Another world

Certified PADI scuba diver

Certified PADI scuba diver

The last couple of weeks have been great, busy and filled with new experiences. My parents came to visit for 2 weeks, which meant we had a great time with a full boat … our little 2 car garage had 5 adults (Kelly/Anna with us also) and 4 kids. This morning is a little sad, Anna left on Monday to head back to college in Germany and Abuelo and Abuela headed back to Canada.

3 Generations of Alonso's getting ready for the water.

3 Generations of Alonso’s getting ready for the water.

We watched a few of these guys swimming around ... he was about 30cm long.

We watched a few of these guys swimming around … he was about 30cm long.

Jaci on snuba ... she and I shared a tank that floated in a little boat on the surface.We each had a 50 ft hose that connected us to it. Jaci is too young to get certified :(.

Jaci on snuba … she and I shared a tank that floated in a little boat on the surface.We each had a 50 ft hose that connected us to it. Jaci is too young to get certified :(.

Modeling my gear ...maybe I missed my calling :)

Modeling my gear …maybe I missed my calling :)

As always we spent a bunch of time in the water, maybe more than normal in the last couple of weeks as Kate was working on her scuba certification and we all joined in on the fun. Kate completed her last 2 open water dives on Friday … she is now, officially a certified diver.

First time breathing underwater for Kelly

First time breathing underwater for Kelly

Can you spot the 250yr old anchor?

Can you spot the 250yr old anchor?

Getting ready for her deep water (45-50ft) dive.

Getting ready for her deep water (45-50ft) dive.

Her teacher, Alfredo is from Peru, speaks decent English but with a heavy accent and a smallish vocabulary. He used to be a Special Forces diver in the Peruvian Navy, small, stockish built guy, with a quick smile. He explained that he felt much more comfortable in the water than on land …and watching him with Kate … I’d have to agree.

For Kate’s first dive, a bunch of the family joined her … Kelly did a “discovery dive” with full scuba equipment (her and Kate’s first time). Jaci and I did snuba, like scuba, but we had a hose connected to a surface tank, instead of carrying the tank with us. Michelle and my dad snorkeled … yep, 75 and still at it … 3 generations of Alonso’s in the water.

Michelle found an octopus in about 10ft of water … this is incredibly rare, in the 15 yrs of diving, we’ve never seen one in the wild … he was big and very well camouflaged. Everyone got to see him. We also saw a few squid swimming around … also very cool.

Our morning and lunch stop. We are in about 10 ft of water, the resort ashore (La Samana) is currently closed, so very few people around.

Our morning and lunch stop. We are in about 10 ft of water, the resort ashore (La Samana) is currently closed, so very few people around.

Jack is extremely happy with his "speedo" ... he likes wearing it ... I think he is pulling it off.

Jack is extremely happy with his “speedo” … he likes wearing it … I think he is pulling it off.

Just beside Rouge Bay, our afternoon stop, we snorkeled by the rocks, even swam through an arch ... we will explore the caves next time ... beach is only accessible from the water.

Just beside Rouge Bay, our afternoon stop, we snorkeled by the rocks, even swam through an arch … we will explore the caves next time … beach is only accessible from the water.

Scuba Anna ... first time breathing underwater ... Kate had to explain later that she was not doing the "Ok" sign :)

Scuba Anna … first time breathing underwater … Kate had to explain later that she was not doing the “Ok” sign :)

Kate’s second dive (which I joined as a snorkeler) was about teaching her skills. Alfredo explain very little on the boat, which made me a little nervous … basically, “Just watch me, I’ll explain” is what he said … then they both went into the water. Headed to the bottom in about 15ft. I watched as he explained using sign language and gesture what to do, how, why and when … wow… what a great teacher … no spoken language, yet Kate got 10+ different skills and demonstrated them … very impressed.

We came back a couple of days later to finish her certification with 2 more open water dives … the first at a reef about 4 miles offshore in about 45ft of water … it was a little bumpy and you could tell Kate was nervous and unsure … deeper, no land nearby and waves … all 3 of us got in the water, and I followed with my scuba gear on.

A wonderful dive, made even better by a visit from a couple of sharks … when I saw him (why are sharks to me always hims?), I worried what Kate would do … when she saw him, her eyes got big, then settled, then she started following and swimming after him … he was so cool, and as she tells, the highlight of her dive.

Me and a couple of my girls, just hanging out ...

Me and a couple of my girls, just hanging out …

Over the weekend, we took Discovery around the eastern end of the island and stopped in a couple of place to snorkel and swim. We got the dive gear out of the locker and rigged our 3 sets … the water was at most 12ft, so Jaci, Kate and I dove around for about 45 minutes … Jaci, like Kate is a natural underwater. She did great, even using Michelle’s gear which is a little large for her.

We got back to the boat, I rigged new tanks and gave Anna a “crash course” on using the equipment, I asked Kate to teach her and Jaci some skills and got them in the water … all 3 girls stayed under for about 30 minutes, around the boat … it was Anna’s first time :) … In case you are judging me, I was being responsible, I would look over the side and check for bubbles, I figured if they stopped, I’d put down my beer and go get them :).

The world under the water is a truly like another world … It makes me understand more the need and interest in exploring other worlds … I wonder if we should start working on an Alonso space ship.

 

All work and lots of play …

Our office as we come in each morning ... we have the balcony on the left :) ... not a bad commute, except if it rains. Our parking spot is the palm tree on the left.

Our office as we come in each morning … we have the balcony on the left :) … not a bad commute, except if it rains. Our parking spot is the palm tree on the left.

I am very lucky to have found a career that I truly enjoy and am passionate about … the key is the last part … I am very lucky that I am able to pursue my passions and am able to gain an income from it.

We didn’t want to stop working when we undertook this adventure, better said, we couldn’t afford to stop working :) … so when the opportunity arose to do a couple of months of work we took it. My project involves doing some programming over a couple of months and Michelle is working on managing me <bg> and doing analysis work. We knew that to meet deadlines and keep what little we have of our sanity we would need to find a place to work.

The offices of Inlet Shores Group ... have ideas will travel :)

The offices of Inlet Shores Group … have ideas will travel :)

For about a week we talked to people here in St. Martin at every chance we got, told them about our adventure and told them we where looking for a small office to rent … we pursued a couple of leads and eventually found the place we rented. This in itself was a great experience, it allowed us to explore more of the island, talk to a bunch of people and understand a little more about not only visiting St. Martin, but working here.

Our goal was to find a place that had air conditioning and was an easy commute from the boat. We have a rental car and a dinghy, so we ideally wanted something that we could walk to work, take a bus, or use our dinghy. My goal was the dinghy one … as I have always dreamed of having an office what I could commute to by boat.

Michelle got the desk with the view ... was there any doubt?

Michelle got the desk with the view … was there any doubt?

Our little office ...

Our little office …

My desk ... the nice big monitor fell on our crossing from the BVI's and came apart. I put it back together, but the left half backlight is out :( ... It is a little dark in that corner :)

My desk … the nice big monitor fell on our crossing from the BVI’s and came apart. I put it back together, but the left half backlight is out :( … It is a little dark in that corner :)

We found an office in the main building at the Simpson Bay Marina. Turned out to be a great little place … right on the water, with a balcony that overlooks the marina. It has 2 rooms, one setup as an office with 2 cubes … and one as a studio apartment with a bed and bathroom.

Our office came with a studio apartment ... it isn't much, but has a bed, fridge, bathroom and loft :) ... right now it is a playroom when the kids come visit and storage.

Our office came with a studio apartment … it isn’t much, but has a bed, fridge, bathroom and loft :) … right now it is a playroom when the kids come visit and storage.

It is a 3 miles walk from the boat, not too bad if you do it early before the sun is up high; a 15 minute car ride (the traffic is actually bad, since there is only 1 road) or about 4 minutes by boat (our preferred mode of travel).

Sometimes, Kate or Jaci need the boat, those mornings, I get a ride to work.

Sometimes, Kate or Jaci need the boat, those mornings, I get a ride to work.

The view from our office balcony, this is place is called Simpson Bay Marina

The view from our office balcony, this is place is called Simpson Bay Marina

While I can't see this from my cubible :), the view from the office balcony isn't bad ... I may have to take up smoking, so I am reminded to go outside :)

While I can’t see this from my cubible :), the view from the office balcony isn’t bad … I may have to take up smoking, so I am reminded to go outside :)

We usually come by boat and tie up to the palm tree underneath our balcony. Our project has some tight deadlines, so we are spending way too much time in here, but such is the situation … no real complaints though.

I have another major milestone this week … and need to make up for our weekend adventure … more on this later.