January Rolls On

19 Jan

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog, so please let me sincerely apologise. I think that I had writer’s block, or blogger’s block I should say. Not that there haven’t been really great things to Blog about…

Over Christmas and New Years we were really busy, taking out loads of people diving and snorkeling. We had lots of students, private charters, new divers, old diver, and divers in the middle as well. Some moments that really stick out for us are going to dinner with Jay and Bob at Pineapple Pete’s. Jay and Bob are firefighters from the states, and the kindly took Chris, Aurelion, Stuart and I to dinner. It was great!

Also, we went diving with John and G, some of our favorite repeat customers. We also spent a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner with them, so I must thank them for the invite!

Also we went to dinner with Lisa and Tim (also repeat divers with us) to Jimbo’s and then drink at Soggy Dollar; they are also, really great people.

What I love best about having a diving center in Saint Martin, is when your diving customers become your friends, and then they come back, and they come back again, and then after awhile they become like family! Diving is so great in the way that it really does bring people together. We really cherish the friends that we have made by having our center here.

Something else that sticks out for me is all the certifications we have been doing. We must have certified over 20 people as new divers since my last blog, plus 5 Advanced and two Recue divers! Congratulations everyone…

Chris is in England right now… freezing his butt off! He called me yesterday and was telling me how cold the water is. It is 3 degrees Celsius. He is crazy! Chris is taking a rebreather course with Rich Stevenson from Deep Blue Tech in Plymouth, England. This is something that Chris has always wanted to do. We are hoping that in a year or two, when he gets enough training and hours using the rebreather, that we will be able to offer rebreather try dives. Sure beats diving in the cold UK. For those of you that aren’t familiar with rebreathers, they are units that are used for breathing underwater, but they are closed circuit. This means that there are no bubbles as the air that you breath out is then re-used, cleaned of carbon dioxide, has a little bit of oxygen added to it, and the you re-breath that air in. It is pretty cool, but because it is a closed circuit you can’t control your buoyancy using your lungs, so it is really strange (according to Chris) as you can’t go over stuff, you go around it. Weird. He is enjoying his course, but not the cold.

We spent Christmas day at our house with the Octopus Family… this would be Stuart, Aurelion and also Jen and Mark who are doing a Divemaster internship with us. Roger was there as well (he is our great friend who hails from the same place as Chris in Plymouth, he lives on the island.) It was a great day!

On a sadder note, our hearts go out to all the victims of the recent Earthquake in Haiti. Saint Martin has quite a large Haitian community here, and many Haitians come here for a better way of life. They find it easier to get work here (as just like in Haiti the main language on the French side is French). Many of them live here illegally, don’t get paid very well and often don’t have very good accommodation to speak of, but this is still an easier way of life than in Haiti. So, there are lots of people here thinking about there family and loved ones at home. The local phone company has reduced the cost to calls to Haiti and many of the local businesses here are taking donations of clothes, supplies and food to send over. It is a tragedy beyond understanding the devastation there….

Well, I must talk about something positive, as I can’t leave the blog on that note. So, I will tell you about Kevin. Do you all remember Kevin? I’ve blogged about him in the past, but not so much recently. He is a local kid, 10 years old, and he is always hanging out in the dive shop, usually making trouble. Well, the other day he came in and said to Chris “Chris, will you teach me how to swim? But don’t tell Sally that I don’t know how to swim, I don’t want her to know.” Chris said it was the cutest thing ever. So Chris started taking him out every Saturday. The first session went great, and Chris said that he was doggie paddling like crazy. The second Saturday session Mark took over as Chris was in the UK, and this time they snorkeled. By this time Kevin had told me himself what was going on. All throughout the week he was coming in and trying on fins, wetsuits, etc. Then he would say, “Sally, this is the pair that I am going to use. Where can I hide them so that I know where they are?” And I would say “But Kevin, I may need to lend those fins out to someone else during the week, so let’s just try and remember.” Finally, once the snorkeling day arrived, Kevin and Mark snorkeled all the way to the Grand Case Beach Club and back! Too cool. Apparently next week Kevin has recruited a friend to go along as well… We love it though. We would love to take Kevin diving, but his mom thinks it is dangerous and won’t let us, so obviously we can’t. Perhaps we can change her mind one day.

Anyway… I promise not to take so long before my next blog. Speak soon and take care.

(this blog was written by Sally 🙂 )

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