Scuba Diving at Kids Sea Camp

This One Time at Sea Camp

Last week I was at Kids Sea Camp in Bonaire, a Caribbean island located off the coast of Venezuela near Aruba and Curaçao. I traveled way south to go scuba diving with my son. (If your knew here read this I’m Going Scuba Diving With My Son, Lord Help Me). I had first discovered the amazing Kids Sea Camp run by Family Divers about five weeks ago and quickly threw together a trip. Yes, I realize how pretentious that sounds.

Any who…we were off for a week of camp for him and me!

I dropped the boy off every day at 8:30 after a lovely buffett breakfast (that seriously rocked). I then spent the next ten minutes frantically trying to collect all my shit before my boat left since none of the boy’s shit was ready even though I had allocated 40 minutes to find and get it ready. As a result I was late to the boat roll call almost daily, I’m sure my crew and boat comrades loved me for the delay. I apologize from the bottom of my heart, single parenting is hard.

The first day was an epic delay since I forgot my son’s medical form and he couldn’t start camp without it. Sure no problem, I’ll just shit that out right here (I’m seriously a fucking disaster at times). Good thing we have an amazing doctor who took the time to reply to my frantic text at 10 am and got me the necessary documentation. But not before the owner did some quick thinking and was able to buy me some time – many thanks to her on that front.

David_Hyde_Pierce_at_47th_Emmy_AwardsEach day he did his stuff with Frasier Krane’s Brother Niles’ (David Hyde Pierce 20 years ago) doppelgänger with about four inches extra height, no glasses, a dutch/german accent, and 20 lbs. Yes it was freaky but intriguing because I have never been in the presence of such a close resemblance to another human being unless they were related. The man was awesome to my son, patient as a saint, funny when needed, and non-chalant in most scenarios. He was the perfect match for the week and he was his only instructor in the amazing 1:1 ration he scored. Normally it is 2:1 so either way he woulda won.

While my son was busy learning Adventure Diving (actual book work and hands on experience) daily I was enjoying two tank dives – meaning I dove once, took a nice 45 minute break, then dove again before heading in to enjoy some lunch with the adults only. It was as divine as it sounds.

I also rented a car allowing us to tool around the island seeing Lac Bay where the windsurfer and kite boarders hang (world renown apparently), before heading for a tour along the Atlantic coastline, past the Salt Mines, and the slave huts which we stopped to take a moment for. We then watched the most beautiful IMG_6673sunset and called it a night, it was a perfect mom and son evening.

The week was moving along delightful with minor hiccups here and there with my son, it can’t all be roses and trust me it wasn’t but the lowest point was when I had to do an emergency evacuation from my dive boat. Yes, you read that right…a fucking emergency as in MAY DAY!! MAY DAY!! moment.

We were in pitching seas, about 100 meters off of the coastline. We had all just reboarded the boat after the best dive I had all week long (I shoulda known shit was gonna hit the fan). The sights were amazing – swimming with a turtle while scuttling in and out of a reef, past a huge anchor that had been there for decades based upon the coral growth on it, seeing eels, and parrot fish, it was just perfect. Until it wasn’t.

Boarding the boat was difficult at best, both the captain and our Dive Master stood on the ladder to try to steady it as we ascended onto the boat. Removing my fins in the water while the boat rolled resulted in me being slammed into the ladder, bruising my calf, it felt awesome. Upon climbing the ladder and standing up in my full gear I felt the same leg give out just as the boat pitched tossing me to the deck. After picking up my ego and myself (with help from both crew members) I deposited myself on the bench to watch the rest of the team board. The boat continued to roll with the current while the wind whipped at 20 to 25 MPH’s (it was a dry wind don’t worry). I gave up switching my tanks until we moved to safer seas and just rested.

I would need that rest because within moments, after all had boarded the boat and the crew were gearing up to relocate we had a bit of an issue arise. The engine wouldn’t start, in swells, in 25 MPH winds, and we weren’t anchored. Actually the engine did start, in time to pull the anchor, and then stalled. So that was awesome.

The one crew member declared we were,  “all a team”, which couldn’t have been any more accurate. Since we had been underneath with tanks we could not safely go back down in the water outfitted in our gear as some had reached the maximum time underwater. This left snorkels, masks, fins and a request to swim for the shore. The rocky, coral, pounded by waves shore might I add. It was announced to gear up we had five minutes to abandon ship as the crew did their best to handle the situation. One person in our group proved to be a calm leader, Jess, and led the team to the shoreline. (I know you all thought it would be me, shocking it wasn’t huh). You know who did get to that shoreline first though right? Yeah you know it – ME. I never swam so fucking hard in my life, and I am happy to say I now have the confidence to prove I can swim to a shoreline against a current in choppy seas, take that self esteem and shove it.

There was one person who chose to stay on the boat, Jay, and he was instrumental in getting the engine working again as he helped guide the crew through some of the necessary steps. Luckily Jay is a Formula 1 race car driver and knows his way around the mechanical things. Just as the last person made it to the shore, with only one person being scraped up (YAY wetsuits!), the engine fired up and Jay called us back.

Half the group decided to go back and the rest of us held down the fort on the shoreline awaiting for the busses to take us to the promised land. Yeah, no way in fucking hell was I getting back in that damn water that day. At no point was anyone going to die, the boat wasn’t gonna sink, but yeah I was over diving for the day to say the least. I spent the rest of the day slamming rum and cokes in the bar and soaking in the cool dockside water. It was as divine as it sounds, except for the evacuation part.

So there you go, this one time at Kids Sea Camp I had to fucking bail on my boat. I’d rather have stuck something somewhere to tell you the truth.

Funny side point – saw Jason Biggs in the airport when we were departing, which makes the American Pie reference all the better if you ask me. 

Oh and I hung with some asses.

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PS – I received ZERO for any of this post from Kids Sea Camp, but they are awesome and if you are considering diving with your kids I can’t think of a better outfit to do it with than Kids Sea Camp.

 

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