Shark Dive in the Bahamas

Back in August we did a dive specifically with sharks among the many dives we did where we ran across sharks and other creatures. In the shark dive they gather you on the bottom and then a diver, clad in a chain mail suit, descends with a box of snacks for the sharks. Our job is still sit very still on the bottom and now wave your hands around. Hands it turns out can look a bit like fish to a hungry shark.

The Kids Getting PADI Dive Certified in the Bahamas


I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the thought of watching my kids jump off the side of boat into 60 feet of water along an underwater cliff that drops to nearly 7,000 feet is keeping me up tonight.

The boys have wanted to dive for years, ever since they experienced a few hours of snorkeling in Hawaii. That first experience was reinforced a couple of years later when they spent an hour in an introductory class for kids at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since we live just over the hill in Carmel, we are at the aquarium every time a relative or friend comes to visit. During the class the boys put on dry suits and floated in an enclosed tide pool. I have video of Colin at eight years old desperately trying to kick to the bottom. He just couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him go to the bottom as that was the whole point, right?

We spent today in the pool with GiGi, the boy’s instructor, an amazing young woman from Romania who has been teaching dive class for four years, both here in the Bahamas and in Thailand. It was a long but satisfying day. The boys spent the last few weeks taking an “e-learning” class from PADI so they would be ready to go straight to the pool. We, and more importantly GiGi, were impressed with the recall of what they had learned.

At dinner tonight we reviewed the fun of the day and talked about the excitement, and fear, associated with tomorrow’s first open water dive. As a father one spends a lot of time saying, “listen to me. Do as I say.” But, tonight, I made the point that tomorrow, if told to do one thing by me and something different by GiGi they were to do what GiGi says. Colin smiled and responded, “yeah dad, we know to do what the instructor says but it still makes me feel safer to know you will be there to make sure nothing bad happens.”

I guess that is one responsibility that you can’t put onto someone else.

Traveling to the Bahamas During a Hurricane

As our family travels around the world, we expect to run into flight and travel problems but flying towards a hurricane would not have been one I would have guessed in advance.

As is almost always the case with an around the world ticket, any change we make involves a fee and having the remaining legs of the ticket “repriced.” Even though we could see the Hurricane and Jet blue acknowledged that yes, the flight would probably be cancelled into Nassau, there was nothing to be done but get on the red eye flight from San Francisco and head to New York.

Once we were “in the system” in New York we would become Jet Blue’s problem, even though, as they acknowledged, it made sense for us to go south to Florida and swing in behind the Hurricane.

We arrived in JFK at 5:25am NY time and our flight to the Bahamas was still scheduled to fly. After a quick airport breakfast we boarded the flight….and then…they cancelled it. No one was terribly surprised.

Instead of dealing with us all at the gate JetBlue sent us off to their service desks…so we all scattered in hopes of figuring out the next step. Bryce, Colin and I were at one end of the concourse in line at a help desk while Aleix was at another. As the first group of us was discussing options with the desk agent, a panting jet blue employee appeared waving her hands while exclaiming, “quick if you are on the Bahamas flight get back to the plane! If we can close the door in 10 minutes you can go!”

Nearly 100 of us moved in mass at a quick march down the concourse. I have never seen a plane load so fast. Folks were cheering each other on, “let’s go!, “let’s go!” I was slinging other traveler’s bags into overhead compartments and folks were diving for their seats.

With a round of applause, the doors closed and we pushed back to get in a 25 aircraft line on the taxi way waiting for departure. We had made the push back deadline and as long as they didn’t cancel us in route we were headed south…

The flight was uneventful with about 5 minutes of turbulence. (Ok, so Aleix and the boys are telling me my skills at judging turbulence are way off. It was longer and much more dramatic than I perceived, and that I slept through most of it. Which might be true. Oh, and they reminded me the landing was fairly exciting.)

We landed at the nearly empty airport with 80 degree weather and a reasonable 10 knot breeze. As you can see from the photo, we were the last flight in….

From there we headed to the local grocery store to stock up as the government had ordered a shut down of schools, agencies, and non essential private businesses. While the store was full, folks were happy and everyone was confident the storm was headed north. The damage done to the central and eastern islands was looking substantial but reports were still coming.

We arrived at our beach front condo and settled in for the evening. Winds are still blowing this morning but the sky has cleared and it is looking like a beautiful day!