One of my goals right now is to do a little more blogging about my personal life… Its a scary thought, I mean who really wants to know what “this guy” is doing day to day right? Well fooey with that thought, Im going to give it to you anyways! So here goes!
About a month ago I had the opportunity to do something I have not done in YEARS…. 7 of them actually. Previously a good friend of mine, Vanessa Young, sent me a note on Facebook suggesting I ditch wedding photography (yeah right!!) and try my hand at some underwater photography… In my mind this was pretty much an open invite to go SCUBA diving. Ohh heck yeah! The last time I went diving was in Fiji with some mammoth sized bronze whaler sharks, circa 2003. Its been a while… who needs a refresher? This guy! Vanessa is a certified Master Diver, rescue diver, tour guide and all things great in terms of diving, so I was feeling pretty comfortable about jumping in the 56 degree pond.
I ran down to Diver Dan’s on El Camino to get my rental gear and met up with Vanessa and fellow diver Cliff Maddox the following morning. Blasting down in Cliff’s truck to Carmel Beach, coffee in hand, Vanessa gave me a little pre-dive briefing. What to do… what NOT to do… etc. I pulled some very fuzzy memories out of my head and tried to sound as educated as I possibly could. We arrived only to find some slightly less than idea conditions and the rain was a comin’! You’ll see in the first picture below that my tank is standing on its base… yeah apparently that is like 7 years of bad luck in diving. I posted that photo to Facebook and all these divers started posting comments about beers… beers?… what do beers have to do with anything? I finally put it together that standing tanks = me buying a round for the crew. Didn’t remember that one from my PADI course.
We had two great dives… first of which Venessa saw me with my face about 6 inches from a rock… she pushed her way forward and touched the rock…. HOLY CRAP! that rock just moved! The rock was not so much a rock, but more of a decorator crab, six inches from my face. Scared me half to death! Okay, just breathe…. just breathe. I think one of the more memorable sensations was the feeling of being pushed by the currents underwater. I would try to sit still and the water would push you 5 feet one way… and then back 7 feet the direction you just came from. Forward… and then baaaackwards… Forward, and then baaaack. You travel by grabbing a handfull of kelp to remain in place while the water tries to push you back, and then when the current comes froward you lunge towards the next string of kelp. Trying to take photos in this environment was waaayy more difficult than I had expected. Seeing something, trying to focus, and snap a shot grab a shot was an act of luck. It was incredibly difficult to actually take my time and compose a shot with that kind of movement. It just made me respect the talent of those photographers that produce truly incredible underwater images.
My favorite image is the one of the sand with Vanessa and Cliff coming out of the water… what are all those marks in the sand you ask? That is the trail from where I literally crawled my way out of the ocean… no standing, not even trying to stand, just get out… fins on my feet, hands and knees clawing the sand, reaching for solid ground. By the end of our second dive I was cold to the bone, tired, hungry, and didn’t have the energy to stand up to the crashing waves. I wish some random person on the beach would have been there to see such a desperate scene. “Why is that dying walrus crawling up the beach? Ohh… my bad, thats just a shameless scuba diver.”
Despite my condition at the end of the dive it was an amazing experience. The ocean offers a unique experience with sights, sounds, and textures that us terrestrial beings never experience if we dont jump in. Thanks Vanessa and Cliff for the refresher course… You guys made it a safe and awesome experience. Beers are on me next time! (afterwards of course) 😀