Leveling up in Scuba Diving

I got my Padi Advanced Open Water certification over the weekend! I learned a whole lot – like how much I need to keep practicing my underwater navigation and do a few more guided deep water dives. Overall, it was a great experience! I feel more confident in the water and I finally have over 30 dives! I’ve been trying to hit that goal for a while now and it’s exciting to finally be able to check that off the list … now I just need to move to South Florida….

But the MOST exciting thing I want to share here is that we finally brought our underwater camera with us scuba diving. I am a conservative, cautious diver and when I got my Open Water cert. I decided I would wait until I had enough buoyancy control and comfort with all the things I need to keep track of (air, bottom time, depth, etc.) before bringing my camera along on dives. I take being a safe diver seriously so it was a big moment when we finally decided we were ready to bring the camera along on our first photo scuba dive!

These two photos are my absolute favorites from the trip – maybe not my best photography to date – I wish I gotten a slightly better angle on the first and better lighting on the second, but it captures some really interesting fish behavior. These two Blue Striped Grunts are pushing against one another with their mouths open. It is thought to be a behavior related to territory or mating, but the exact purpose isn’t known.

Blue Striped Grunts, Florida Keys, September 2021. Photo by Erica Lauer Vose
Blue Striped Grunts, Florida Keys, September 2021. Photo by Erica Lauer Vose

I think Chuck actually got the best photo of the trip.

Red encrusting sponge, coral, and grunts, Florida Keys, September 2021. Photo by Chuck Lauer Vose

There were a lot of Nurse Sharks in the area that circled almost constantly – apparently they are used to being fed by some divers and/or dive operators. While I didn’t love the non-natural behavior, it was fun to see them more actively swimming than I normally would. They are such graceful swimmers!

Nurse Sharks, Florida Keys, September 2021. Recording by Chuck Lauer Vose