Location: Roatan, Honduras & Playa del Coco, Costa Rica (with the briefest of stops in El Salvador)
Becoming a certified divemaster
After 12 long weeks of sweat, blood and only the occasional tears, it was a true achievement to complete the PADI divemaster internship.
My diving has improved a hundred fold since landing on the shores of Roatan, and I’ve learned so much about myself and what makes me tick underwater in the process.
Whilst others might go in pursuit of unfathomable depths or all-out thrills, I’ve really enjoyed honing my skills as a naturalist (not to be confused with a naturist – I managed to keep all essential body parts covered whilst diving) and hunting out the best macro life that the reef had to offer. From obscure molluscs and crabs, to dainty fish and eels, I’ve discovered the thrill of discovery, and I can’t wait to take my new found hobby in the macro-rich waters of Costa Rica.
You’ve heard a bit about what my time as a divemaster comprised of, and you’ll be hearing more about what becoming a divemaster entails over the coming month, but thank you to everyone who’s got in touch to congratulate me or to ask me questions – be it about the specifics of doing your divemaster training, or just about diving in general, my digital door is always open, so feel free to get in touch if you want to know more.
An unforeseen reunion
About a week before I was set to leave the island, I was treated to an unscheduled hello. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a friend I’d made in the summer happily waving out from what looked to be a very familiar setting – the stunning Mayoka Lodge in Roatan. I met Shannon (aka the amazing Traveling Wild Woman) at a writing retreat in Venice, where we shared ideas, stories and many, many gelatos. But as she jetted back to her home in Cayman and I set out on my travels, it struck me as unlikely that we’d see each other again. It was a real pleasure therefore to be able to arrange an impromptu meet-up and we chatted over a delicious breakfast as if no time in the world had passed.
For me this is exactly what social media is made for – socialising. Being able to meet up with a friend all thanks to a few artfully tagged photos on Instagram reminded me that, while saying goodbye to people we meet abroad can be hard, you never know when you’ll next see them again. In this small world that’s only getting smaller, it’s more likely than ever that they’ll be stumbling back into your life when you least expect it. How great is that?!
Talking of goodbyes…
This was always going to happen – I knew that leaving Roatan was inevitable and that the goodbyes that would difficult, but I still don’t think I was fully prepared for how hard they’d hit me. It’s testament to the wonderful people that have become my circle of friends, and the friendliness of even those who were just acquaintances, that saying goodbye was so tough. I will truly miss the madcap bunch of people that life and chance threw into my life.
Saying goodbye to the motley crew that have become my dive family was tough
Fortunately, I can say with confidence that this is so-long but not goodbye. With a couple of international rendez-vous already scheduled in, I can look forward to the laughs that will come with reliving the bizarre and brilliant memories that have made up the last 3 months of my life with some of my newest friends.
My last night on Roatan ended with a sunset cruise on the dive boat with all the Coconut Tree team – goodbye’s are bitter-sweet
A surprise delivery
The Honduran postal service is notoriously bad. The Honduran postal service on the island of Roatan is pretty much non-existent. I reassured friends and family before I left that I wouldn’t be expecting post at any point whilst I was away and, should they wish to send a birthday card, they could email me something whimsy instead. It came as a pleasant surprise therefore to turn up on our last day in the shop to a jiffy bag with my name on it. Inside was a birthday card from James’ Dad, complete with the most-wonderfully tacky badge. The fact that it arrived at all had me gobsmacked, and I proudly touted my ‘birthday princess’ badge all night.
As if this wasn’t enough, I got double the unexpected hit of post when, two days later having left the island for Costa Rica, Coconut Tree got in touch with me to say that yet another letter had arrived – this time a birthday card from my Mum. It’s a shame I didn’t get to open it in person, but knowing that it made the journey across the Atlantic is good enough for me.
It’s been a busy month, one that’s been marked by change. Having just arrived in Costa Rica, I’m looking forward to sharing all the highs (and, as promised, any lows) from this next chapter of my travels.