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On the third day it rained. And Jamie, a single gal from Ohio, stepped out and started dancing barefoot in the downpour.
Nothing was the same after that. Friendships were forged, hearts were broken and the third annual Total Submersion Dive Festival at Sunset House in Grand Cayman officially hit full tilt.
The one-man band was pumping the phat beats and Nelly's "It's Getting' Hot in Here" opened the floodgates. Soon Jan Trigg, Ric King, Tony Noto, PADI's own Karin Casparie, Ofer Lifshitz, and the rest of the gang were feeling the pulse of the tropical night - soaking wet, they completely regressed into kids playing in the rain.
This was just one of the many magical moments that PADI Diving Society attendees experienced during a week designed to deliver the best of the dive lifestyle.
But I'm starting in the middle of the event...
Three days earlier, participants had come from as far away as South Africa and Japan (and we're still wondering how Henreitte, Yolanda and Shana found out about Total Sub) as well as across the U.S. to laugh, eat, drink and hang out with other dive junkies. Some were the lucky winners of a free trip, like father and son team David and Scott Hansen. Greeted by smiling Society staff, attendees quickly changed into island attire and met up at My Bar to begin digging through their welcome packs filled with hats, tees, Tortuga Rum Cake and PADI swag.
Members were divided into four teams: Red, White, Blue and, well...Purple (don't ask, it's a long story). The only problem is, when you divide divers into teams, competition invariably erupts. Especially at the suggestion of certain depraved divemasters (namely Brian, Dustin, Rob and Jamie). It got ugly as 60 adults started playing "Capture the Flag" - by whatever means necessary? To make matters worse, PADI Diving Society staff and team leaders, Josie, Rachelle, Malene and Mike condoned the reprobate behavior. Okay, so did I. Actually, it was my team, Team White, who started it with a less than triumphant attempt to capture Team Blue's flag. This opened the door for Team Purple, who caught the rest of us napping and somehow ended up with all the flags. And the week was still young...
In between dancin', plottin' and thievin', participants filled their logbooks with entries of Grand Cayman's signature dives, from the Mermaid Dive off the Sunset House beach to the famous wrecks of the Balboa and Oro Verde, the North Wall and Stingray City.
The competition continued between dives in the form of contests. Winners took home Scubapro BCs, AquaLung regulators and Sea & Sea MX10 cameras. But the sadistic crew of the PADI Diving Society did not make it easy. Quarters were hidden on the grounds of Sunset House and Society members searched for five Cayman quarters to trade in for five playing cards. The best poker hand won, and who proved to be the best treasure hunter and poker player? Scott Hansen, the fourteen year old kid.
Society members also attended photography seminars, gear workshops and got to rub elbows with the likes of real life dive heros Bob Talbot and Cathy Church. The week culminated with an exclusive showing of Bob Talbot's Ocean Men. And, upon hearing about all the fun and festivities, famous marine artists Wyland and Guy Harvey, as well as Aggressor Fleet founder and pioneer Wayne Hasson, joined the participants for the final two days.
Most importantly, Total Sub participants lived the dive lifestyle to the fullest, made some new friends and brought Grand Cayman to life. Join Us in 2003 from Nov. 8-15.
Reservations for Total Submersion 2003 can be made by contacting your favorite dive travel wholesaler or through PADI Travel Network at 1-800-729-7234, ext. 2 or through Sunset House Reservations at 1-800-854-4767.
Cheers to all!