Flying Underwater in Belize
As our boat arrived at Blue Ventures Dive Camp in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve last Saturday, none of us knew what to expect. 10 days on a remote island in Belize with no way to contact our friends and family definitely sounded a little scary. Would it be tough to go from the larger, air conditioned homes of our homestay families, to small, hot cabañas covered in sand and bugs? I'm not going to lie - it was definitely an adjustment. But although it was different, I knew all of the bugs and sand and heat would be worth it once we got into the water.
A lot of people in our group, including myself, went into this camp with no prior knowledge of diving, so the thought of being under 60 feet of water with only a little tank of air to breathe was pretty frightening. Thankfully, the instructors were so welcoming and helpful. As they prepared us for our journey into the deep waters, the fear slowly drifted away, and waves of excitement started to replace it. We started out in confined water dives of no more than 10 feet to work on basic diving skills and to correct any of our mistakes. I’m glad we started off with these practice dives, because there were definitely some challenges. Whether it was sea-sickness or fear of diving, everyone in our group faced some sort of struggle. But we all helped each other push through and overcome whatever challenges faced us, while also learning so much about ourselves and our ability to persevere.
Once we started the open water dives, everything changed. As we descended down to deeper depths of 40 feet (and even lower to 60 feet), the world under the sea opened up to us. It felt like we were flying around an underwater city, seeing so many different fish and aquatic creatures. It was a truly incredible experience to be diving in this reef and experiencing a totally new part of our world, and I felt so sad every time we had to come back up to the surface and go back to camp. Once our 10 days came to an end and it was time to leave, I felt a strange mix of emotions: on one hand, I was excited to return to civilization and finally tell family and friends about the amazing things I had just experienced, but at the same time, part of me wanted to stay at the small, rustic camp and continue getting to know the beautiful new underwater world we had just discovered. I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us next!