Diving Through Paradise
December 21, 2011
Off the shores of St. Thomas, Ian Daly dons a tank and discovers a fantastical underworld
As a frequent traveler, one of my favorite ways to experience a new place is to fly in at night. You arrive groggy — plane-weary and disoriented — watching the silhouettes and glimmers of a strange and magical location materialize through the window of a taxi. Your imagination is forced to render details only sunlight can verify. By morning, you can see how right you were.
This is how I experienced St. Thomas on a balmy Thursday evening in October — not above ground, but underwater.
I met Arnoldo Falcoff, divemaster of Patagon Dive Center at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, on the little beach by the rental kayaks and sailboats. He’s a tan, soft-spoken Argentine in his 60s (and I tried not to take it personally that he’s in better shape than I am in my 30s). A nearly full moon shone through the swaying palms as we loaded our gear onto an inflatable gray dinghy and made our way out to the dive boat anchored offshore. It was a quiet night. The sound of clanging air tanks and the lapping tide was all we heard. But to a scuba diver, these sounds invoke an almost Pavlovian response. They are, and always will be to me, preludes to adventure. …
Click here to read more in the Winter 2012 issue of The Ritz-Carlton Magazine