The Diving finally starts

Little Corn Island Travel Blog

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Sunrise at Casa Iquana
Tuesday, November 11
We woke up early again so walked down to the beach and was greeted by Bushman, the top dog at Casa Iguana who is somewhat famous on Little Corn Island and shrouded with mystery.  Everybody has a Bushman story – where he came from, who’s dog he was originally, etc.  Well these days, he spends most of his time at Casa Iguana and is very protective of the guests.  Kelly and Mark told us that he often will escort guests around the island making sure that he growls at the locals (they claim he is kind of a bit racist…) and happily trotting along side of you.  Apparently he has even made it on the internet with various guests blogging about him or uploading photos of him.
Bushman - Casa Iquana's watchdog and our personal escort
  Unlike a lot of the somewhat scroungy other dogs, Bushman is very clean and proud of himself.

When I got down to the beach, Bushman was lying in the cool sand watching the sunrise so I sat down and joined him and one of the other little dogs (since there isn’t much to do on the island, the dogs tend to spend lots of time procreating) who was playfully nipping at my hands and feet.  He tried to get Bushman involved but he was having none of it, content to just watch the waves lap the sand in the purple and pink sunlight.  The little crab in the picture kept popping his head up out of his whole in an effort to see what was going on.  I liked him so much I spent quite a while trying to capture his picture without scaring him back down the hole.

After breakfast at Casa Iguana, we strolled back to Dolphin Dive and geared up for what would be Cindy’s first real open water dive of any depth.
Nicaraguan Crab on Pablo's Beach
  Ralf ended up going too but he was going to dive with Yuri, a local girl who is one of the other Dive Masters in training.  

As I mentioned above, there are LOTS of dogs on the island and Carl the Dive Master sort of inherited one a while back.  Well somehow, one of the locals and he got in a big argument about whose dog it was and the local got all belligerent saying he was going to kill the dog and shoot Carl.  Little Corn Island intrigue at its best.  The end result was that Carl spent a good portion of last night trying to figure out a safe place to stash the dog so, prior to our first dive, we putted around to the north point of the island to drop the dog off at Casa Sunrise with the German Buddhist who will hopefully keep the dog safe from local terrorism.
Carl the dive instructor


After another short boat ride through a small squall and rain, we arrived at the first dive site called Turtle Rock and hopped in the water (not an easy task when encumbered in a wet suit, buoyancy compensator, tank, masks and fins).  Carl told me to drop down and hang out by the anchor while he helped Cindy with her initial descent.  I dropped down to about 35 feet and sat on the bottom looking around at really nice visibility, lots of coral and fish and generally enjoying being submerged at depth for the first time in a long time.  

Cindy had a lot of trouble clearing her ears and descending via the anchor rope and for a while, I was afraid she wasn’t going to make it but after a number of attempts, she and Carl were sitting on the bottom running through her exercises which lasted ten minutes or so.
Carl rescuing his dog from the locals
  Then we had a really nice dive for another 45 minutes or so with Carl pointing out lots of fish, corals and other wild life including some turtles.  Very cool!  Since I grew up diving in Southern California where the water is pretty cold and get’s really cold at any depth, I had never really enjoyed diving in 80+ degree water so I was really relaxed and the hour flew by.

After the boat ride back to the dive shop, Carl debriefed Cindy and helped her fill out her dive log before we wandered back to our side of the island, stopping to have a really big Lunch at a little local place (really just a couple of Palapas in someone’s yard) called Elizabeth’s. Following lunch was some more open water training for Cindy (who is not happy at all with how often Carl is making her take off her mask or clear her mask underwater.
Carl and Cindy on first dive
  I think he is a bit sadistic ;-)

While they were doing their training, I snorkeled around messing around with my Aquapac which is this waterproof camera back that is actually working really well.  You can check out their wide variety of waterproof bags for cameras, MP3 players, phones, etc. on their website.  I ended up with this model which worked great for a point and shoot camera with a zoom lens.   You can only take them to about 15 feet but for low cost snorkeling fun, the results are really impressive.  I swear, I really took the picture of the purple tipped anemone swaying around in less than 10 feet of water (of course minor clean up with Photoshop Elements mostly for clarity).
Purple Tipped Anemone - taken with our Nikon point and shoot and the AquaPac.
  I also got lucky and saw a couple of Eagle Rays right off the shoreline of the dive shop.

Afterwards, it was back to the Grand Casita for lesson 5 on the DVD (for me this required some Rum flavored inspiration as the whole dive video training thing is getting redundant and irritating. Dinner at Casa Iguana tonight was really tasty – local Red Snapper in Hollandaise and an awesome banana pudding for dessert (which Mark insisted I have a second helping of when he saw me wolfing it down…).  We celebrated Cindy’s virgin dive by getting a bottle of white wine with dinner which was a bit of a treat.  Another raucous party at Casa Iguana spontaneously occurred when it ended up that a Japanese girl’s birthday is today.  They ended up lifting her up on a chair and singing Happy Birthday before moving on to another exhilarating round of Plunk followed up by Jengo.
Eagle Ray
  It seems to me that drinking and Jengo (a game where you have to deftly build and then remove wooden blocks from a wobbly tower that definitely requires a steady hand) do NOT go together that well.

One of the Dive Masters from Dive Little Corn Noah who I think is Israeli and pretty fun said that they are doing a night dive tomorrow and that I should think of going out on it.  I may have to look into it tomorrow since I have great memories of night dives with my high-school friend Scott out of Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach.  I think it is a little pre-mature to try to convince Cindy though :(

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Sunrise at Casa Iquana
Sunrise at Casa Iquana
Bushman - Casa Iquanas watchdog a…
Bushman - Casa Iquana's watchdog …
Nicaraguan Crab on Pablos Beach
Nicaraguan Crab on Pablo's Beach
Carl the dive instructor
Carl the dive instructor
Carl rescuing his dog from the loc…
Carl rescuing his dog from the lo…
Carl and Cindy on first dive
Carl and Cindy on first dive
Purple Tipped Anemone - taken with…
Purple Tipped Anemone - taken wit…
Eagle Ray
Eagle Ray
The Bar at Casa Iguana
The Bar at Casa Iguana
Little Corn Island
photo by: lrecht