As if to set the mood for the forthcoming departure of our much adored fellow volunteer, Bailey, week 7 kicked off with sombre grey skies. The sun seldom refuses to shine in the Bahamas. Its absence coupled with choppy waters spelled out a freeze on all diving activities on Monday and Tuesday. The mood at camp was not hampered though, as we were all still recovering from the weekend’s festivities at Timmy’s bar and any extra sleep was welcomed with open arms.
After the much needed lie in we took advantage of the timid sun and cool breeze by heading to the beach for a picnic lunch. The rest of the day was spent with Bailey discreetly soaking up the island vibe on her penultimate day and the rest of us discreetly soaking up her relaxing companionship, both parties trying not to reveal how sentimental we were actually feeling inside.
Tuesday came and Tuesday went. In between we initiated a new murder mystery game, Jonny’s reliable taxi came to send Bailey off and several of us hitched along for the ride.
The week was to quickly pick up pace and by Wednesday we were back where we belonged, out diving on the open waters. There were two survey dives, both done at our most familiar dive site, namely Amphitheatre. The highlight was seeing a 5 foot nurse shark cruise by Jonty. The event was captured on HD video enabling all of us to share the excitement.
Come Thursday and we headed to the local school to enrich some minds with this week’s topics of measurement for Years 1 to 2, amphibians for Years 3 to 4 and outer space for Years 5 to 6. The students were curiously well behaved this week so we must have been doing something right!
That evening Rachel’s father paid Andros a visit all the way from Guernsey. He was quick to win our hearts over by bringing with him an array of goodies spanning from Nutella to the Scientific American magazine.
Friday morning was jam packed with excitement as we completed all the necessary dives for the Rescue Diver qualification. Picture every possible way you can save a diver in need, then role play it in a realistic fashion in the water, and you’ve nailed Rescue Diver on the head. In practice this involved the instructors unexpectedly throwing themselves off the boat and us having to devise and enact a rescue plan in the heat of the moment; searching for missing divers underwater whilst using a compass for navigation; and physically carrying a distressed diver (probably weighing more than you) out of the shallows and onto the safety of dry land.
As if that was not sufficient we still managed to squeeze in a further survey dive at Ampi in the afternoon.
Saturday started with 2 deep dives at respectively 30 and 20 metres which count towards our Deep Dive speciality qualification. A further two dives are scheduled, after which we’ll be certified to dive to the eerie recreational diving depth limit of 40 metres.
For the afternoon fun dive the staff got creative and put together an action packed Underwater Olympics, Greenforce style! Amongst others the disciplines were underwater martial arts with slow motion combos that would put even Bruce Lee to shame; building a four layer high human pyramid; three-legged and wheel barrel races on the sand; and of course some underwater gymnastics.
That evening rumours were circulating at Timmy’s bar that Lucifer, our cherished but now 10-day missing cat, had miraculously reappeared in Small Hope which is a good 20km away. Nice to know you’re still alive Lucifer and let’s hope you can continue to cause havoc with your new neighbours.
It’s now Sunday and alas some time to reflect. Farewells have been bid, the local school children’s minds have been enriched and dive tanks have been filled and emptied more times than you can count. All in a week’s work at Greenforce Bahamas… BOOM!
I am reluctantly aware that we are now approaching week 8 of the 10 week April 2011 phase. Where does the time seem to go when you are having fun? Oh how I wish we never had to leave this paradise.