SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 17, October 2016 - Page 131

was about 100 feet dense in both height and width; a wall of fish if there ever was one. We swam underneath and they almost blocked out the sun. The Dive Bus picked us up at our hotel every morning and it was a great introduction to the island.

The second time we went to the island we decided to take an Air BnB on the north western tip of the island at a dive resort called Marazul in Westpunt. The northern side of the island is more secluded but it’s just a 40 or so minute ride into town. There are small grocery stores and restaurants nearby that will tide you over for your stay, as well, so you don’t need to go into town but I recommend checking it out if you have the time. The resort wasn’t over the top fancy, but was perfect for what we were looking for: a place with a gorgeous view, pool, and room for six at a fair price. There was a dive shop in the complex next door where we paid 35 dollars a day for unlimited air and we took full advantage by doing three to four dives a day. We rented a 9 passenger van and filled it with the dive team and twelve to sixteen tanks at a time as my parents limit was three dives. The north western side of the island is dotted with beach after beach and where you could pull up and swim straight out until you hit the reef and follow it north and south as you please.

My parents’ favorite dive site was Playa Piskado. We saw at least 3 sea turtles every time we went diving here. It is a beautiful beach were locals usually take their fishing boats out in the morning and then clean their haul on the dock before it gets to hot. I’ve heard it’s best to do this dive after 10 am as the fishermen are mostly back and cleaning their fish by then so you wont have to worry about boat traffic, not that this ever seemed to be a problem when we were diving. Because there are so many “free meals” as the fishermen clean their catch, there we always an abundance of fish and pelicans grabbing what they could around the dock. On both of our vacations we found one or two seahorses at this beach too. Patiently inspect the ropes near the dock the buoy lines and you should be able to find one yourself as well! There is also a cool statue of Poseidon out at about 30 feet if you swim out straight from the dock and then swim to the right when you hit the reef. He was also our usual marker of when we would start swimming towards shore.

There are over 40 dive sites on the island and we were not disappointed by any of the ones we tried!

Patrick has been dabbling in art from an early age, entering his first photo competition at age 12 and winning in the point and shoot category. He grew up under the influence of his mother's art who has practiced in acrylic and pastel for most of his childhood. The two of them started exploring encaustics in the summer of 2012 under the direction of Kat Fitzpatrick in Waveland, Mississippi. Patrick started working in a professional capacity in Okinawa, Japan in 2006, creating prints of underwater collages he created from pictures taken in the East China Sea. He continued his art education in 2013 in the Wynwood studio, The Art Place, under Danilo Gonzalez. Patrick was featured in the Art Basel satellite event, In the Mix, at the Warehouse Project for his encaustic work. He enjoys scuba diving on the weekends and turning his diving experiences into art.