It’s kind of amazing how much can happen in one day. Yesterday we got up at 6.30 to head to Gatwick, one 10 hour flight later (I watched Django Unchained, Stoker, Jack Reacher and the Look of Love- I love long haul flights) we got to Punta Cana. There followed a slightly fraught experience getting out of the airport which involved lots of people asking us where we were staying. ‘Punta Cana resort’ we replied to endless blank looks. I later worked out that this would be like landing in Heathrow and upon being asked the same question, replying ‘London’.
A short taxi ride later we were checked in and propping up the bar with a chilled cuba libre chatting away to some fellow CDTC candidates. In the end we finally made it to bed around 11ish .
Today our body clocks woke us up at 6ish so we decided to get up early and have a dive. We ended up heading out with 4 other CD candidates and a kind of good natured ‘dive off’ ensued. We were diving a local reef at a dizzying depth of 9m but it was still a lot of fun checking out my compadre’s skills. About half way through the dive an instructor suddenly appeared with a huge melee of bicycle-kicking try divers, they crashed through our group before shooting off along the reef. I watched all of my fellow CDers hovering around amidst the chaos and for a moment it brought into focus just how far we’ve all come and how privileged we are to be here. It was a lovely moment but then their boat nearly ran us all over at the end of the dive and put the kibosh on any warm, fuzzy glow.
The course begins tomorrow and so far we’ve managed to glean the following facts. The entire group is about 70 including all the candidates, staff, partners and translators (one lady has a 6 person entourage). There are 42 candidates in total including people from Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, USA, New Zealand, Canada and Japan. There apparently were 43 candidates but one of them deployed a black SMB after a dive today and was instantly lost at sea.
I can’t wait for tomorrow and I’ll update you all in the evening!