Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pit Viper Sake and a Cure for Jet Lag

Everywhere we dive has shown some sort of damage or disturbance from the typhoons this season. We came across a young green turtle who was violently munching on coral. He had probably been blown off the reef in the storm and was just getting back home, and was obviously starving. The reef in his area was mostly elk horn coral, and looked as if it had been run over with a lawn mower. The storm surge was so powerful that car-sized boulders rolled around under water. I had never really considered what kind of devastation happens under water during a major cyclonic storm, and am stunned by the waste laid to some of these reefs. Dive master Doug tells us that before the most recent storm these sites were vigorous and healthy. I'm now concerned that climate-change enhanced storms will destroy all the coral reefs in the Caribbean.

It's not all bad, though. On our final day in the water we had some awesome dives in areas that had been in the lee of the storm. There were huge coral formations teeming with fish, eels, an octopus, and gemstone-like nudibranchs. I got over my clown fish bite but still carefully harass them from time to time. The weather has become sunny, and it appears that a couple of days of three-tank dives on 33% oxygen-enriched air is a GREAT cure for jet lag.

We went out to dinner with the dive masters tonight, to one of those Brazilian beef places where they just keep giving you meat until you cry. It was my first time. ProTip: Don't eat the salad, it's just there to fill you up so you don't eat all the beef! Afterwards we stopped at the hotel's bar for an Okinawan specialty: sake with a pit viper drowned in it. The venom is supposed to be a bit of a hallucinogen. It tasted weird, like bad bananas and Everclear. I didn't hallucinate but I am drunk! Thank the Universe for good friends, good diving, and good weather.

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