15 January: “Grenadine Dive, Grenadine Dive, this is Two Purrfect, Two Purrfect, over”. Those were the days, Xav and I on our charter cat calling up Glenroy (Adams), owner of Grenadine Dives on Channel 16 on the VHF. Wherever we were, he would pick us up and take us for a dive, and it was, well, just too purrfect. Mayreau Gardens was one of our favourite places when anchored in Tobago Cays, and the shipwreck at night an adrenalin-packed thrill. How wonderful then, that Francis and Isabelle’s first ever dive would be right here with Grenadine Dives, and I went on a refresher course with them.
The dive boat anchored at Petit Bateau first of all, to cover the basic manoeuvres of belting up, breathing with a tank and mask clearing. Isabelle was in and then she was off, earning the nickname “Little Fish” from Tim, the dive leader. Francis was in his element too, but was still apprehensive about the next stage in open water, not a little informed by helpful schoolmates before he left warning him not to get eaten by sharks on this big adventure. “Don’t worry” Tim reassured him, “Sharks are just like big dogs…” That wasn’t exactly helpful, given some of the big dogs we used to encounter on Wandsworth Common weren’t exactly friendly. By the time we reached the reef we were to explore, Francis wondered if he shouldn’t just sit this one out, Mum? I don’t blame him. The idea of slipping backwards off a boat, into the great unknown, overbalanced by a huge metal tank on your back, is, quite frankly, pretty daunting. But back he flipped, as did Isabelle, and we were off. It was a gentle introductory dive, exploring the underwater kingdom along the reef down to a depth of around 12 metres. By the end of the session, Francis was positively disappointed he hadn’t seen a shark. Waterbabies, the pair of them.