Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Life has been hectic since we came back from Florida on Monday, sorry about not posting sooner. Here’s the rundown on the adventures we had on vacation.

On Monday we headed over to the boat, and just as we were about to leave the dock two of my co-workers were walking by. They walk every day at lunch time from our office, which is located just a few blocks away from the boat. I catcalled out to them and they hesitated a bit and kept walking. Who knew that they would respond when I yelled out “Hey! Hoochie?” We set sail for Newport and just puttered around town for a few days—no big whoop.

Thursday morning we woke up at 3AM and lamented having ever moved from our old house that was located 3 miles from the airport. Groggily, we boarded our plane then landed in sunny Ft. Lauderdale. We cruised around for the afternoon and then prepared for our two days of eight dives.

The two days turned into three hours. The eight dives turned into two dives. The ocean was choppy on Friday afternoon, and we had two lousy dives. The first dive was to 90 or so feet, and the divemaster on the boat buddied us up with a man who was on his own. Once we got onto the anchor line, I was experiencing some technical difficulties at 30 or so feet. My mask was flooding and I couldn’t fix it because the current was so strong. I was afraid that if I took both hands off the line I would get swept out of position. I struggled with my mask, and looked to Todd from behind my rapidly filling mask. He and our dive buddy were further down the line and eventually they escaped my line of sight. I fussed with the mask some more, and spotted the divemaster pulling himself down the line with one hand while holding his spear gun in the other. He blew right by me as I held onto the line, alone and out of sight from the rest of the divers on the boat. He didn’t turn and flash me the “Are you OK?” sign. Nothing. He made his way down the line, and I jerked against the line to capture his attention. No response from him as he slipped further down the line and out of my sight.

Then I started to get mad. I wasn’t just mad. I was furious. I was furious with Todd for ditching me and I was furious with the divemaster for blowing me off. I made it to the surface, climbed back into the boat and told the captain what had happened. I fixed my mask, jumped back in and made my way down the line. At approximately 50 feet I encountered Todd as he was on his way back, and at that point I didn't get the chance to communicate with him about what happened. At that point, for all I knew, he ditched me. He’s never done that before. Though sometimes on a shallower dive he’ll wait for me at the bottom as I slowly equalize my ears on descent—but in that instance he can see me. On this particular dive he slipped out of sight and I was left alone on the line.

“Are you OK?” he signed to me.

I flipped him one finger, and I’ll let you guess which one it was.

He held up both hands as if to question, “What?”

I pointed to myself, then to him, and then pressed my hands together as if to say “You and me are supposed to be buddied up.” Then I held my hands as if to question him, then propped my fists onto my hips as if to say “What the hell happened to you?”I scowled at him as well as I could have with a regulator in my mouth. We descended to 90-ish, explored the wreck for a few minutes and then slowly made our way back up the line and climbed into the boat.

He asked me what was wrong, and I told him that I was furious with him and didn’t want to get into it just then as I didn’t want to be that couple on the dive boat that fought in front of everyone else. Then on the second dive we were so disconnected from each other and had a lousy time of it. We hauled ourselves back into the boat, and barely said two words to each other all the way back to the dock.

In the car we talked about what had happened on the first dive. Our dive buddy took off down the line and didn’t wait for us, you know, like a dive buddy is supposed to do. Todd, worried for the man’s safety, followed him down to the bottom. He found another buddy pair and told our buddy to go with them. Once he was sure that he was safe at the deeper depth, he started to climb up the rope to find me. His logic was that I was at a safer depth and less of a worry, while our dive buddy was going to be deeper and more of a risk at that depth. My logic was “How on earth could you abandon your wife and chase a stranger down without knowing that I was OK?” We quickly resolved the problem, and resumed our vacation. In hindsight I know he was right. Though in the heat of the moment I was pissed. We said our apologies, and salvaged the rest of the trip.

The weather cancelled the last of our dives. The wind roared and the ocean boiled. We made the best of it by exploring the land instead of the reefs and wrecks. We rented a power boat and explored the Intracoastal Waterway, which is something we’ve always wanted to do. We ate at Dairy Queen so many times that we began to call it “Daily Queen.”

All in all a good vacation, even though we don’t have any photographic evidence. I think I took only three pictures while we were in Newport. I didn’t take my camera to Florida because we hauled the video camera and the underwater housing there, hoping to record our dives. But the dives were cancelled. It doesn’t quite feel like vacation without having the pictures to prove it.

Oh well, we’ll just have to go again.

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