We've been back from our Carnival Cruise that stopped in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Isla Roatan for awhile but I got the photos uploaded to share.
Many thanks to those of you who gave us advice!
I have always wanted to scuba dive, ever since I was a little kid and my parents said I would grow gills because I loved the water so much. I would swim in my neighbors pool for as long as they would let me. I was the only one in Lake Michigan when the water was just 65 degrees.
I've snorkled every chance I've gotten, but that really isn't much. My wife and I honeymooned back in 1995 on a Royal Caribbean cruise and we snorkeled at every stop.
I had it in my head that Grand Cayman was THE place to scuba dive for the first time (oh, you guys on this Doxa Forum and your Searaider trips and pictures from there!). Many of you recommended the Stingray City snorkeling and, looking back, I wish I would have taken you up on it. Only because Stingray City is only in Grand Cayman and the waters were wonderful in Cozumel, Belize, and Isla Roatan. Each of these three others offered the beginners scuba too. So a part of me wishes we would have done Stingray City. Ah well, maybe another time.
But on to the scuba diving! It was wonderful! Our ship (the Carnival Legend) anchored and we took the tender into the port. A bus took us on a 7 minute drive to "Don Foster's Dive Cayman" Discover Scuba Diving Experience.
Here's our daugher, Lauren (she's 12), standing in front of the pool area with our ship in the background:
We went through a safety course first. There were 12 people in our class. There were also 3 instructors so the ratio was 1 instructor for 4 people which was great. After we all passed our verbal instruction, we got in the pool and had the equipment explained and then we tried it out. We sat on the bottom of the pool until everyone felt confident. Then we walked out of the pool and over to the edge of the water. There was a channel dug out for boat launches and it was about 15 feet straight down once you hit the water. One hand on our facemasks and one on our waist and we just stepped off.
Scuba diving was everything I always imagined it would be. I had no problems, no fear, no panic. Just wonder. I wondered how in the world I could have waited 43 years to try this!
Here I am with the classic "hang loose" hand motion since it's the only way to hide the fact that I'm actually showing off my Doxa SUB300T Professional Re-Issue (sorry about the quality of the photo, these are from a disposable underwater camera and the prints were scanned into my computer):
Here's our daughter Lauren in the classic "I'm underwater and have no idea how to truly pose for a photo other than to just spread my arms and legs outward."
I did find myself totally transfixed by my daughter. She always amazes me with how fearless she is in life. She took to scuba diving like a fish to water.
The coral was really beautiful and the area we dove in (right off shore) had these trenches or walls of coral. It was more than I could have asked for.
Following along with Lauren 40 feet down is a moment I will relish for the rest of my life:
My wife decided that scuba was not for her. She snorkeled up on the surface and took some great pictures of Lauren and me:
When we were finished after about 35 minutes underwater, Lauren exclaimed, "I want to get certified and do this for the rest of my life!" We were both issued cards by Don Foster's which "may" be good with some Padi certifications as already having completed our open water dive.
I did stop in at Landmark Jewelers but they don't have Doxas for sale at their shop right off the port. They have Doxas at their other store further in Grand Cayman. Bummer.
Here's a pic of our ship as we took the tender back after our dive:
In Cozumel the next day, we went to an Adventure Park where we climbed towers (rock climbing on the fake colored hand and foot holds), crossed rope bridges, wood slat bridges with missing gaps of around 4 feet, and rappelled down 90 towers before finally riding a zip line. After we were good and sweaty, we snorkled and the water was amazingly clear.
Here's my wife, Robin, and Lauren:
While I was snorkeling, a 4' barracuda swam alongside me a bit. He was pretty neat and he "yawned" a few times. Big mouth, big teeth. Here he is:
After the snorkeling, we swam in the ocean and the water was just shockingly clear to a guy used to Lake Michigan:
In Belize, we took a catamaran out to the barrier reef and snorkled:
Isla Roatan was amazing as well. This is photo from the top deck of the ship when we were in port:
We went to the Tamayan Beach and kayaked:
....and we swam and snorkeled as well. Isla Roatan had fantastic snorkeling but I didn't have any more photos left on the underwater cameras. I can see why Isla Roatan is becoming a great dive destination!
This photo was taken at the beginning of the trip on our first day at sea. I spent some time on our balcony reading my favorite author's newest book:
The cruise ship takes lots of photos of you in hopes that you'll purchase some. Formal night was the first night and we liked how this photo turned out. I like that my Doxa and my wife's vintage Ernst Borel showed up really well:
It was a great vacation and I can highly recommend Carnival Cruise Line. The ship was spotless. The service was outstanding. The food was delicious. The entertainment was wonderful. And the price was the most competitive with the other cruise lines. It was very family friendly with out there being kids running around everywhere. There were plenty of older couples, honeymoon couples, and families.
We will definitely cruise on carnival again. And maybe we'll try to include Grand Cayman again so we can go to Stingray City!
I'll leave you all with thanks one more time for your advice and one last photo....