Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Here I Sit...

... one month on. Yes, one whole entire month ago. I arrived in the Cayman islands to pursue a dream that had remained elusive for far too long. Now, here I sit on the front porch of the house I live in, lovingly dubbed the Olive Garden, enjoying a stiff Rum and Coke. Dave Matthews is serenading me through my laptop speakers as I contemplate just how lucky I am. It's a daily occurrence. I stop, think about where I've been, where I'm going, and just smile.

   This house is called the Olive Garden for two things I guess - It's drab olive colour, and the "jungle" that grows thick around it could be misconstrued as a garden. I find it quite relaxing. I snapped this self portrait on the last days off I had.

   I love working here. I get up in the morning everyday, and though I may be tired, once I walk across the road to Ocean Frontiers, I am excited. Always looking forward to my first dive of the day. Meeting new and interesting people. Even when I am not diving, and I'm stuck on surface watch, looking out at the expanse of the Caribbean Sea knowing that below the boat the ocean floor drops to well below 6,000ft I am thrilled. There are mysteries down there, and new adventures waiting for me, new divers I train, or experienced divers. We get to live the dream together. It's just everything I've wanted.

   I work hard, long days, with sometimes 4 or even 5 dives a day, but what is the alternative? Shoveling and wheelbarrowing. Or being stuck in an office. Or a classroom. I'll take my long days on a tropical Island thanks!

   Last weekend I went to town with some coworkers in their Jeep. This vehicle is not like my jeep. It is a late 80's Jeep TJ that survived Hurricane Ivan, but would have been better off succumbing to the forces of nature. It does not have a roof. It has lots of rust. The rust though, allows the water deposited in the interior from storms, to just leak out the holes in the floor. It kind of makes sense... In a skewed tropical state of thinking. I enjoyed the sea breeze tussling my hair. Until it rained. Hard. We got very wet. I guess the upside is I was no longer as hot. Oh! And we went to the bar to get dry! That is where things took a turn for the worse.

   Very quickly, we got to the pub, ordered drink and wings (it being Wing Wednesday). We had both BBQ and Hot. The hot weren't too bad. All day they had been egging me on to try to "Suicide" Hot Wings. I though if the Hot weren't too bad, and the Suicide were only 2 notches up the heat scale, how bad could they be? And, if you eat all 6 you get them for free. Easy peasy.... I thought. First, the bartender scoffed. Then she brought out the Liability Release and Waiver. I was scared. When the wings arrived my strategy was to eat them as fast as possible. Only six little wings! One and a half later, I was done, finished, crying. Ready to Vomit. Or commit suicide to make the pain go away. The pain lasted well into the night. The boys got their laugh, and I paid for my wings.

   On a nicer note, I came home one night last week to a friendly little creature hanging out on my pillow -

Very brave, and much cuter than this lovely surprise I found in the hallway of the house on morning. Just one of the many joys of living here!
If you weren't able to gather from my last few paragraphs that I am blissfully happy, perhaps I need to practice the art of writing more often. I'm very comfortable here, and I fully believe that island life suits me. It's quiet, but one can still meet great people and have a great time. I do foresee in the far future needing a change, though. If I had one "complaint," it would be the lack of a true, discernible Caymanian culture. To me, it just seems to be a mixing-pot of English, American and Jamaican. I have yet to find any thing that stands out to me as unique. 

   In contrast, while in Thailand, you find the people have their own style of cooking. Their own language, beliefs. There is no other Thailand. I can't find anything in the cayman culture that stands out to me. I think, after my time here, if I am still looking to work within this industry or some aspect of it, I'd love to work somewhere in the South Pacific. While flying to and from Australia I had stop-overs in Fiji, and they as a country and culture, seemed unique! They were not a country that was just colonized and assimilated...

   Oh well, I'm sure I can last here a few years, with diving (and a career) this breathtaking... ;)

These photos and a few other new ones available here.

Speak Soon,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So I'm shit at keeping this updated. But I just don;t care to write anymore... I'm too busy enjoying life. Sorry. How can I make it up to you? Photo's you say? Really? That's all? Okay - click here.

2 new albums - One of my afternoon diving yesterday. Photo's both above and below the water. The second is just snapshots of the area and bars!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

A New Frontier

Ocean Frontiers. My current place of employment for the foreseeable future.

I arrived here ok, if not tired on Friday to stormy weather and a quick tour of the area and my accommodation. The house is nice, if not a bit dirty, but that's fine. I can live with the scenery - tropical plants, hammocks, and our household puppy Maryposita. She's a cutie! I have pictures for later when I can use the shop internet from the building itself. I'm currently across the road, up a drive way and behind a concrete wall. Oddly enough the connection isn't very good. I have a room to myself with one set of bunk beds, and no new staff for the next few weeks, so the room is all mine! There's a girl living next door in a room to herself, and one of the cleaning lady's lives in the other end of the house with her young daughter, who is such a sweetie. My favourite bit? We also have a kitten that live with us! He doesn't have a name yet, but we're quite fond of each other!

Saturday I sat around and watched some more tropical thunder storms and lighting while listening to thunder BOOM over head. Was pretty boring... I just wanted to get to work! I managed to snap a few pictures of our pets and the house... will get those up when internet picks up.

Had my first day of work today... Was long, tiring and hot, but not nearly as long tiring and hot as hard landscaping in the Shuswap! The diving is amazing, the people are nice, but it is the busiest week this place has ever seen, so I'm a bit lost. I just keep busy, keep asking for things to do... Will expand on the work later when i have the energy and a touch more Battery life left.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salmon Arm,

I dedicate this video to you.

Warning: Language!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


...I bid you adieu. I say goodbye to you after near a year together. You kept my face warm. You made me look well beyond my 22 years. Well, I think you made me look gosh darn handsome if i do say so myself (I know at least one girl who would agree). Most importantly, having you around my chin allowed me to avoid my least favourite bit of morning routine: shaving. It's bittersweet, but I'm back with my razor... I'm sorry, I had to!

You see, I've gotten a new job that sounds absolutely wonderful. Having that job requires me to keep up a professional image, not to mention the fact that having a clean shaven face allows my dive mask to seal better. Important when spending hours in the water teaching others Scuba. Yes! The rumours are true. I've accepted a job in the Cayman Islands with Ocean Frontiers. There, I will be Dive Instructor/Boat Crew/Front Desk Guy. To say I'm excited is an understatement.

This is what I spent 6 months on the Great Barrier Reef and 7 months in Poo-Hole Pattaya training for. This is what I'm good at. This is my passion. I've taken a few detours over the past year and a half, but I'm finally within reach of my dream. Don't forget now, these dreams were but seeds in my head 3 years ago when I began my own Open Water training (learning to dive). Now here I am, embarking on a venture that may see me working and living in the Caribbean for possibly up to 7 years. No more Poo Hole. No more Detours. No more Beard. A new chapter.

As of this coming Thursday July 15th, I will once again be a true expatriate (for a while), and life will be be far more interesting to write about. So, I promise to keep this blog updated, regularly, with further tales of my escapades above and below the surface.

I guess I should go shave again - stuff grows in quick over 3 days!


Monday, May 17, 2010

I'll be back...

Okay, now that I'm back into my own apartment (a different one - more on that later) I'll get back to writing. I am slowly getting the urge again now that my laptop is back on a desk.

Lots to catch you all up on, but not enough time right now. Its bed time, as early rising for work in the a.m.!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Copper Island Diving

So, it's been a while again, I know. Things are just now starting to get interesting in this town. No longer do I work, go home, eat, read, sleep - with slight variations. Thursday night I joined the owner of Copper Island Diving, Paul, his girlfriend, and his full time instructor Sherri at the pool to practice cold water skills, and to brush up on some teaching.

Friday morning was a beautiful day to work. The sun was shining, and temperatures were supposed to reach 22 degrees Celsius! Our boss took us out for a big breakfast at 6am, as he does some Fridays, then we headed out to the farm where we were finishing up our job for the week. By 10am, I was done work and at home. I phoned the Dive shop to see if I could join them teaching a group of High School students in the pool. My assistance was welcomed with open arms, and I packed up my still wet dive kit, then hopped in the jeep and went down to the shop. We packed up 13 tanks and enough kit for 10 students, then made our way to the pool.

All the students had a classroom session on a Friday past, so we worked with them, helping them assemble their gear, kit up, and enter the water. Once in the shallow end of the pool, we did the usual "Try Dive," or "Discover Scuba Diving" skills, the mask clear and regulator remove/replace. We did a bit of buoyancy practice and confidence building swim in the shallow end, then we made our way to the deep end for a bit of a play. There's a was a bit of up and down, and some fins to the face, but everyone had a blast, and we spent  a good half hour just swimming around, watching the kids try and get their buoyancy down as they swam about and tossed the underwater frisbee around. It was so much fun, and great to be back into an Instructor position, as intermittent as it may be.

This coming Tuesday night an Open Water Diver Class is starting, and I'll be sitting in on that, seeing how SSI does things! It will basically be an orientation for the students, and a bit of an explanation of the equipment, before they get in the pool on Thursday. I'm looking forward to it! One step closer to being both a PADI and SSI Instructor. AND, at some point I may even be able to work at the shop on Saturdays, manning the front desk, doing sales, that kind of thing.

Check out the shop's new website here. The site is still under construction...

Will be Drysuit diving next weekend if all goes well!

Speak soon, Brock