As long as I'm bringing you up to date, I suppose that I should also tell you that Kelli and I are about to become grandparents, our son Josh and his wife Regis are expecting our first grandchild in the middle of March. So Kelli and I are taking a very rare vacation for 2 weeks and going to meet our new grandson, Adam Patrick Blalock from March 15th through April 1st. I know, it's very hard to believe that I'm actually going to be a grandpa, I'm simply not old enough! But in spite of specific instructions from me to both of my kids to wait until I was 50 to turn me into a grandfather, my son had to defy me and make me a grandfather when I was 49 and 5 months.
I've had an awful lot of people who come to Saipan and want me to take them on a couple Grotto dives. After having dove the Grotto well over 1,000 times, I'm probably one of the most experienced Grotto guides around. The top picture is some of the Gregorian fan coral that lines one of the swimthroughs outside of the Grotto. It is quite spectacular to swim up through the passageway and look up through the fan coral. In the picture directly above, a few sea whips are lit up by the flash and stand in contrast to the deep blue of the ocean out the other side of the cave. I know where the sharks and barracudas like to hang out, I know all the best places to find the nudibranchs, and most importantly, I know how to get you safely over to the rock in the Grotto and out of the water safely. Many people are under the mistaken impression that just because they are certified, they are qualified to dive the Grotto. If you don't have extensive experience in the Grotto, you need to go with someone who has or you can very easily get yourself into big trouble in a hurry. This big white tip reef shark was hanging out in the fan coral cave when I took some divers down last Saturday morning. I've seen him there several times before, but none when he was as friendly as this one. He just kept going out and coming back in putting on quite a show for us. All in a days work. That was a 4 Grotto dive day for me, and I have to admit that those days definitely take their toll on me, but again, it sure as heck beats sitting in a radio station talking about idiot politicians. Yup, the work is hard, the hours are long, and occasionally the students can be very challenging, but there is just no better job satisfaction than seeing someone's eyes light up when they see their first turtle on a dive. Absolutely priceless!