One afternoon Kelly and I were escaping the heat in Juan Valdez (the Starbucks of Colombia), trying to figure out what to do with our time while waiting out the time for our package to arrive. We knew our next stop in Colombia would be Taganga, a town based solely around traveler SCUBA diving. I was not certified to dive, yet Kelly was. Kelly whipped out her iPhone researched a dive school for me and one week later, I was certified!
I had one-on-one theoretical lessons with the owner in the Cartagena dive shop. Then for the dives, they picked me up at my hostel and deposited me on a boat to the beautiful Rosario Islands. My practice was in a pool on an island resort and my dives were in the most incredible coral reefs in the Caribbean in perfect 85 degree water (no wet suit required).
One of the coolest experiences happened on my second dive of the day. All the usual diving tourists had left for the day, except for me since I was staying overnight to complete my certification the following day. I ended up diving with 5 island locals that the dive company had gifted certifications (pretty cool dive company, they also have a program set up for veterans that have suffered debilitating injuries to experience the weightlessness of diving).
On the boat, I couldn’t communicate with these locals as they were rapidly talking Spanish and I was just not following. When we got underwater though, we all were speaking the same language and I forgot that minutes before I had been unable to communicate with them. But there, underwater, we all were pointing out different things to each other…the Flounder hiding trying to camouflage with the sand on the bottom, the lion fish that appeared in a crevice. It really was a unique experience to suddenly have the language barrier dropped, just like that.
I am now in love with SCUBA and cannot wait to dive more in Taganga!