Thursday, December 13, 2007

After a yummy lunch at the hotel canteen (30 pesos for all you can eat!) we kitted up and loaded up on the boat to head out to the wreck for our wreck dive.

On our way out of the bay, Cheryl briefed us on the wreck of the San Lucia. The San Lucia was a cargo ship carrying dry goods (some say drugs) into Manzanillo in 1958. After offloading its cargo, the ship got caught in a hurricane and sank in 20 feet of water off the Manzanillo coast. As we approached the wreck, we could see bits and pieces of it sticking up out of the water, serving as perches for a couple species of sea birds.

We tossed our kits into the 78 degree water and jumped in ourselves. Cheryl paired Peter and me together and Loren and Kiel together since they had cameras. We did our proper five point descent and hit our max depth of 20 feet. With Cheryl leading the way, we started off on our tour of the San Lucia.

Maintaining neutral buoyancy, or hovering, in the water is akin to flying. So we flew next to the wreck, hovering to examine the nooks and crannies that the aquatic life have turned into their habitat. The ship is full of life, as if Mother Nature is atoning for claiming the ship as her own by turning it into a glorious display of color and movement. Hundreds of fish of every imaginable color, shapes and size swim around us, seemingly choreographed in an elaborate dance set to the haunting and sorrowful lament of the ship itself, which sings a groaning song of warning, or perhaps surrender, as it moves and shifts with the changing tides.

50 years of salt and sea have rusted holes in the ship that allow sunlight to filter down on us. With a slight inhalation of breath, one can rise up and peek into those holes to spy on the schools of fish. Some swim out to peer back at you before darting back to their pack, seeking safety in numbers. You may find yourself reflected in the black eyes of a dog faced puffer fish, who matches your gaze warily, not particularly wary anything, much less a human. It is a magical and enchanting experience.

We did two dives on the San Lucia and saw (most notably) two eels, some trumpet fish relaxing in a reclaimed metal cage ( a shark cage? Or perhaps it was once used to transport exotic animals?) and a huge puffer fish that would have been the size of a basketball if he had been threatened enough to puff. We all clambered back onto the boat, tired but chattering excitedly about what we had seen.

Now we are back at home after a quick stop at the Commercial for dinner supplies (ramen, avocados and chocolate milk for me…I’m in a weird mood). Loren is on the computer editing his photos and I’m writing this longhand to be transcribed later. We have our deep dive tomorrow so we need to get some much needed shut eye.

Hasta luego!


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