It took me only a couple of days to set up a two week trip after being
contacted by Hart. Hart and I met last year on the Caribbean
Explorer II in Saba / St. Kitts. Since then he had taunted me with
his other dive adventures so I decided to make him suffer a bit by
attending with him on this trip. My wife, Kim accompanied me and
16 others during week 1. The TCEXII crew did a great job handling
a full boat.
Week 2 started off sadly enough when I accompanied my wife to the airport
(I recovered quickly, thank you).
Sadness struck again later in the week when Hart, my dive buddy for
week 2, completed his solo diver course and I was replaced by a
Fortunately for me, Kevin stepped in to fill the
void left by Hart's betrayal. Kevin even saved the day when he
seemingly took off like a mad man to the bottom and rescued my
camera set up from the abyss. We were out over the wall and I
guess I just let go of camera after submerging and before I could
clip it on. I doubt that two timing Hart would have done that
|The trip sarted with our flight from LAX to Miami to Provo. Although the
Sibonne Beach Hotel office was
closed when we arrived after our delayed flight, we were greeted by
a guard who escorted us to our room. Warning: The AA flight is
scheduled to arrive at 8:30 pm. Best to make sure you eat before
taking off. Just one less thing to worry about.
We just lounged around Sibbone
all day Saturday. I really recommend the little hotel.
More pictures are in the Above Water
|At 3:30 p.m. Van Taxi picked us up
and we started our adventure! The TCEXII (formerly the M/V
Ballymena) is an awesome boat. It's spacious, clean and efficient.
It makes a bunch of water (two filters can each produce two gallons
a minute) and they have nitrox. The nitrox was my only
complaint. For some reason, they just couldn't get the O2
level up to 32%. Some dives were in the 27% range.
In two weeks I never saw 32%
The dive day is something like this... eat, dive, rest, dive, eat,
rest, dive, rest a long time, dive, eat, night dive, sleep.
Biggest problem for me was was trying to avoid a deco dive on dive 2.
I was getting one hour dives on nitrox but the surface interval
between dive 1 and 2 was usually very close to 60 minutes. Get
in early on Dive 1 to maximize your surface interval for dive 2.
Lunch is served after dive 2 giving you about 90 minutes before dive
3. The dive 3 / 4 SA was between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.
Water temperature was between 82 and 84 Suunto degrees. I'm a
big guy and only wore a wet suit (my shorty) 3 times. There
were occasional currents that would be cooler, but they passed
|What did I see? Eagle rays and Caribbean Reef sharks. I
didn't see the hammerheads that several people spotted the first
week. Lots of garden eels, arrow crabs, puffer and burr fish
(look at this cool little guy),
octopus, moray eels, conch,
boxfish, drum fish, barracuda, way too many lionfish, nurse
sharks, stingrays, parrot fish, angle fish, grouper, creole wrasse,
trumpet fish, lobster, and, according to Hart,
As with any trip, pride of country sometimes
leads to "border" disputes. Unfortunately for me, I was
out numbered by our friends to the north, which resulted in the
following graffiti being applied to the bottom of my tank.
My lame attempt at a reply came with this on the bottom of Hart's
Other Interesting Links
video of life onboard the TCEXII Courtesy of Liquid Assets
Click on the Over/Under
Video of the actual Pago Pago game at Thunderdome.
Another Video of the Pago Pago game show
|Thanks to the great crew of TCEXII:
Week 1: Capt.
John, Engineer Ken,
Chef Stan, Purser Chrissy, DM Dave and DM Jack
Week 2: Capt. Ken, Engineer Doug, Chef
Stan, Stewardess Daysi, DM Dave and DM Jack
And thanks to my fellow passengers that
allowed me to have so much fun above and below the water:
Week 1: Chuck, Nancy & Alexandra; Ken &
Sharon; Jack; Bob; Mark & Kimberly; Hart; Kelly; Minna; Dave;
Kevin, Steve & Lindsey; and of course, my wife Kim!
Week 2: Larry & Marcia; Richard & Brenda;
Kevin; Neil; Christine; and Hart
Divers stop by to visit!
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