10 New Things I Learned on Our Family Bahamas Vacation Part 3

Thu, 03 April 2008, 11:09 pm

There were a few other new things I learned in the Bahamas beside what I’ve covered in parts 1 and 2. I’ll start with the ultimate undersea experience.

6. Seriously Could U Bring enough Air (SCUBA)
Dad decided he would surprise Mike and me with early birthday presents. Available at the resort was a PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. This was an intro course where we watched a video and took some pool instruction before going on a real dive with an instructor. The first day we got the video program out of the way which, for me was like watching an in-flight airline safety video. I figure when I really need the information they’ll probably remind me how to put the mask around my head in the event of cabin depressurization, so let’s not sweat all of the details. We then went to get our gear and head to the pool.

Scuba involves a few things that are strange to the uninitiated. Perhaps the most perplexing to me were the BC (Boyancy Compensator) and the Regulator. The BC is a vest that holds the air tank to your back and inflates/deflates to ascend and descend in the water. The regulator is the set of tubes hooked to the tank that you breathe from, the back-up breather, and the air gauge that tells you how much air is left. Of course you must also fiddle with fins, a mask, a wet suit, a weight belt, and the all-important air tank to complete the ensemble. We got instructed on how to put it all together and then we hopped into the pool.

Scuba Dive Preparations
Kris, Mike and Dick get schooled on their Scuba gear

Once in the pool we had to learn all of the worst case scenarios first. What happens if your mask fills with water. How do you signal that you are out of air? What if your regulator falls out? How do you prevent your ears and lungs from imploding? You know…the truly enjoyable parts of Scuba that make you hop up and say “Hooray, I’m so glad that man figured out how to fake being a fish without evolving some gills.” We learned a few hand signals and it was time for my first taste of underwater breathing. What a rush!

We got going at 11:30am on day two by getting all of our gear and heading out to the excursion boat that would take us to the ocean reef. Our instructor told us we would be down for about 45 minutes. The air was cold that day with a 20 MPH wind whipping and some pretty good waves, but the water was warm. I was worried about remembering all that we had learned the day before and getting cold before our dive was over. Mike, on the other hand had his marriage to worry about. The cold weather made his fingers shrink and his wedding band loosened up. Rather than leave some booty at the the bottom of the ocean he decided to clip it to the boat. The good news was that if he encountered a mermaid she wouldn’t be scared away by the symbol of matrimony. hmmmm….

Mike’s wedding ring on the dive boat
Mike’s wedding ring stayed aboard the boat

Despite our jitters we managed a smile in anticipation of warm water and a great reef view.

Kris and Dad on the dive boat
Kris and Dad ready to dive

The next thing we learned was how to jump off of the boat and into the water. Once we had all taken the plunge it was time to head down. As each of us went down, we equalized our ears. Mike had a little trouble getting equalized, and Dad seemed to be floating off to China after letting go of the rope. I felt pretty good as I went down, but all I wanted to do was stick close by the instructor. When we finally got comfortable, one of the instructors snapped this shot of us.

Scuba underwater picture Kris, Dad, and Mike
Kris, Dad and Mike make their first ocean Scuba dive

The dive itself was spectacular. It didn’t take long for us to feel at ease in 10-15 feet of water. The reef was breath taking with all sorts of plant and marine life. I took a few shots with the disposable underwater camera, but it can’t do the experience justice.

Underwater reef

45 minutes went by in a heartbeat. When we got back on the boat we were all tired and happy. A few days later Dad and I were each battling a water-plugged ear which was a small price to pay for a great new experience.

7. Workouts in boat shoes are not advisable
Let’s get this out of the way first. Tricia did not pack my sneakers. There I said it. Therefore it is undeniable truth that it was her fault I had no suitable athletic footwear on vacation. So, after I let it be known how annoyed I was that I had no sneakers to work out in, I decided that I would pick from my remaining footwear to hit the gym. We were on vacation so technically I didn’t need to work out. However, my body was protesting my buffet addiction and was aching to burn off just a bit of it.

The choice I made was this lovely pair of loafers.
Boat Shoes

Even worse was the only socks I packed that would go above my ankle and protect my foot were black. I’m positive that I got dirty looks when I entered the gym because I looked like this guy I met on vacation a few years ago.

Lego Land Tourist
Kris with hid future self Legoland 2004

So I ran my usual 3 miles in the loafers and black socks on 3 separate occasions. I developed a large blister and a well deserved complex about what a Tool I looked like.

8. It does rain in the Bahamas
Here was the view from our airplane as we approached Freeport on March 22.

Bahamas Rain

In the month of March Freeport is supposed to get a total of 1.57″ of rain. We had that much rain in the first 4 hours of our stay. By the time Monday night rolled around we at least doubled that rainfall estimate. The best part was that it beat the 25 degrees and snow we had left behind in Rochester. The rain really didn’t damper our fun, and by Friday we had enjoyed 3 perfect Caribbean days of sun and beach fun.

9. Non-umbrella drinks are not welcome here
It is common knowledge that you don’t go to the islands to drink dirty martinis. For me, the new experience was the volume of variants to be had. Here’s some of what I sampled:

  • Sex on the Beach
  • Rum Runner
  • Bahama Mama
  • Poison Ivy
  • Green Monster
  • Pina Colada
  • Strawberry Daiquiri
  • and my personal favorite…Dirty Water

Even more fun was ordering all of the above “Virgin” for the kids. One of the highlights of the trip they recite to every adult who asks is “We had lots of cool drinks like Sex on the Beach”. D’Oh! Why can’t they remember ‘Bahama Mama’?

10. I figured out how to use my Canon camera’s stitch function.
It works reasonably well. The photo below was composited from 8 stitch pics on the beach in front of the hotel. I had to do some blending between the photos to make one continuous scene, but it is still pretty cool. Click and Enjoy.

Bahamas Panorama

There you have it. A synopsis of our Bahamas Family vacation through the lens of 10 new things that I learned. Thanks again to my parents for inviting us on the trip and to Lindsey, Mike and Lily for some great memories. I can’t wait til we come up with our next vacation. The tour guide within me is ready for another round.

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Read: 3 comments on “10 New Things I Learned on Our Family Bahamas Vacation Part 3”

  • 1 triciarz 04 April 2008

    First of all at a few days short of 33 years old, you can pack for yourself. I was told that I unpacked the sneakers from the suitcase and they would still be in the spare room somewhere. Let the record show that upon our arrival home, the sneakers in question were still in the closet. The lack of appropriate footware was totally not my fault! And yes Kris did look like a tool.

  • 2 44 Top Family Vacation Blogs 08 August 2010

    […] Things I Learned on Our Family Bahamas Vacation – The story of a family vacation in the Bahamas, from the touching to the funny. […]

  • 3 check this site out 01 July 2012

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further write ups thank you once again.

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