When I found out Nick was going to be off island the last three weeks of October, my mind immediately started scheming. I love Guam and all, but that's a long time to be here without him, since I definitely have the most fun when we're together. So during our snorkeling outing with my friend Kate (center), I blurted out, "Hey, we should go to Saipan while the guys are gone." Without hesitation, she said, "Sounds great." We grabbed another friend Crissy (right), and just like that, a trip was in the works.
|Beach in front of our hotel... Vacation!!!|
Over the course of the trip, we kept referring to it as a getaway "weekend." What makes this ridiculous is that our trip actually spanned a Tuesday to a Friday. Of course, in the real world, most people travel on weekends, but in this pseudo reality we are all living in, Crissy a substitute teacher, Kate a boutique owner back in the States, and me a very part-time youth director, were magically all free mid-week.
|Entrance to the 112 steps down to the cave|
|Entrance to the Grotto. Kate is at the end of her first trimester so no diving for her. You can see where the other divers are about to jump in off the big rock in the middle. Pretty awesome dive site :)|
|About to enter another cave|
|Gorgeous fan corals amid the cave openings|
|This crazy thing is a rare find but one of its only known places of existence is the Grotto|
|Crissy and me. Poor prego Kate had to sit this one out... the main reason why I'm still on track to wait a few more years|
At the end of this dive we had only been on Saipan for about four hours, and already we knew the trip was worth it! The best part was that our next dive was coming right up. For this one we went to an absolutely gorgeous place called Wing Beach. It wasn't until we pulled up to this dive site that I finally put my finger on why Saipan seemed so much more gorgeous than Guam. Looking around, it was the same plants, same color water, same color sand. But the unmistakable difference is that Saipan did not have ungodly amounts of trash on the side of the road and on its beaches, nor did it have graffiti decorating its public structures. Such a refreshing site!
|That cliff ledge is the start of the dive. You have to wade through the surf and there's a rope to hold on to.|
|Excited to start dive #2!|
|Left to right: Me, Kate (snorkeling), Crissy. Thanks to Harry for taking these awesome pictures!|
And right there... this recap of my underwater thought process is one of the reasons I love diving so much. I think that's what people who haven't dove the depths don't understand. Diving isn't just about swimming around ogling colorful fish and posting braggy photos. When you're under water, time stands still. There's you, water, earth, life, and the breath. Nothing else really matters, and no words can be spoken. It is relaxing and terrifying. It is time to think, and time to let all thoughts escape. It is time to appreciate how big this earth is, and how insignificant my life is in the big scheme of things. It is humbling and energizing all at the same time. For as many hours as we spend wondering aimlessly on land, it is a privilege to enter the ocean for a short but intentional time to refresh and renew.
|Dinner: The bar/restaurant also sold clothes, jewelry & shoes!|
All this and I've only covered our first six hours on Saipan! So much more to share, but I will leave those stories and pictures for next time, when the adventure continues. And (cue cliffhanger) let me assure you, it was an unexpected turn of events yet to come.