by Natalie, with Dive with Natalie and Ivan.
This year, Ivan and I had the privilege of taking a trip around the world. We made some spectacular dives in Yap, Palau, Thailand, and Egypt. But my best dive ever still took place right here in Akumal.
It was a little choppy that day and I had some students with me. One of my students was participating in his advanced open water and the other was working towards her open water certification. She was on her third dive ever.
We jumped in the water after a short boat. Our descent was slow and gentle. We were diving in 60 feet of water, when a loggerhead turtle swam through the heart of my group. His head was bigger than a basketball and his eyes studied us one by one as we parted to let him pass. Then he meandered off into the blue as lazily as he had appeared. We also spotted green and hock’s bill turtles, as we slowly glided across the reef with the current.
As we crossed a sand bar, a sting ray sailed past us on the left. I pointed it out, and I could see excitement in my diver's eyes, a little too much excitement. I glanced back behind me and there were two bottle nosed dolphins passing me a few feet away on my right-hand side. The dolphins passed within five feet and swam off in front of me. I used my shaker making three rattles pause, then three again and then one last set of three. All of the divers were swimming after the dolphins as they disappeared. I checked that each diver was doing well, and when I turned around, I could see that the bigger of the two dolphins had turned around too.
Wild bottle nosed dolphins are large. I had been wishing they would come back, but when this nine foot dolphin was swimming straight at me, I was not so sure. At the last second the dolphin veered under me and by the time I turned around it was off to my right. It bounced in the water, and squeaked at me. I know he squeaked at me, because he squeaked the same pattern I had made with my shaker! As suddenly as it had appeared, the dolphin was gone, but the memory will always be with me - the memory of my best dive ever. After I reached the surface, I smiled for a week.
Tip - Loggerhead turtles mate in the spring. They start appearing in April and they will often "check out" divers to make sure they have not missed an opportunity to reproduce! They mate several times in the spring and can be found through June or July.
For more information on diving with Natalie and Ivan visit their website.