Panama, Day 5

Today was a blast, but also a blur; it seems that, now that a routine has been established, these days will start to run by quickly, and all to soon I’ll be aboard a plane bound back for the US of A. But until then, I’ll keep enjoying every minute of the time spent here, and logging all my wonderful experiences.
Today’s first dive brought us back to the site where I’d first tried out my camera system; but this time, we planned to dive with the current–much to the relief of my legs, which were already sore enough after the lunges we had done for PT this morning while cradling full tanks. And what a difference going with the current makes! Even with the camera, I maintained the same air supply as most everyone else on the dive, and the payoff was great when we hit a vast swath of healthy reef at 20′ near the end of the dive–beautiful color, lots of fish, and a wide variety of corals to log and identify. Shortly before our second dive, a large thunderstorm rolled through our neck of the rainforest, forcing us to change our planned dive–of another coral tube system (for which I had my gloves ready!)–and instead head the opposite direction to a wall dive in somewhat reduced visibility. We rode out, already drenched and with reduced expectations of the dive to come, but as soon as I jumped into the refreshingly warm water and watched the raindrops pattering on the sea surface as I free descended, I knew that this was going to be an enjoyable dive. And I was not disappointed, for we all experienced one of the most relaxing and pleasant dives of our trip yet, an easy cruise along the reef wall at 70′, followed by another great spur-and-groove coral reef at 30-20′. I personally was able to practice with the camera a lot, not having to worry about a tugging current or steep drop-off, and saw some great sights, the most notable of which was a mature female reef crab, whose carapace measured a good 10-inches wide, at least; we all observed her from a safe distance, none eager to accidentally be on the receiving end of her vicious claws.
After the dives, we gathered around the big screen TV at the bar to review the footage I had shot so far, which amounted to about an hour’s worth; it was interesting to watch the noticeable improvement in the footage quality for each dive, as I became more and more used to handling a camera underwater. Terrence even offered some great tips and suggestions for further improving my camera skills, which I will gladly utilize on tomorrow’s dives. The evening found us all enjoying succulent grilled carne asada and live music from our dive master’s local band; I even had the opportunity to join in on the guitar for a rendition of Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” and promised to practice with the dive master all of next week so that I can try a few more songs at the next performance. Until then…