a fiction blog



Why me?  Why must I be the plankton god?  WHY must the plankton torment me so?  What did I do to deserve this???

Oh wait... if I'm the plankton god, maybe I have it all wrong! to get the plankton to go away, perhaps the offerings need be made TO me, not by me...

Saturday, Lamont, Mark, Brett and I met for a bright and early (get parking places) line run (not so bright eye'd and bushy tailed?)... with vis on Tuesday, I was optimistic and expecting a continuing trend of better vis...  "oh dear planktonic friends, please hear my pleas and keep your distance, if only for the next 3 hrs"... 

It was to be Lamont and my first 3K set up as a "team". We've been diving a reasonable bit as of late (he's taken pity on the poor scooter orphan), and we were ready.  I have the enthusiasm, he has the knowledge of where to do the drops...  Our mission today, O2 and 70' bottle at the "Drop Zone" and then an 80 stage at the 3K block.  

Start of dive...  Tide coming in...  Hey, this doesn't look like it will be all that bad...  In fact, from where we are standing, vis looks great!  I can see TONS of jellyfish (both lions manes and egg drop).  After this week I think we should rename Puget Sound "Egg Flower Soup Sound" in the spring...   It will be an obstacle course, I see that already, "avoid angelina jolie lips" will be the name of the game. 

After discussing with the push team how they wanted their bottles dropped, (bouquet, no bouquet, left side, right side, etc...) Lamont and I made our way forth into the sea of soup.   WTF!  why are these bottles misbehaving so!   it's been over a decade since I toted around this many bottles and never with a gavin, kick kick, shake, shimmy, gotta toss em over my leg so they tuck behind the tanks and into the slipstream, and stop dragging me all cattywampus... This could be a new dance move for the kids in the clubs... I now dub thee "the deco bottle thrutch".  

Okay, we made it to the can buoy, all bottles in place and behaving (under protest i'm sure, secretly planning their devious revenge). Descent.  Uh.  holy smokes vis is bad.  Maybe it will open up a bit as we get deeper.  Hm.  no joy.  Maybe it will open up as we get to the beams....   Lets just put it this way, some how the plankton were swallowing up the photons, even the I-beams were so engulfed that our lights reflecting off the metridium came back a dull brown.   Looking over at lamont it almost seemed as though he was diving on a scout, but no, 18w light saber in hand, it was the plankton.  Indeed, they were happy to see me... They'd heard my pleas as a joyus invite, a chance to coalesce... 

Running low and close to the line, Lamont led the way. On my side.  The right side.  It turns out that Mark likes the right side as well, so I figured it would be a chance to practice running on the left.  Bleh.  This will take some practice.  (this is foreshadowing if you hadn't guessed it)  In a minute or so we reached the "drop zone" and I proceeded to muck up vis even WORSE doing the "detach the bottle" dance.  This is where you realize that those bottle that you'd stowed so perfectly by tossing over your thigh have become quite comfortable there and not really interested in going and laying in the muck...  Thrutch thrutch... kick kick.   (thinking to self, oh man  I hope Brett and Mark are not right on our tails cause I'm making a hell of a mess and hopefully the mild current will carry away the silt cloud and cover my, uh, lack of finesse) Finally I dislodged the snickering bottles and clipped off Brett's bouquet to the line.   Before the dive Lamont and I had discussed that the "smoothest" way to drop bottle would probably be for him to grab the one I'm carrying, me to grab his and clip them off (okay, so more foreshadowing here) This was confirmed.   at the 3K drop we would institute that plan.  Okay, so vis is not getting any better.  in fact, it's even getting worse.  I wonder where the GD seals are... They have to be somewhere. 

OOOO!OOO!O!OOOOO  shark! just a glimpse, but in the shadow of Lamonts light across my scooter I am sure I saw the nose of an 8' sixgiller!   

ACK!  in my shark distracted moment I took my eyes off the road for split second... THE NOOSE!  duck and dodge,  phew!  missed it!  Oops, I then realized i'd pushed lamont WAY off the line as I was in my happy "right sided line running spot" which put him WAY over to the right ;)  Okay okay, fine... scooting back over to my side of the line.   hmm.  I know the xmas tree is coming up... lurking... waiting...  GAH!  there it is!  it surprises me every time.   Dodge left, lamont ducks right, then back on track.   Hey, vis is opening up a bit...  

As we cruise into the stage drop area and I present my left side for lamont (take the buoyant bottle please) it dawns on me as he's clipping it off that we've just gotten wires crossed... okay... bottles crossed.  If Lamont takes my bottle and puts it on my side, and I take his bottle and put it on the other side (Marks voice echoing in my head "put my bottle on the high right side..."   uh... eheheheh... oops...  It was a very smooth fast drop and I was not sure how to communicate that we had to swap the bottle position, cause even with wetnotes it would have been "uh... they are set up so nice, why again?"  SO we left things as is.... uh... "Hey lamont, what do I do with this spare Tow cord?  is this yours?  It doesn't have any initials on it..."    *shrug*, guess I'll hang on to it...  (another d'oh)  HEY PUSH DIVERS!  PUT INITIALS ON YOUR STUFF!  ;) 

wow.  without all those bottles we feel free as birds, even had to pitch down a little so lamonty could keep up... soaring back over the line (and me now in my happy place on the right side)... cruising cruising... EEK! X'mas tree again!  Why can't i get used to it!   Suddenly on my left I hear a muffled "SOB!!!"  and look over just in time to see Lamont get NAILED in the face by a large Lions Mane Jelly... OW. that looks like it hurt.   Huh... why am I now having to pitch back up?  AH... it's cause lamont is now on a mission to get the heck outta here ASAP (something about scootering face first into a sand storm) He's pushed the booster rocket on his fins and running/swimming like a bat outta hell for home.   So much so that he doesn't notice the NOOSE coming up... Oh for a camera when I need one... I did my best not to laugh...really... 

We passed the outgoing team and continued our blistering face (oops, I mean pace) for home.   I kinda noticed lamont edging to the left ever so slowly.  At the LAST SECOND, I see the big cabezon that I'd noticed on the way out (lounging at the base of the beams) and in that kind of slow mo way, thought... huh.  where there's cabi, there's OH SHIT! THE BEAM!  and veered off just in the nick of time.   Hah.  Lamont thought for sure I was gonna nail it.     

Vis by this time was so atrocious that I kinda thought for a second that we'd never see the shallower beams (and I'd get a chance to almost run into a second one in 5 second interval), but turn 30 degrees and there it was...  lamont is still on a mission... home home home home home.   Water is on a mission to be as opaque as possible... and me?  I'm just having fun, along for the ride.  

after a nice, uneventful deco (okay, well, aside from the tow cord/trigger thing) we exited the water after ~60 min (80 or so shore to shore) and made haste to the chowder house to bum some hot water to help disable the nematocysts that were still attacking poor Lamont Jolie..  Enjoying a bit of sun, waited for our push team to return so we could complete our duties as able bodied dive sherpa's :) 

Oh yeah... btw... 3 K runs are short.  blip. 

Written by Laura James, Seattle, Washington