Sep 09, 2004
On the way back, I was invited by the dive guys for a few beers in the town to celebrate the Danish couple passing their course. It was a very good night considering the language barriers and I got to hear a lot of incredible travel and diving tales. Craig and the Danes slipped away quite early and I ended up chatting to Darrell the owner for quite some time. He knew I was heading back to Hahei at the weekend to pick up a bus to go South and he asked me if I fancied going diving before I left. They were trying a new kind of adventure dive and he asked me to come along as a sort of guinea pig to give my comments and also to be part of the photo shoot for their new website and brochure. For free! He knew I had to be back just after lunch to catch my bus and offered to drop me off back in Hahei, in time for the bus - save hitching again. Well, I couldn't refuse, and couldn't believe it. What a fulfilling, rewarding and incredible day. If somebody had said to me a few months ago that I'd have been meeting people like this and doing all this, I would not have believed them. Not for a second.
Today couldn't have worked out better. The 'attendees' for todays dive consisted of a young Danish couple taking their 'Open Water' course, and me. So they were occupied by instructor Darrell whilst diver 'Craig' and I went for a 'play'. We ended up having two great dives and a good snorkel at one of the secluded bays there. The Aldermen Islands are actually a reserve so you cannot walk on any of the islands or touch anything for that matter. Consequently, the wildlife was out of this world. There were a few times when we managed to crack open a couple of 'Sea Urchins'. Holding them in your outstretched hand casually invites the local fish to come and have a free feed. I can't express how incredible it was to watch and feel these beautiful, natural creatures eating out of your hand while you stroke them very gently with the other. They were completely at peace in their natural environment and more than often joined us on our tour around their home, as if showing us around. I was also lucky enough to have a 'Debbie moment' with one of those little Leatherjackets. I spotted it in the distance and had started to cruise towards it when I realised that in fact, it had actually started to cruise towards me. It swam right up to me, right up to my mask and just glared in, all cute and pretty. We shared a moment and went on our way, though for a split second, I was tempted to take out my reg and give it a kiss. Back on the boat I beamed a smile similar to the one that Debbie wore that day in the Bay of Islands.