Several years back at around this time of October, I decided that I was going to take the leap of faith and go to South America. It didn’t matter where, just somewhere. I think I took a dart and just threw it at a world map and it hit Colombia’s northern coast. That was where I was going next. To Colombia’s Caribbean coast where I knew the waters would be warm, the land would be exotic, and where terrorists hide out in. Yeah, I heard all the stories about FARC, drug leaders, and thieves but it didn’t matter to me because I also heard about the great things about this country. I wanted to make this trip a good one where I could say that I went, survived, and lived to tell about it to others how awesome and cool the trip was. The first thing that I did was do some research and I quickly figured out that there was some really good scuba diving offered in Colombia.
I did some calculations, checked my gear, looked at the schedule, and booked my airplane ticket to Colombia. First place to go was to Bogota, the capital, where I’d change flights to Santa Marta. Once I arrived there, I didn’t know where I was going. I remember thinking, “oh great, I’m in the middle of South America and I have no idea what I’m doing and where I was.” My intention was to go to Taganga, a small fishing town where boats would also take off for diving, but I was far from it. That’s when I asked a taxi driver if he could take me to Taganga and said no problem. Whew, problem solved. Good thing I spoke Spanish because I would have been in some big trouble. No one spoke English down there. When I got in the vehicle with my gear, the taxi driver drove for awhile; I wasn’t even sure if I was going to the right place because I didn’t know even though I had a map showing where to go to the dive shop and hotel. Arriving going through town, some hills, and a mountain, I could see some lights up ahead and as the taxi pulled into town, I could see where I wanted to go; I spotted the place to be at. Once I got out of the car, I asked the guy if this was Poseidon Dive Shop and sure enough, it was. I made it after such a long flight and drive.
This place was awesome. It had everything that a person could want for learning how to dive or go diving on a continual basis. The best part of all was that there was a hotel there as well so I didn’t have to go very far. All I had to do was walk downstairs. What was also great was this place also had storage area for diving equipment particularly the racks and hangers that would allow me to hang my own diving gear to dry out. This was important as this was my first foreign dive trip with my very own gear and relying on my own stuff was essential since that’s what’s going to keep me alive underwater!
The weather in Colombia particularly the coastal area was hot and humid. It was so hot ranging around 90 degrees Fahrenheit that it was a blessing to be in the water at around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Going on a regular boat cruising on the ocean water was great. Since I’ve already gone diving in warm waters before I figured that this place was going to be just about the same – nice and cool to be and look around in. And sure enough, there were lots of fish and coral to look around at. I saw quite a bit of spiny lobsters down there as well. The only problem is that some girl erased all of my dive photos!!! Oh well, that’s life for showing off to the local girls who don’t know how to operate English-worded electronic devices.
I did this diving thing for almost a week before I took off. Of course, things back then were a lot cheaper as the Colombian peso has gained in value over the years due to an improving economy and fighting off FARC and drug leaders (Peru is now supposedly the leader in cocaine manufacture and distribution). I did note that after I came back to Taganga, Colombia, things were a bit different. I remembered seeing armed guards, police, and the military walking the streets doing patrols even at Bogota’s airport. Now… not anymore. Things have sure changed in a matter of a few years. I still like the country and its people but no doubt, things have changed like they always do in life.