This morning we awoke to find that we could finally complete our open water dives in the ocean, and not have to go impromptu to another cenote. We decided to go in two groups to finish our certifications. One was in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Our excitement mounted as we gathered our gear, checked our tanks, regulators and BCD’s, and loaded everything onto the boats. The first group went out to the dive site, a little past the reef offshore, where we descended down the rope about 50 feet to the sandy bottom. We started our skills course, manually inflating our BCD’s and clearing our masks of water. We then took a tour around the backside of the reef, which is an extension of the larger Yucatan Fringe Reef. We saw a variety of sea life, including indigenous fish, coral species, and a stingray. We finished the first dive with our CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent), and went up to the boat. After switching our air tanks onshore, we went right into our second dive. The final dive of the morning was shorter, and we practiced navigating by compass, remaining neutrally buoyant and removing our masks. Ben also saw a sea turtle. We returned to the surface, and the instructors congratulated us on becoming Open Water Divers.
In the afternoon, the second group did the same two dives as the first. We saw several beautiful but invasive lionfish, a couple of large sea turtles, and some Caribbean reef squid. We completed the same skills as the first group in order to finish our certification process. Despite our seasickness on the boat rides, we matured as open water divers and had an incredible experience exploring the deep blue.