A checkout dive is typically done when SCUBA diving so that the dive master can verify your skill level and make sure all is well. However, in Cozumel a checkout dive apparently consists of the dive shop giving you equipment, directions on where to swim from the docks, and then saying “let us know if there are any issues” – this approach was eerily similar to my first dive ten years ago in Malaysia when the divemaster showed me how to put on the gear, told me to jump in the water, asked “are you nervous?”, and then took me underwater for forty-five minutes. In both cases, all ended well.
Our checkout dive today lasted for more than an hour as we enjoyed the sea life at between five and twenty feet; for me this was my first ever dive in the Caribbean. In addition to an odd artificial-reef thing filled with dozens of yellow French grunt and several mannequins, the obligatory species-sighted list includes: three different eels, three stingrays, numerous shrimps and crabs, a scorpion fish, two lion fish, and about a gazillion other reef fish. The lion fish in particular were ridiculously pretty, but as an introduced species they’re apparently having a bad effect on local fish populations so seeing them is bittersweet.
Tomorrow we’re off for a couple of dives, followed in coming days by even more diving. My camera is waterproof only down to five meters so sadly there won’t be any pictures, but no doubt tomorrow’s journal entry will contain a story about stupid things Ryan did while underwater since it’s been five years since the last dive trip and the rust is bound to show.