hours of climbing. I think this may help sort out one of our
cruising incompatibilities. They want to stay up until midnight and get up
at ten. I want to go to bed with the sun and get up in the morning light at
6:00. I think I may have tired them out enough that they will retire soon,
but I fear that they may be getting a second wind. They are out in the
cockpit talking with Dana now.