Adventure filled dives at Unexso, Grand Bahama
Day 1: Taking Off
Of course I’ve left the packing to the last minute. Luckily, I have a handy packing list to follow, so it went quick and off I went to the airport to meet my dive buddy.
The lady at the check-in desk was extremely helpful to reduce my carry-on baggage to the size that fit the overhead storage as there was no way I was going to check in my camera equipment (one land and one u/w set).
At the X-ray stop one of my flip-flops fell apart and decided to depart to footwear heaven, but a TSA guy came to my rescue with some duct tape.
After a few hours and a few mojitos in Miami, we finally landed in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Patty, a private taxi driver picked us up. As we drove toward our destination, she shared an enormous amount of information with us about the history of the island. That is how I’ve learned that Freeport is the biggest privately owned city in the world.
Day 2: Shark Diving
I love nothing more than sharks when it comes to marine life. Just the possibility of swimming with them excited me to the point where I did not need a wake-up call. I was ready to go as soon as the sun came up.
When I found out that not only can I watch them, but to partake in a shark feeder course, I was happier than any Christmas mornings.
Cristina Zenato is an Italian girl who self-taught herself about sharks and interacting with them. Today, she is one of the internationally respected, leading experts in tonic immobility (shark hypnosis).
To avoid task loading, I left my camera onboard the boat. Boy, was I happy…
After having done about 5000 dives in every possible condition (caves, ice, sharks, low-visibility lakes, in thunderstorms, mountains, treasure hunts), I felt pretty confident about the close proximity of these wild creatures.
Nothing prepared me to the adrenalin rush that filled my body and mind the moment twenty-some sharks with sharp teeth circled around us. It was unbelievable. That moment was exhilarating and scary at the same time. I would compare it to the feeling before jumping out of an airplane for the first time with a parachute.
The petting and kissing of the sharks was quite all right with me, but the moment we started feeding them and they smelled the blood, things changed. They swam faster, became a bit pushy and expected to get fish. I’ve got bit four times as my technique was not as smooth as Cristina’s. She said not to pull my hand back, but when the sharks approached with open mouth to take the fish, I could not stop my instincts. The sharks got confused about the absence of their food, so bit the nearest thing hoping it was it. Well, it was my arm. Luckily, in a chain suit. It did not really hurt, neither did it give me bruises later.
The second dive I opted out from the feeding and took pictures instead. I felt way more comfortable and took some amazing shots.
Somebody once told me that life should not be measured by the breaths we take, but rather by the moments our breath is taken away. Surely, this shark diving experience was one of the most breath taking things I have ever done.
Day 3: Cavern Diving
It was a pretty hot day, so the coolness of the jungle and the caves was refreshing and welcome. We explored Ben’s Cavern and Mermaid’s Layers. Both were nicely decorated with stalactites and stalagmites.
My (by this time) girlfriend, Cristina is passionate about caves just as much as she is about sharks. Living on Grand Bahama seems to be the perfect life for her.
Our dive turned out extra special for her, because she discovered the remaining of a creature (I promised not to tell what it was) never before found in the caves of Grand Bahama.
At the evening we chilled in the Dive Bar and looked over our photos and videos of the past days.
Day 4: Dolphin Experience
I’ve swam with dolphins before, but never scuba dove. In Cocos island I saw a few from up-close underwater, but didn’t really get a chance to play with them.
Two dolphins came out from the lagoon to the open ocean with their trainers. I jumped into the water the moment the boat engine stopped. I couldn’t wait for the others to get ready. I was super excited.
I spent about five minutes swimming with them before the others appeared. It seemed they longed for human attention, they wanted to interact with me. For minutes, there was nobody else in the water, just us.
Once everybody settled at the bottom, the trainers directed them to perform behaviors such as coming around for a pet and a kiss. I liked the “screwdriver” the most. I hovered with spread arms and the dolphin with her nose turned me around and around at an amazing speed.
My favorite part was swimming with them. I put my hand on one’s side and the dolphin adopted to my speed. We moved together as one. I was truly becoming one with Nature and blocking everybody else out of my world.
Day 5: Wreck and Reef Dives
After the previous days of adventures, today’s diving was somewhat uneventful. I mean, it was a cool wreck and all, but no jumping dolphins or speedy sharks.
Day 6: Chilling and Exploring Grand Bahama
Day 7: Heading Home (I slept through most of it)
This trip made some of my long time dreams come true. It is an absolute MUST DO.
See pictures of the trip HERE
Miss Scuba Featured in NBC' First Look
Watch as Szilvia Gogh goes under water with legendary dive instructor Cristina Zenato in Freeport, Grand Bahama to feed some of the most feared creatures around: SHARKS.