Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cave Diving

Well part of the reason why I have not blogged for a while is that I have been taking a cave diving course on the mainland. This course was fun, but goodness, was it hard work!! Allie, although already cave certified joined me for the class (see my dive blog for more on the diving).
The cenotes are in the jungle:
I saw my first tarantula. Apparently a male - I forget the name of the breed. Our cave instructor Steve used to have a pet tarantula so was able to tell us a bit about this one. The first clue that he was a male was the fact that he was out during the day. Once sexually mature, these guys live to mate (not unlike their human counterparts!). Steve's speculations were confirmed when our frisky little guy came out for a wonder - Allie spotted that his front legs had two little hooks on them. They use these to hang onto their lady when mating. I say lady, but the female tarantula is a little impolite, in that once she's taken advantage of her hapless mate, she tries to eat him. Apparently the average male tarantula mates between 4 & 5 times before getting too old to defend himself against his evil bedfellow. Hey a girl's got to eat, right?
Anyway Steve told us that these guys are very slow moving and will only bite if you try to pick them up (nothing could be further from my mind). The bite is apparently no worse than a bee sting. The dive briefing continued but I couldn't help keeping an eye on our new friend - just as well as his path would have taken him right over Allie's feet. Pretty cool experience. Not sure I trust Steve's bee sting analogy though.

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