Day 9 - Carnal, Cleaning and Casa

Rising at roughly the same time as yesterday, I roused Matt and went down to breakfast to find out precisely what had happened the night before. It had been eventful to say the least, and he had taken a girl (I would never find out whether she was from the party or elsewhere) down to the beach and had sex with her while a taxi waited nearby with the meter still running. A not unsurprising development but mutterings later in the day about how he might now be a felon gave me the impression that in this instance, the less I knew the better for all concerned. This would be the second and greatest Mattastrophe.

Both of us still dopey from the escapades last night (one more than the other), we headed out after breakfast and tried to get some water from the supermarket but again found it closed. With nary a coco-taxi in the sight, we relinquished and paid the extra cash for an air-conditioned, "proper" taxi which whisked us to the beach swiftly and without incident. The dive hut was already open by the time we reached it and a group were suiting up; I decided to join the afternoon dive only, still reticent after yesterdays brush with the bends. Watching the boat pull away from my sun-lounger lookout, I listened to some music and began to realise just how boring the beach can be when you don't have anything to do but wait.

The hours peeled away and when the boat returned I managed to scavenge most of the equipment I had used yesterday, including the blister preventing dive boots with a broken right zip. For some reason Leo stayed ashore for the afternoon dive and the bronzed figure of Obi would be taking myself and Matt out. In a tighter than normal wet-suit and a short trip out, I was equipped and in the water before I knew it. With only Matt, Obi, myself and another person, the group was blissfully small and I was now getting the hang of my prior buoyancy tribulations. Exploring the immense reefs replete with valleys and chasms was made all the better after mastering cleaning my mask. The reefs were oddly light on life and the realisation that I hadn't checked my secondary breather ("octopus") gnawed at me for some time; despite my mixed fortunes, my air once again depleted quicker than everybody else's forcing me to ascend first.

Wondering what it was that depleted my air so swiftly having now gotten over the raw nervousness I felt in the first two dives, I watched the other divers' bubbles, noting their measured length evidently making better use of the available air. This time clinging to the guideline on the boat, my ascent was a far cry from the riotous one I had performed before, slow and controlled was all the better for both my ears and my stomach. The short journey back to shore and I began to acclimatise to the rowing boat by helping transport and clean the equipment after which I was duly summoned back to the dive boat where Matt had stayed post dive.

In between rapid Spanish chatter and mouthfuls of a strange assortment of seafood and rice, Leo mentioned that he wished to speak to Matt and I about the diving course I was currently undertaking. It wasn't until we were back on shore that Leo elaborated, saying that he placed more stock in my ability in the water rather than book smarts; at the time it was good to hear and kind of went without saying but it wouldn't be until the next day that I would find out the subtext to the "talk".

The evening was looming and by now booze was beginning to surreptitiously appear in the hands of the dive team. I half-feigned illness and took a coco-taxi back to the casa in Trinidad. Swinging by the now open supermarket I came out with no less than six 500ml bottles of water, three of which I drank in the first few hours languishing in the casa. After a welcome cool shower I pottered about the room, scrubbing my suitably filthy hat, listened to music and finally snoozed for a spell, waiting for Matt to appear for the pre-arranged food time of 8pm. With no sign of him, I headed down myself and tried to explain to the owner where my compadre was. Sometime between the minestrone soup and chicken dish, a group of four stereotypically German occupants arrived and disappeared into one of the many rooms within the casa complex.

It wasn't until after 10pm that Matt stumbled back into the casa, drunk as a fish after having partaken of three bottles of rum and an errant bottle of vodka, his evening was far from over when he invited the group of Germans out to the Casa de la Musica and once again disappeared. It wasn't until after midnight that he returned and, for once, managed to sleep for a reasonable length of time.