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2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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Blissful SCUBA Diving
Bonaire
2003
Beach Side Diving
~ Beach Side Diving ~
One Step Closer to the Goal
A Good Excuse to Go SCUBA Diving
On a diving vacation in the Riviera Maya several years ago, I met a dive master from Holland who provided me with the concept of working at one of the dive resorts that inevitably exist in conjunction with any of the popular sailing grounds. Marco was living aboard a 36'custom built sloop, cruising and diving the world over and I was onboard with that lifestyle.

I had been on many dive trips over the years and always envied the 'jobs' of the dive masters. I was stunned that I had not put two and two together before. Although Don and I both figured we could pick up some extra cruising cash with our computer skills, the idea of chaining ourselves to flickering machines while anchored off some beautiful island paradise didn't really appeal to either one of us. Diving sounded like a much more satisfying way to make a living.

Under Achieving
~ Under Achieving ~

So when we started making plans to become fulltime live-aboard cruisers in earnest, one of our first (and most fun) goals was to bring up our PADI SCUBA certifications to the employable level of Dive Master – yet another step toward our ultimate goal that didn't require us to actually have our own boat. We currently both had Open Water Certifications; next on the list would be Advanced Diver, followed by Rescue Diver, and then Dive Master.

The PADI Advanced Diver course required 5 training dives, one of which was a deep dive of 60 – 130 feet. I did NOT want to accomplish this in Gilboa's numbingly cold abyss, the quarry where we'd completed some of our previous PADI requirements.

Don and I had both earned our certifications from Aqua Marine SCUBA, owned and operated by an awesome couple named Paul and Karen. Each year, they organized a dive trip for 18 of their 'Under Achievers,' and that year they were heading to Bonaire. Focusing on our cruising goal provided us with the perfect excuse to take a week long vacation to an island that promised more than a dozen dive experiences within one trip.

Going with Agua Marina also meant Paul could serve as our instructor to approve the requisite dives. Most importantly though, going 100' under in the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean sea was far more desirable to me than the prospect of doing it in a frigid, inky black quarry pit!

Working hard to achieve a goal can include a lot of sacrifices, but quite frankly – this wasn't one of them. Bonaire gave us a magical time and we left with many wonderful memories. While there, we learned that one of our resort's dive masters was a live-aboard thus confirming our strategy for future money making opportunities as sailors. We also made friends with a couple with the very same cruising goals.

In the end, we'd be returning one step closer to the ultimate cruising dreams, and Bonaire was a stride well worth taking.