First Dive – Cutting My Teeth on the Belize Barrier Reef

I’ve just realized that I used the last of my toothpaste to scrub the inside of my new SCUBA mask - something about preventing it from fogging. Now my teeth feel fuzzy.

It all happened pretty fast - a quick question after breakfast: “Do you want to give it a go?”

“Sure,” I say.

We walk across the sand to the edge of the water with a tank, BC and flippers. I sit down on the steps as I get suited up and water laps against my calves; I think it’s the color of a blue Powerade Slush.

My teeth feel fuzzier. But then they meet the regulator; a minty mask goes over my eyes and I hear someone shout, “Remember, just keep breathing!”

I go under and it’s like I just woke up somewhere else.

I’m only three feet from the dock and I see lobsters gathered under a piece of driftwood; a few feet further, I’m holding a red starfish as big as a Frisbee and I’m turning over conch shells the size of footballs. I swim back to shore to drop one off for ceviche, turn, and hug the bottom out a little further.

I get down to about 15 feet and follow a few trumpet fish that are wary of the barracuda who may or may not be wary of me. I don’t like him. But he has nice teeth.

At lunch we eat conch ceviche and talk about the dive we’re going to do tomorrow - it’s only a 15-minute boat ride from the island to a big reef wall. We’re going down to 40 feet. I ask them if it’s anything like what I did today and they tell me I haven’t seen anything yet.

I’m hooked.