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“Tunnel Rock”  September 9, 2010

by Caciques Jackson Rafter and Sasha Whittle

For our second day of scuba, the campus was up early setting up their scuba gear, despite the sleep-in. After breakfast, each scuba group loaded the boats and took off quickly to finish the final required skills. The morning of skills felt long as we all anticipated the deeper and more adventurous dive. Each group raced back to the boathouse to switch out to their second tanks. Some of us struggled to complete 10 pushups with our tanks and gear on, punishment for leaving our tanks unsupervised. We cruised on our boats farther from the shore than usual, not being able to see the creatures that awaited us at the bottom. We grabbed the boats anchor line, many of us clenching with white knuckles nervous for our first deep dive. We reached our depth of 30 feet and began to calm down as we looked at the beautiful scenery around us, dozens of patch reefs scattered to our left and large reefs and rock to our right, which seemed to go on forever in the deep blue, clear water. A southern stingray glided behind us followed by a school of yellow tailed snappers. Our dive instructor pointed out a Caribbean spiny lobster hiding under a patch reef. It felt liberating to explore around the Bahamian reefs without having to remove our masks, simulate out of air scenarios or complete other skills we were forced to do in the morning. The current gently pushed us toward Tunnel Rock which we took turns swimming through. The hole, the “tunnel,” was so tight that we had to swim through making sure our tanks and fins did not disturb the fragile coral. After making it through the tight tunnel we resurfaced with a newfound confidence. We completed our first open water dive and we were eager to take our tests and become certified tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully by then, all 48 of us will be newly certified divers and excited to continue scuba through out the semester.