In my previous post STOP: Hammer Dive! I ruminated on the fact that I attained a SCUBA certification for the purposes of returning to Bimini to dive with hammerheads. The trip of destiny was finally at hand!
I arrived at the awesome Bimini Scuba Center run by the equally awesome Neal Watson to check in for my dive when they hit me with a metric shit-ton of bad news – the dive was CANCELLED!
Yup, the dive that I got SCUBA certified for, flew to Bimini for, and got all shined up for the hammerheads was CANCELLED!
A storm was en route to Bimini from Miami (thanks, America!) causing the seas to turn to chop. Diving in choppy seas is brutal so I get why the dive was CANCELLED!
Nonetheless, I was crushed and I immediately de-evolved into a soggy piece of white bread.
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Neal Watson, the owner of Bimini Scuba Center, threw me a bone – the seas would still be relatively calm in a couple of spots so we could snorkel through the shipwrecked SS Sapona and snorkel with Caribbean reef sharks.
With no other options I agreed to the alternative dives and away we went.
The shipwrecked Sapona was cool.
The reef sharks were sweet little angels.
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Alas, my hammerhead dream would not be realized on this trip to Bimini. I guess that I did not make the proper sacrifices to Poseidon or the Drowned God or Mer-Man.
And that is exactly when Neal f’n Watson spit directly in the faces of the sea gods. Even Mer-Man!
As were heading back to the dock Neal out of nowhere says, “I’m going to throw a bait box into the water and try to draw in some hammers. We only have about 15-20 minutes before it gets dark. Get your equipment on.”
Wait, WHAT??? Neal was legitimately trying to get us an impromptu hammer dive because he knew how disappointed I was that the scheduled hammer dive was cancelled. Yes, he was!
The bait box went in the water. A few minutes later a distinctly hammerheady shape was visible about 30 feet below on the ocean floor.
Okay, so this was happening.
Problem: I was on a snorkeling trip. I didn’t have any scuba equipment. A hammerhead was literally in the water way down below and I didn’t have the proper equipment to get there and snuggle with it. Nooooooo!!!!
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There were a pair of girls onboard the boat with us that were also doing the shipwreck and reef sharks, but instead of snorkeling they were SCUBA diving. The one girl out of says that her ear is hurting her and she doesn’t want to do the spontaneous hammerhead dive.
Then, she looks at me and says, “Hey, bony-jabroni, do you want to borrow my gear so you can swim down to the briny depths and get fully nude with hammerheads?”
Okay, she didn’t exactly say that, but she did offer me her tank, BC, and a diving hood. THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!!!!
Okay, now I have the appropriate gear. This can happen, right?
Problem: I’m SCUBA certified, but I’ve never done a dive outside of my training. All of the sudden I’m about to go diving without any prep time to get my mental game ready. Panic time!
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I must have had good SCUBA training because I have no memory of getting the gear on, but somehow it was on. I was legitimately panicking on the inside, but I didn’t want anyone onboard to know that I was a diving virgin.
Neal said that it was time to get in the water. I hauled my carcass of a body up, went through my mental checklist as quickly as I could, and then I fired my fat ass into the water. My first SCUBA dive was on.
I descended down the line all the way to the briny depths finally reaching the white sand bottom. And at the bait box below there was an epic giant hammerhead shark feasting on the bait!
Wait a second? Where was my GoPro?? I FORGOT MY GOPRO ON THE MOST EPIC MARINE MOMENT OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!
In my panic to get my gear on and not die on my first SCUBA dive I completely forgot to get my GoPro before I hopped into the water. What a complete rookie mistake!
There was no way that I was going back up to the boat to get my GoPro. I would just have to enjoy this experience without having the capacity to share it with the world. Sorry world!
After about 15 minutes of spending time with these incredibly sexy beasts we ascended the line and that was that. My dream had been realized in the most spontaneous and ad hoc of fashions.
I owe a huge thank you to Neal Watson for just being a cool mutha f’er and pulling this together outta nowhere. That was just awesome and I can’t thank him enough.
Folks, if you ever go to Bimini and want to do anything related to snorkeling or diving then Bimini Scuba Center is unquestionably the place to go. I cannot recommend those dudes enough.
And the morale of the story is that sometimes when your dreams seem to be completely dashed they can still unexpectedly come true. Just make sure that you have your damn GoPro in your hand when they do!