The new Bomb squadron from Louisiana arrived in early October and just started getting in the groove of flying a packed mission schedule. So I took full advantage of the time off knowing the pace probably will not change until after I leave. This is a good thing though for sure meaning I get more mission experience and it helps the time pass quicker. So far I've knocked out over 130 missions all over the Pacific and have had the opportunity to work with several different aircraft other than just the B52. But my weather life really isn't all that exciting and Im sure if that's what I wrote about a lot less people would read these blogs.. unless they needed a sleep aid haha.
Ok so Saturday we went down to the Navy base on the south part of the island to check out a dive sale they do for a monthly customer appreciation day
. Unfortunately they didn't have any real killer deals that weren't way out of my league as to what I can afford for dive gear. ( the cheapest gear packages were still around 900 dollars for low end stuff). However they did have a boat going out for 25 dollars so last minute we decided to grab some tanks and jump on it before it left the harbor. The 2 dives went out to "Blue and White", which is just outside the harbor and "Vecky's Reef" which combs the outer edge of Orote point and we were picked up just before the harbor ended. Both dives were done as drifts meaning we just jumped in and followed the current until we ran out of air and the boat would find us and pick us up. This gives you a lot more time underwater and you don't have to worry about navigating. Right before you acend to the surface you fill up a "safety sausage" ( I know the jokes never stop)... which is an inflatable red tube that alerts the boat of your position. Both dives had AMAZING visibility and were really enjoyable.
The first one at "Blue and White" was new ground but I just saw a lot of the same colorful fish you see everywhere in Guam so nothing too crazy or exciting there. It was just nice and relaxing and there were lots of fish to see. Our second dive at Vecky's Reef was a little more interesting.. We found a lionfish hiding under a rock, saw several crabs that had camoflauged themselves in the coral. Near the end of the dive and unfortunatly my camera was dead for this one.. I saw a huge white fish maybe 50 feet to the right of me just flying through the water. There were two older gentlemen (probably in their 70s) right next to it and definitly got a better view. I tapped my dive partner, Chris, and he immediately started flying towards it. Apparently everyone realized before I did that this 10 foot fish was one of Guam's rare white tip reef sharks. Noone really had a chance to take a picture because it was so quick but the minute it realized we were around it was out of there
. The reef sharks are much more afraid of us than we are of them...(which is not much) and there are almost never shark attacks unless people are being stupid here. For example the only attack in the last ten years was a spearfisher who speared a shark and tried to pull the spear out before the shark was dead. And you can guess what happened after that. - one leg. Id really like to get a chance one day to go back out to South Africa and get in on some cage diving out there. Capetown is the great white capitol of the world and they have some really awesome programs out there. So if anyone wants to know what I want for christmas.... haha
Shortly after the dive I had to go back and crash to be able to prepare for a mission going out early Sunday morning. After waking up in the middle of the night, preparing the brief, and watching the radar and flight for the first part of the sortie there was still plenty of daylight left to take advantage of. Made a quick trip to the gym (leg day) ... take note... do not do this before hiking.. bad idea.. and then headed out to the "little nay " territory to hike out to Double Reef Beach. I was on my own this time... but I really wanted to do this one and had a good guidebook so I just took off. Hiking on your own is a completely different experience then with someone else. It was very peaceful and still exhilarating at the same time. The whole 5 hours of hiking was completely silent and just leaves you to your own thoughts and world
. The quiet brings out a lot more wildlife to and gives you more of a chance to really notice everything around you. For example.. Ive heard stories about these "Moniter Lizards" here which are huge lizards that are really quick and very rarely seen. Ive been on maybe 10 hikes and hadn't seen one yet. I saw 8 on this trip... Everytime I would come up on one though it would take a look at me and freeze and then one more step on my part and that beast was gone! But I did get some good snapshots of a few that stuck around long enough for me to get a picture. The hike started at the base of the island on the North end which is at around 630 feet and descended down the cliffside somewhat gradually until it met several small coves and Double Reef Beach. The coves were really awesome and involved a little extra climbing to get down there but were totally worth the extra effort. There was no trash down there and it was just one of those spots that you know people haven't been in a long time and was just "pure". Two coves later I got down to Double Reef Beach and was just frozen in time for a minute. It was a small bay shaped open beach with perfect shade from Binalo trees and really shallow but nice clear water. This one really looked like something out of a movie and topped the other beaches I have seen so far. I snorkeled for about an hour and saw more fish in one spot than Ive EVER seen diving. I guess not a lot of people make it out there so the sealife was just untouched. I saw a huge clam and a large mollusk shell attached to the reef
. I litterally hammered at the mollusk with a rock to open it for maybe 20-30 minutes. Sorry Meg... no pearl. :( Maybe next time.. After the pearl effort I realized time was ticking and the sun would be going down within the next few hours so I had to start heading back to avoid getting a dark trail. A good part of the hike involved playing the "find the tape game" but it was a lot better marked than most hikes ive done so far. So I made it back in time for sunset and headed back to base with enough time to grab some good Air Force Chow and hit the sack before another fun filled week of flying.
Ok, so there's been a lot going on lately and I haven't had much time to update this blog so ill recap last weekend and put in pictures from the dives of the weekend before.