So time has once again flown by, and I find myself facing Christmas without knowing where the time has gone!
When I arrived here in Coco and Ocotal, the whole area was very quiet. Very few ‘Gringoes’ (North Americans to the locals) around, and although Saturday nights were noisy in town, the bars were filled with mainly locals. 3 months later, and oh how things have changed!!
It is now officially high season, and not only is the diving getting busier, but town is full, and life has picked up a pace! But the arrival of high season not only brings more people and therefore more nights out, but it also bring withit the arrival of Manta Season.
The giant Pacific Manta frequents our area between roughly December and March, typically at Catalinas Islands, but also around the local area. These magnificent and magestic creatures can grow up to be 7m in diameter, and are completely harmless to us divers. As plankton feeders, their mouth pieces can look intimidating for those who have never seen them before, but they are gentle giants who are highly curious of divers, and love the feel of our air bubbles on their under-sides.
This year, we have been exceptionally lucky, and not only do we have the Manta Rays at Catalinas, but we still have the Bull Sharks at Bat Islands. This means that one day we dive with Bull sharks reaching 3m in length and circling around us, and the next day we dive with Pacific Mantas. Does life get much better!!
So 3 months in, and my Spanish is improving with help from Concho our DM, and Pin our Captain and their enduring perseverance with me and my “Spanglish!” My tank lifting abilities have improved 10 fold, and swinging the tanks into the back of the truck is now no longer a struggle every tank! All in all, I could comfortably say that I have the hang of this – its all well and good really as we have a new Dive Master Trainee joining us and I have the task of showing her the ropes!
So Christmas in Costa Rica will be a little different from home. First of all, its not freezing cold and snowing, and second of all, nothing interrupts diving here! This means that I will spend Christmas Morning underwater – there are definitely worse places to be!!! Diving followed by all the food we can eat…with such a multicultural community here, Christmas Dinner promises to be a taste bud sensation!
So for now, Pura Vida…and Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad!