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Days 36-47: Happenstance

March 15-16, 2006

Some days are more bizarre than others… to say the least!

Since we are very pragmatic people (okay, okay… at least about 50 percent of us are! :)), we arrive in West End having precisely planned every subsequent step: no spontaneous decisions, we will start from visiting all the major dive shops in town, will request seeing the diving equipment (as if we've got any clue about good or bad diving equipment :)) , talk to as many PADI instructors as possible (the first teacher is the most important one, no matter the field of study!), compare the prices of the PADI courses in different dive shops, and finally take all the time we need to make a competent decision about the place we are going to dive with.
Well, it's alright if things don't happen exactly as planned… But when everything goes completely opposite, and you know for sure it's happening for your own good, that's bizarre!

So we arrive in West End quite late in the afternoon, park the car somewhere in the center of the unfamiliar village, and, since there is a dive shop just across the street, we decide to step in and check them out. There is a big white logo with skull and bones on the wall, which brings back recent memories of Captain Berto… Besides, below the funky logo it says that they speak Weirdish here - bingo! - this might be the only language to communicate with us after the extremely eventful day we've had at the port of Coxen Hole. The dive shop is about to close, but there still is one very wet guy inside - looks like he might know something about water - let's ask him!!
For the next 5 minutes the wet fellow does the talking and we do the listening. Alright, obviously he knows enough about diving, but let's stick to the dive shop research plan and inquire him how this place is better than other fifty dive shops in West End. - "Well, if you like us, you dive with us - if you like the other place, you dive there!" Doesn't sound like a big lack of self-confidence, does it?? :) (Could have at least pretended that he liked the question, who is the customer here?!! :))

This was how we came to know Tyll's Dive, the best dive shop in town, and met Adi, one of the best (and the strictest!) diving instructors in the world! This also was the moment where our rational behavior on Roatan vanished before it even had a chance to come out :) Guess if we went to any other dive shops at all? Not a single one! After 5 minutes at Tyll's, it suddenly became so clear that we wanted to dive there, and that the very wet and extremely self-confident character had to be our diving teacher - we don't want no other!!
Just don't ask us to explain why we did it this way because we have no reasonable explanation - we normally don't do that :) Sometimes you simply know a certain thing is the right one to do.

So Adi, see you tomorrow?
Our lazy days on the Caribbean beaches were terminated with this question. Yes, be here at 8:30 AM, here are your two big fat PADI course books, you must read chapters 1 & 2 overnight so we could have a briefing tomorrow in the morning, followed by a knowledge review test, and then straight into the water. At 3 PM you will watch the first 2 parts of instruction video, and maybe we'll be more or less done by 5 or 6 PM….

The next 4 days passed in a flash: get up, run to Tyll's, watch instruction video, listen to Adi's lecture, dive, another briefing, take a quiz, short lunch break, dive again, go back to the hotel and read the endless pages of the fat PADI book till late evening…. get up next morning, run to Tyll's… :)) May sound a bit monotonous, but it was far from that - every minute of the course was so much fun that at the end of a day we would hardly be able to wait for the next morning!

Diving looks quite easy before you actually try it… In fact, learning diving is quite a jagged little pill! First of all, you will be soaked almost 24/7, so you better be someone who really loves water :) And believe it or not, you start trembling in +27C degree water, if you stay in it for a long time (and you will, if you're learning to dive).
Second, PADI courses deal with the whole array of subjects that you'll probably have never even heard about: diving equipment set-up and maintenance; safety and emergency procedures; quite an impressive list of unfamiliar technical jargon which you have to memorize right away to communicate with your instructor and fellow divers; underwater navigation; buoyancy control; and even a good deal of mathematics for calculating how deep you can go and how long you can stay at a certain depth…

Simultaneously, here comes an extensive list of DON'Ts: don't ever hold your breath, don't touch the coral, don't ascend rapidly, don't go too deep, don't forget to constantly check your air, don't lose your dive buddy, don't step on a scorpion fish, don't play with moray eels, don't tease the sharks or other divers, don't forget any item on the DON'Ts list because that might be lethal! Finally, don't even think about blaming anybody else but yourself if you were stupid enough to forget one of the DON'Ts.

Lastly, some of the things you have to do underwater while learning to dive are not that pleasant at all! For example, you must take your mask off and prove it to the instructor that you can swim around without the mask for at least one minute and not start panicking (seeing almost nothing, and having your nose full of salty water and your eyes itching like crazy makes this task much less fun than it may sound!!). Or you will have to take all your equipment off underwater, and then put it back on. You may never need any of these tricks, but you must learn how to behave underwater in case of an unexpected situation.

Hope we have not alarmed you too much, or if we have - big apology, we didn't mean to! In sum, if you decide to learn diving, don't expect a walk on the clouds and take the classes very, very seriously. This is a course with stuff to learn, and if you fail to - blame yourself! In the end, it's all pure fun, and the rare unpleasant moments pass by like an eye-blink, leaving you very delighted you were able to do that!! :)

The fourth day (the last day of the PADI Open Water Diver course) was somewhat nostalgic: the exam had been successfully passed, all the classes, chapters, videos and dives completed… sounds like a long-awaited relief and a perfect reason to celebrate, but we are so NOT ready to leave Roatan, Tyll's Dive and Adi… Let's stay for the Advanced course??! Now, that's a relief! One more week of diving!
This was our first failure to leave Roatan. :)

PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certificate may be worth considering not only if you are looking for a valid reason to extend your stay on Roatan :) It also allows you to dive deeper (as deep as the maximum recreational diving depth allows: 40 meters/ 132 feet), see more interesting things (most ship wrecks are found deeper than 18m/ 60ft), and experience something really funky (what is 'nitrogen narcosis' - something that happens to you below 30 meters/ 100 feet… experienced divers compare it to a joint :)). Finally, you get a chance to try night diving - another incredible experience you shouldn't miss! And, most importantly, another justified week on Roatan :))

Cick on the pictures to enlarge

Two courses at Tyll's is what it takes to get fluent in Weirdish!

Tyll's Dive

Nardyklos meniu

Tyll's Dive is easy to notice...

Tyll's Dive

Tyll's Dive nardykla pastebeti nesunku

"If you like us, you dive with us" :)

Adi, our diving instructor

Musu nardymo instruktorius Adi (apie ji daugiau rasysim 4-jame reportaze is Roatano)

Good for the fish - they don't need to carry all this stuff on their backs!!

Scuba - Self Contained Underwater Breathing Aparatus

Kaip pasiseke zuvims - joms nereikia siu keistu balioniu ir slanguciu

This is a course with serious stuff to learn...

PADI Open Water Diver class

Vyksta pamoka

...and if you fail to - blame yourself!

Situation to avoid

Stai kas atsitinka nedarantiems namu darbu!

Nuvesk pelyte virs paveiksliuko, spustelk jos kaire ausele, ir paveiksliukas padides

36- 47-oji dienos: Eiline diena rojuj

2006 m. kovo 15-26

Nemegstantiems vandens ir saules (ar tokiu yra??) Roatanas, ko gero, nepatiktu – pagrindine kiekvienos dienos tema cia – nardymas. Apie 9 ryto nardytojai susirenka I "nardyklas" (dive shop’us :)) ir gyvenimas uzverda – pradzioje reikia aptarti vakarykstes nakties ivykius… Roatane retai buna naktu be ivykiu, todel juoko doze visai likusiai dienai – garantuota! Sitoje vietoje butina pacituoti antraja Roatano taisykle:


Susiruose iranga, visi issiskirsto nardyti, ir miestelis trumpam istusteja. Narams sugrizus pasikeisti oro balionu – vel surmulys. Visi dalijasi ispudziais apie tai, ka mate po vandeniu. Apie pietus – atgal i vandeni – nauju ispudziu… Atrodytu, visos Roatano dienos nuobodziai panasios viena I kita, bet… uztenka pabandyti viena diena nenardyti, ir uzplusta tokie abstinencijos priepuoliai, kad vos gali sulaukti ateinancios dienos ryto.

Musu dienos Roatane buvo truputi kitokios. Vietoj isivaizduotu "2-3 nardymo valandu per diena" jau pacia pirmja diena Tyll’s Dive (taip vadinosi musu nardymo mokykla) gavome po stora PADI teorijos knyga ir inikome skaityti pirmuosius 2 skyrius. Ilgiausi skyriai pasaulyje! Sukciauti ir praleidineti puslapius – nevalia, nes po kiekvieno skyriaus turesime laikyti testa, o kurso gale – egzamina is visos medziagos. Prie kiekvieno skyriaus – dar valanda video medziagos ir instruktoriaus paskaita. Prizas uz kantrybe – praktinis uzsiemimas, kurio metu viska, ka skaiteme ir ziurejome, turime pademonstruoti. Kad vakarais nenuobodziautumem, gaunam "namu darbu" – 2 naujus skyrius…

Prisipazinsim, kad mokintis nardyti nebuvo taip paprasta, kaip tikejomes. Visu pirmiausia, nuo nauju terminu jau pacia pirmaja diena susisuka galva – scuba irangos pavadinimus girdim pirma karta gyvenime, bet vien juos isidemeti, deja, neuztenka – pataikom pas, ko gero, viena is griezciausiu instruktoriu Roatane, ir jau pacia pirma diena be jokio pasigailejimo demonstruojam kaip teisingai sujungti, naudoti ir atjungti kazkokias keistas slangutes bei kvepuoti per dar keistesni aparata; kaip priziureti iranga, kad ilgai ir patikimai tarnautu; kaip po vandeniu "pamesti" ir rasti nosi ir akis uzdengiancia kauke; kaip elgtis, jeigu giliai po vandeniu staiga sugenda keistasis kvepavimo aparatas arba baigiasi oras; kokie yra "susikalbejimo" po vandeniu zenklai; kaip apskaiciuoti, kiek laiko tam tikrame gylyje galima be pertraukos isbuti; kaip kvepavimu kontroliuoti kuno pluduriavima vandenyje ir neuzgriuti kaip bulviu maisui ant koralo arba ryklio; kaip po vandeniu nusiimti ir vel uzsideti visa scuba iranga; kaip naudotis kompasu arba nepasiklysti jo neturint… Visos "linksmybes" paskirstytos I 4 dienas, bet net ir tokiu tempu smegenys nuo naujos informacijos kiekio gerokai patinsta :) O kur dar visi "negalima!": nevalia liesti koralo; negalima "pamirsti" kvepuoti, kad neuzlaikytum plauciuose oro; negalima leistis gilyn, jeigu nepasiseka panaikinti ausis uzgulusio slegio; grieztai draudziama staigiai kilti I pavirsiu is didelio gylio; nevalia erzinti rykliu ir kitu naru; negalima pamirsti nei vieno "negalima", nes rezultatas gali ir tikriausiai butu labai liudnas… :)

Tik jokiu budu neissigaskit ir nepagalvokit, kad nardymas reikalauja kazkokiu ypatingu gabumu. Nors ir ne pats paprasciausias uzsiemimas, kurio kada yra teke mokytis, vis tik mokymasis nardyti yra didziulis malonumas. Pirmosios 10 minuciu kvepavimo po vandeniu per reguliatoriu buvo keistokos… (svelniai tariant), taciau su pirmaisiais koralo vaizdais netiketai ateina suvokimas, kad be sito keisto oro baliono ir slanguciu jau nebegalesi gyventi – ir ka mes veikem visus metus iki dabar??!

Apie povandenini pasauli reiktu parasyti atskira knyga (ko gero, ne viena jau yra parasyta!), taciau siandiena laiko turime tik trumputei jos santraukai. Turbut nereikia nei sakyti, kad kaip skiriasi salys, miestai ir zmones, lygiai taip pat skiriasi ir povandeniniai vaizdai bei gyventojai. (Todel ir egzistuoja "Dive Masters" – povandeniniu ekskursiju vadovai. Jei nezinai vietoves, nardydamas vienas mazai ka pamatysi). Toje pacioje Karibu juroje vienur bus nesvietisko grozio koralas, bet ne tokios ispudingos zuvys (jeigu galima pulkus margu ryskiaspalviu zuveliu pavadinti neispudingais!!), kitur - ne toks zavingas koralas, bet pasitaikys daugiau idomiu gyvunu: juros vezliu, raju, juros unguriu, barakudu, rykliu, kalmaru, krabu, kreveciu, didziuliu veziu, zuvu-skorpionu, juros arkliuku… O jeigu labai labai pasiseka, gali tekti panardyti su delfinais! Per musu 2 savaites Roatane, delfinai bent viena karta buvo pastebeti prie salos, ir keliems laimingiesiems is Tyll’s Dive (musu mokyklos) ne tik kad pasiseke su jais panardyti, bet suspejo ir nusifilmuoti. Ziurejom video ir pavydejom – ispudingiausi dalykai visada atsitinka kazkur visai salia, bet kam nors kitam! Mes, tikriausiai, tuo metu skaitem viena is nesibaigianciu storosios knygos skyriu :)

Nors ir koks grazus gyvenimas juros dugne diena, vis tik bene ispudingiausias buvo nardymas nakti. Naktinis nardymas – viena is PADI Advanced Open Water kurso daliu. Nakti po vandeniu viskas atrodo taip skirtingai! – Visu pirma, is pradziu labai sunku priprasti prie to, kad nieko nesimato :) Tiksliau, matosi tik siauras trumpas prozektoriaus nusviestas ruozas priesais nosi. Kai siek tiek pripranti prie labai riboto matomumo, pradedi pastebeti gyvunus, kurie diena tuno pasislepe, o nakti islenda ieskoti maisto. Labai idomu buvo stebeti, kaip maitinasi koralas. Taciau labiausiai isimine pati naktinio nardymo pabaiga, kada visi uzsigesinom prozektorius ir tyliai 5 minutes pasedejom ant juros dugno… Ir juodas kaip naktis vanduo staiga sutvisko lyg zvaigzdziu prikratytas! Pasirodo, kai kurie augalai ir gyvunai, kuriu diena net nesimato, nakti susvinta kaip mazos zvaigzdutes. Ispudingiausi is svytinciu butybiu buvo "perlu veriniai" ("strings of pearls" – nezinome, koks tiksliai lietuviskas pavadinimas) – simtai vertikaliai kabanciu didziuliu svytinciu perlu girliandu, iziurimu tik visiskoje tamsoje.

Savotiskai idomus buvo nerimas I 35 metru gyli ("Deep Dive", irgi PADI Advanced kurso dalis). Pradziai paminesime, kad I 30+ metru gyli niekas neneria grozetis koralais ar gyvunais, nes tokiame gylyje jau yra isnykusios beveik visos spalvos – neriant gilyn, palaipsniui isnyksta raudona, oranzine, geltona… galiausiai plika akimi visi objektai atrodo zaliai melyni (tik pasvietus prozektorium, matosi tikrosios spalvos). Zodziu, grozio ne per daugiausiai, todel I dideli gyli paprastai neriama su kokiu nors konkreciu tikslu – pavyzdziui, apziureti nuskendusio laivo liekanu.
Viena is mazyciu giliojo nardymo "paslapciu" yra tai, kad zemiau 30-ties metru beveik garantuota azoto narkoze – staiga trumpam pasijunti taip, lyg ka tik butum maktelejes simta gramu tekiliukes ant tuscio skrandzio :) Kiti azoto narkozes efekta prilygina zoles suktinukui (Matyt, pagal pomegius :)) Kokia bebutu tiesa, abejingu nerimui I gyli nera – vos prasnekus apie gilumini nardyma, kiekvieno naro akyse pasirodo po maza velniuka (lyg pasiulytum "dar po viena?" :)) Azoto narkozes efektas yra trumpalaikis ir visai nekenksmingas sveikatai – vos pakilus kelis metrus I virsu, linksmumas issisklaido kaip dumas.

Trumpai tariant, jeigu kazkuria diena tektu papulti I roju (mes is prigimties optimistai! :)), noretumem, kad jis atrodytu taip, kaip pasaulis po vandeniu.

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