World Oceans Day
June 8, 2009
My first and second and third SCUBA dive (same day)
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
Pool trained-passed. Classroom trained-passed. Off we go. Southern California diving requires a wet suit, year round. A FULL WET SUIT. Mine was quarter-inch custom fit…..like a glove. Fricken/fracken cold water. With the life being squeezed out of me and weighing 437 pounds, over the side I went, 60 feet down, head for the cave . Yes, true, brand new diver. Yep cave diving. NOT. It had a Hollywood Bowl entry fit for baby divers. So we (my accomplished dive partner) swooped into the darker water. Everything that could go equipment wrong with a dive did. Hilarious fun story (on deck) but I want to tell you about my water.
My first dive. 60 feet. You cannot ‘see’ the color you are in. From the surface to below as the light fades I had clear to, foggy grey/murky green/blue/bluer/bluer/black. From the bottom I had a clear muted grayish mush, then looking up was sheer transparent blues of all colors with sunlight streams shimmering and dancing. I spent time unknown on my knees looking up…until my partner poked me.
My second dive. 45 feet. Partnered with my Dive Master (another hysterical story) I encountered some unwanted company. I was not in my world. I was allowed to explore a bit on my own as long as we kept line of sight. Eyes on. I was thrilled. At this depth we had more company. More stuff growing, more stuff wiggling and wafting around. I was enchanted. I was in another world and I was in love with this freedom. Then I saw my sea monster. I wasn’t carrying a game bag, so nothing to fight over. He really is a blind bat kinda hunter so he virtually must have something to bite right in front of his face. I am safe. He is hiding in his dragon cave (a hole just big enough for him to back his wiggly Morea eel bod into) and he is ready to pounce upon the closest passer by. I am safe. I was 7 feet away from him. He pokes his head out a bit (6 inches) so I tuck my arms to my side. He pokes out a bit more (6 inches..more) so I fold my arms across my chest and clench my fists (no yummy fingers) What do I look like? A whale. What does he do? HE COMES OUT. Did you hear me? HE COMES OUT ALL THE WAY! They are not supposed to do that. Not on your first dive, I read that book. I start slow and easy moving with my water and staying beside the reef. I figure he will return to his lair. NOT. Can you hear me hyper-ventilating my tank dry? He swam right over to me, stayed right beside me, kept pace for about 15 feet. I swam just like I told you I had my arms. An unlikely escort, not at all in character and disturbing. My sea monster. Oh yeah just to let you know….he was longer than me. I wish I could tell you his story.
My third dive. 7 feet tops. (oops, bottoms?) I was in a storm. An incredibly powerful heart pounding heaviest air sucking (fresh tank) the perfect storm. OK, ok but I’m a bit on my high-wire, still. Closer to the shore line we were subjected to surge. It was wonderful fun, just had to watch your depth to rock ratio surge force. If you wanted to stay still you had to grab a rock, much easier to go with the flow. But I saw something. There… Wait. See there, did you see it? I maneuvered closer. The sea grass was about 3-4 feet tall and in the surge it acted like the image of waves crashing on the sand. That big curl. Big huge curl to the left….flowy, flowy, big huge curl to the right. Very cool. But I saw something. Well I just had to go check it out. Hard fought to get closer. Swim swim, swoosh left. Swim swim, swoosh right. See it? What the ??? is that? Ok wait, sea grass will part. I am 4 ½ feet from the ugliest toadliest monster I have ever imagined and I would have to imagine that ugly AND it was the size of a St. Bernard AND it was dead. I thought I was the first person to discover how a dead fish in the sea was found??. Wait a minute. How can a dead….that thing, not move? Stock still in between two rocks with sea grass swishing back and forth over the top of it? Not Moving. Oh jeez, just had to get a little closer. I’m holding my breath….Cardinal scuba sin. It WAKES UP. Did you know the verb, “dart” was invented by a fish? Are you familiar with mach speed? I got within arm’s reach of it…WE know now, because I was not breathing, WRONG… do not do!! Thank God they can move backwards because he would have had to bowl me over otherwise. Do you know how ugly grouper are? Please go look. This was the end of that tank of air. I was over my day. I would also love to be able to tell you his story. I have lots of dive tales in lots of waters. This was my first time in. The oceans bring me to heart pounding life.
Post Note. Divers always pick up trash.
and to further note, thank you Crazy Girl for this invitation. Oceanic Blog-A-Thon!