September 4, 2011

Second certified dive: Super success

Today Hiro and I took an afternoon dive at Redondo Beach south of Seattle in the Puget Sound. It was phenomenal.

After entering the water, I spent time working with my drysuit practicing the scenario that freaks me out the most. After figuring out how to move my body to avoid my previous errors, I felt much more in control and eager to set out exploring.

The small crabs were wandering all over the 10’ pebble and shell-covered sea floor, silvery perch flitted around us, and I was pretty happy. Everything changed as we hit 15’ and approached the tall, thick wood poles that supported a building pier at the water’s surface.

The first fascinating creature was a jellyfish, likely Lion’s Mane. What a graceful beaut she was! Giant (2’) starfish and sunstars of all colors wandered the floor and were climbing up the poles.

We descended to 30’. Sculpins, rockfish, and suckerfish wandered the bottom, a northern poacher fish showed its head, and graceful flowery white feathery plumose anemones covered a sunken metal box sheltering a giant red rock and a long-horned crab.

Near the end of our dive, Hiro motioned for me to pause and look up. The sun finally came out, and it the vis was so good that we were able to see sunbeams piercing through the surface and diffusing into the water. While we rested in gratitude and wonderment, perhaps 100 rockfish and perch were literally circling us, checking us out as we froze in place. THAT was nifty!

My air was down to 750, and it was time to surface. (We try to end the dive with a minimum of 500). We floated and chatted as the sun sank behind the hills, silhouetting fishermen as they busied themselves with their lines, children pointed at us and waved, and we deemed it a perfect dive.

I floated seemingly alone for a time, inflating my drysuit to its maximum and looking like a puffed up marshmallow, and restfully thanked God for a fantastic dive trip to Seattle. The sun slowly set, piercing through the clouds, reflecting off the water in a light honey color, and I was perfectly content.

I finally met both of my diving goals: I didn’t die, and I had fun. :)

THANKS, Norm, Blake, Hiro, Salem Scuba, et all for your support and empowerment in this adventure!

BTW: Best restaurant in Washington is the Jade Garden in Chinatown, Seattle. The Dim sum was great, but the experience of food presentation and service was certainly nothing I’ve ever experienced in all my travels. Check it out. The best food in Washington is located in the kitchens of my Italian relatives. :)

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