Thriving and diving.

That’s a sign of success.

9th March 2022

Prickly Bay, Grenada – Tyrell Bay, Carriacou via Tyrell Bay & Sandy Island, Carriacou.

There are some places in the universe where humans have evolved to thrive in and others where they have no place to be at all. They thrive in warm climates, where sunshine can warm their bones and on land where they can travel almost effortlessly. Places where they have no natural reason for being at all include bobbing about on the ocean or at the bottom of it looking up. Luckily for us we have thrived in one and survived the other.

Leaving the high hills, dense forests and new friends behind in Grenada Ruffian headed out into the open ocean once again. This was not our usual ocean sailing. For 1000’s of miles we have been effortlessly pushed along, we’ve not had to think too hard and certainly not had to pull sails in. We were now sailing upwind, against the trade winds, bashing our way through the swell and having to work for every mile. This was not somewhere we were designed to be, but Ruffian revelled and she headed to somewhere that would be perfect for us feeble humans.

With Ruffian’s work done we settled in at the aptly named Sandy Island, which like its name suggested is; an island; and Sandy. This was somewhere we could thrive. The sun turned the water unreal shades of turquoise and blue and bounced off the white sand warming us from both above and below. Ashore coconuts swayed in the wind while conch shells littered the island showing us that this little spec of land could give us everything we needed.

We couldn’t stay in our own perfect piece of the Caribbean forever and, as the wind built and swell started to break over Ruffian’s bow, we made our escape. We didn’t have to escape far to find flat water, entertainment and entry into a place where man simply shouldn’t exist.

In the corner of Tyrell Bay was a big red and white dive flag where we could get training to enter the world of the deep, where fishies reside but man is just a tolerated visitor. While Iain had happily won his diving certification in winter, in a UK gravel pit, while basically swimming in mud, Fiona felt that the warm tranquil Caribbean waters were a better prospect. While she was taken under the protective wing of Raquel from Lumbadive, Iain started on yet more beloved boat jobs.

As Fiona familiarised herself with technical diving equipment, hand signals and safety instructions Iain folded himself once again into the locker to get intimate with the water pump. After hours of painful investigation Iain had got deep into the bowels of the problem and finally identified an errant switch and in the same time Fiona had survived her first foray into a new underwater world.

As Fiona’s confidence and knowledge grew, we dived under Raquel’s ever watchful eye and were able to venture into a new otherwise inaccessible world together. As we descended our ears squeaked and popped and the bubbles from our regulators floated effortlessly to the surface. Around us fish glided smoothly in the ocean currents while corals grew into impossible shapes giving sanctuary to colourful critters that used them for protection and sanctuary. This was somewhere we had no place in being and only technology allowed us to linger.

With Fiona excelling in her new world Iain took to his old one to explore the island by bike. The little wheels of his Brompton spun at breakneck speeds as he rolled down hills and he then had to dismount to push his steed up the other side. Arriving at the far end of the island after braving unmade roads, unmapped trails and scaring steep gradients he finally found the most bizarre of tourist ‘attractions’

Like the scene from a horror movie, he had stumbled upon a graveyard where the sea was slowly taking over, claiming the graves and committing the inhabitants to the deep. The surf broke over crosses that had long since been pulled into the waves and it felt as if more were lining up along the shore waiting for their inevitable fate.

Finishing his island circumnavigation, Iain found Fiona full of post dive endorphins. She’s once again survived a brush with the deep where stingrays flew past her, other worldly trigger fish gave her hard stares and giant groupers stood guard over the water she swam in. The reward for all this hard work was a red and white painted toenail showing the whole world that she was now a certified and competent diver, able to thrive at the bottom of sea looking up to where mere mortals reside.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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