Wow, the Caribbean Diving at Isla Catalina on Thursday is exactly what we have been missing from our snorkeling experiences. The colors are move vivid, the coral more lively, and the sea life like what you see on TV. All located off of a picturesque island beach. SeaPro Divers did another awesome job.
A new SeaPro guy is waiting for us in our lobby. I missed Raul but Wilson was just a friendly and lively. Who the heck is this happy at 7:30 in the morning. I had 3 cups of coffee and still can barely see let alone be as chipper as him. I have to hand it to Wilson, he juggled two phones and made sure two buses picked up people from a bunch of different hotels. People were late or didn’t have their documents… he handled it all with grace and kept us happy. We did get to see lots of different hotels in Punta Cana, even a few we have stayed at before. We then had an hour and a half drive over to La Romana.
At the Caribbean diving office, 7 of us picked up our diving gear while the snorkel people got their equipment from a different area. We have fancy certifications so we didn’t need to do the same orientation as them. After we had our gear we headed down to the dive boat and met our dive masters. Our group of 5 people was assigned to Johnny. He was a fresh-faced young gent who joked he was a new diver too. Not such a funny guy to Michelle, she was doing her first deeper than 20’. This was also deeper them my 40′ dive yesterday… 60’. But Johnny was professional and clearly outlined the objectives of our first dive, The Wall. Since he didn’t know 3 of us, we started out off the boat at 5’ and swam through the reef. We slowly descended down to 40’ as we swam across the bottom. Johnny checking to make sure we were all good. Then we came to the Wall.
It was like flying off a cliff.
The rest of the Caribbean sea lay in front of us and a shear drop below us. Michelle almost had a cow. But we stayed close to the wall and descended down to the planned depth of 60’. That is our max as Open Water Divers. Along the way, we spotted a huge crab scuttling along an outcropping. On the way back we saw 2 Lionfish. They are poisonous so we made sure to stay well back and not risk getting pricked.
I should mention the I had to leave my camera back on the boat.
It’s only good to 40’ without an extra case. I had suggested I only go down that far but Johnny said to leave it behind and take it on the second dive. As much as I would have liked to have those photos I’m glad I listened to him. “Flying” over that wall and descending down was amazing. I also don’t think he would have let me hang out 20’ above them since the visibility wasn’t that good and I might have lost my way. Once we reached the turn around point, we followed the reef wall a while ascended up to 40’ and swam back to the boat.
We had a second dive after we dropped the snorkelers off on the island. We jumped into the water in an area called the Aquarium. This dive was planned for only 40’. There wasn’t the same dramatic cliff to swim over but the area lived up to its namesake. We saw a lobster, a huge shrimp, and a few small rays. There was some sort of eel poking its head out I’d like to think it was a Moray eel. We also saw a few Conch shells with the little guys still living inside. I thought that it all was pretty cool.
Once finished there we returned to the island to have a BBQ lunch and a few adult beverages. Michelle also had a chance to visit and shop at the Straw Markets set up on the beach. She’s alway one for a good deal. Make sure you bring more money than we did, we didn’t have much left for a well-deserved tip beyond the boat crew. After that, we relaxed on the beach watching the sea and boats… or the inside of our eyelids occasionally.
In summary, it was an awesome day and you are going to do some Caribbean diving I highly recommend. The only way it could have been better is if we had more diving.
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