Back to the Fuchsia
I didn't dive for 97 days and it was a huge mistake.
Let's go back in time for a minute and examine how this happened. It wasn't entirely on purpose, though I did spend two (noncontiguous) months back in Vermont this spring. In between, I came back to California to attend to a handful of engagements, among them a speaking session about local technical diving. I had every intention of getting a few dives in while I was back. I even set up my rEvo.
But the weather had other ideas. Nasty swells canceled every boat trip I had my eye on, and honestly, I was pretty busy anyway, and so my rebreather sat unused while I jetted around and skied on frozen water instead of diving into the liquid stuff.
And then I came back, and the prospect of diving after so much time away seemed intimidating.
Inertia's a bitch!
It took a divemastering job to force me back into the water. It sometimes happens that visitors from out of town want to hire me to guide them on their dives, keep an eye on them, and hopefully show them lots of cool stuff.
Unfortunately, it seems that what I find cool (particularly after nearly a hundred days high and dry) isn't always compatible with the tastes of the tourists, and my frenzied excitement over the billion and one nudibranch species that were flourishing in the Point Loma kelp beds failed to inspire in my subjects the love of slugs that I hold so dear. Perhaps I should have referred them to my 12-step program to nudibranch connoisseurship. Even less exciting to them was the abalone I spotted. I guess not everybody gets so tickled to see an endangered invertebrate species as I do.
My point here is not that I'm crazy or weird, or that my tastes are esoteric, though all those things might be true.
My point is that 97 days is a hell of a long time to be away from something you love.
My charges opted to sit out the third dive, and I'm summarily guilty of not trying very hard to convince them otherwise. I was dying to get back in the water. I'd even brought along my camera on the off chance that this very opportunity presented itself. And so I went in, and despite what might be called marginal conditions, you know what I did?
I loved every second.
Everything came together. I navigated through crappy visibility. I clambered around in surge that felt like the spin cycle. I stared at rocks until my vision focused on tiny fuchsia Spanish Shawls, my favorite nudibranch. I shed the responsibility of someone else's good time, and all I had was my own.
And my good time is easy.
Because I belong down there.
It's good to be back.