Upon arriving in Taganga we headed to the hostel where we had agreed to meet Dmitriy who had kindly booked us into his hostel. However, his hostel was nice and a little out of the price range for my fellow travellers so instead we found one half the price around the corner and dumped the bags.
The day was spent largely catching up and chilling out in the nice facilities of the hostel we couldn´t afford. In the evening we retired back to our hostel where Mathilde and Ea kindly cooked some tuna burritos. We indulged in a couple of beers but nothing heavy as scuba diving was on the agenda for the next day.
Next morning we were up bright and early ready to go diving. Luke started watching videos and learning all the PADI american cheesy lines whilst I headed off on a boat for some diving. The coral was much more imrpessive and large than I was expecting and the colous were cool. I am starting to recognise the different types of fish better as well, which is good as before they were all just under the label of colourful fish. After the first dive we were dropped off on a remote Caribbean beach within the Tayrona national park for lunch. We tucked into sandwiches, snacks and drinks when we offered massages by a local lady.
One lady signed up for a 20 minute massage for 20,000 pesos which is around 8pd. After she was finished, and with a hint of jealously in my eye I asked if i could have a massage at a dicounted rate. We settled on 20 minutes for 15,000 pesos when I realised I had no money, and we were told that we were leaving for the second dive in 10 minutes. Instead, I suggested a 2 minute massage for free, which was dismissed, but then the urge of a packet of 7 tictacs in exchange for a 5 minute massage was accepted. I cheekily asked if i could have one last tictac before I handed them over and to my delight the suggestion was not dismissed. I have since done the maths on the tictac value, versus going rate of a massage and was rather pleased to discover I managed to secure a 94% discount!
After the massage it was time to jump aboard, get back into the wet suit and get the gear back on. Once more the coral was very impressive and I saw a vast array of underwater sea life. Although, there is no large fish or predators here the diversity of coral reef life is very cool still.
After the dive we motored our way back to town where I tried to have a siesta. That evening I was tired and just had a quiet one despite the jibes and efforts of Luke to persuade me to go out and have a few beers.
I am glad I stuck to my guns as I had to be up at 5.30am the next morning ready to go cave diving early. I had set an alarm, but it turns out I didn´t need to as Luke returned from his nights adventures at 5.29am as pissed as a parrot and woke me up.
I was at the dive shop for 6am and left with Sean (an Irishman) with a driver for the Tayrona National Park to meet the others divers. Upon arrival I was ushered straight onto a boat and before I knew it we were over the dive site.
The sea was really rough, and I hadn´t yet had chance to check my equipment so I was a little nervy as we were told the sea is too rough to stay at the surface and thus we were all to sink 30m to the bottom and meet there instead.
It was a lonely feeling sinking and not knowing where the others well, but fortunately the equipment fitted and we all rendez voud at the bottom. From here we swam over to the cave entrance. The cave entrance was about 4m tall and very impressive. We swam through a shoal of fish into the cave and had to use our torches for light as it was pitch black. Inside there were fish hiding in all the crevasses. Once we had explored we sat in a circle in the middle of the cave whilst the dive leader swam up to the surface and let out air to create an air pocket 30m underwater.
We took it in turns to swim up, and put our head in the small air pocket that had been created. We took our masks off and regulators out and had a brief chat which was very surreal before it was time to descend again ready for the next person. Waiting for the others though was awesome because you could face the cave entrance and see the sihouettes of the different fish swimming past at different speeds. It was a breathtaking sight. As soon as everyone had their time in the air pocket it was time to ascend as everyone was low on air, but it is certainly not a dive a will forget in a hurry.
After we got dropped off on another Caribbean beach and lazed about in the sun for the afternoon. We tucked into some food before it was time for dive number 2. It was the same dive spot as I had been to previously but the visibility was better and the coral was still awesome. I saw 2 cuttlefish as well which were really cool. After I chilled out on the beach again and enjoyed a siesta whilst I waited for the afternoon boat to take us back to town.
Back in Taganga I asked Luke how his diving went and discovered that he woke up at 11.30am and missed the entire days diving. Instead he had to watch all the videos for the afternoon and try not to get as drunk as he had the night before.
We had a steady night again chilling at the hostel before it calling it a night.
The next morning we were all up early, partly due to the excitement of it being my birthday, but mainly because we were all going diving for the day again!
We headed to the dive school and got straight on the boat to the first dive spot. Mathilde, Ea and I were diving together with one other Swiss boy and the instructor. We had an awesome dive and saw a big green moral eel, spotted moray eels, lobsters, arrow crabs and all sorts of fish.
Once we surfaced we stuck to tradition and found an isolated beach and here the other dive crew including Luke met up with us. As it was my birthday, and another girls on that day the dive school had very kindly bought some birthday cakes so we tucked into them on the beach. Definitely not a bad way to spend the day.
Once our bellies were full and after a spot of frisbee on the beach we got back in the boat and this time Luke joined us as well for an underwater party. The dive was good fun, we didn`t see as much as in the morning but it was good to have everyone under the water together.
Back on land afterwards I treated myself to a haircut before we had a few drinks back at the hostel. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the receptionist from the hostel and bought a lot of balloos and decorated the hostel and even bought me a chocolate cake to celebrate, it was really kind of her.
The drinks went down well and we were all ready to go out thinking it was late by only 8.30pm. As it it South America and nothing starts until late we crossed the road to the nice hostel and had a pool party. It was great fun with lots of drunken silly antics. When we were finally splashed out and dry we headed into town to one of the 2 clubs that exist in the town and danced the night away.
The next day inevitabely was a bit of a wasted day. I was rather hungover, but my misfortune the next day was nothing compared to Luke`s who had to get up early and force himself to complete all the exams and exercises needed to complete his PADI seeing as he had missed them on the days previous. We lazed the day away in the pool in the nice hostel and generally just hung out. Once Luke was back we went out for some food in town and went for something other than the menu of the day as a treat because it was Luke`s last day in our company as he was flying back the next morning. After dinner we forced a few beers down our gullet and headed to the other club in town with a nice view over Taganga. Afterwards we went to the beach and had a few more drinks until the early hours.
Next day we were up early and Mathilde cooked some breakfast for us all. Before long it was time for Luke to depart and head for the airport. We all said our goodbyes and it was an end in the chapter of my travels - a very drunken, fun filled adventurous part of my travels. So thank you very much sir for such an awesome time!
Soon after Dmitry left as well and was also off to the airport so again we said our goodbyes before lazing around in the nice hostel again for the day. In the evening Mathilde, Ea, Jonathan and I caught the bus to Palomino which was a 2 hour journey away to the East.