Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My last great dive

Who needs a wet-suit in bathwater.  This is my second dive that weekend
So I am a scuba diver.  I said it, no need to be shocked.  I am addicted to H2O and I don't care what anybody thinks.  Unfortunately my last few years have been so busy that I've only been diving in Lake Tahoe for my advanced open water certification, and a lake near my parent's house since I desperately wanted to try out a new BC I wasted far too much money on.  About three years ago though, I went on a trip to Cozumel Mexico with an ex-girlfriend and went on several of the most spectacular dives of my life.  I've been diving in Hawaii, Grand Cayman, Florida, and Mazatlan, but this was by far the best.  I don't know if I just got lucky that weekend or maybe i was feeling so good already that it just made me think the diving was better than it really was, but I had an absolute blast.  I had just bought a new dive camera and I spent an entire afternoon fiddling with it the day before my first dive.  When we finally got in the water for our first dive, of course I had forgot to put in a memory card, DUH.  But luckily I was able to take a few pictures on the internal memory.  So after I fixed my stupid mistake we moved on to our second dive of the day.  This dive was to a location the dive master called the wall.  It was a drop off that went from 60ft rapidly down to 130ft.  We followed the boat anchor down to a small rocky outcrop and set off along the ridge.  Looking down it just seemed like the stereotypical abyss that everyone refers to when talking about the deep, but the amount of life along this entire wall was incredible.  There were thousands of fish just going about their lives as though there was nothing strange about several enormous air bubble spewing monsters entering their home.  Some of the more beautiful and wonderful creatures I managed to get pictures of, most of which can be seen on my facebook page, but I've put a few in this post for you to see.
 The next day I had one of my favorite experiences in all my dives.  I was gazing off into the distance, lost in the bliss of being underwater when I hear my dive-buddy rapping against his tank.  I looked over to see him wildly gesticulating like some sort of madman then I understood.  I looked down directly below me to see I was swimming about 4 feet above a shark.  Luckily my dive camera was on my wrist and I was able to snap this quick photo.  It was only about 3 and a half feet long, but I assure you nothing quite gets your blood pumping like being unexpectedly that close to a shark.  So for anyone who asks I always recommend diving Cozumel.  Maybe you'll find it spectacular like me, or maybe you'll get skunked, but either way you can go back to land that evening and exaggerate your stories over tequila shots and rum drinks.

Death to Shoes!!!

So I named this blog the bare footed fool and I guess I better explain that.  I wear sandals about 80% of the time.  Even when I was a heavy equipment mechanic I would show up to work at 6 in the morning, regardless of rain in sandals, with a pair of socks stuffed in my pocket, and would put on my boots last thing before starting work.   It's not necessarily that I have anything against shoes, but I much prefer to be barefoot or in sandals.  This likely goes back to growing up around the water.  As a kid my parents had a lake on the other side of our back fence and another down a dirt road a mile away.  So almost every day was spent in the water.  For me, there was absolutely nothing worse than trying to put socks onto wet dirty feet, covered in sand and dirt and grime, then walking back home.  So instead, I always wore sandals.  When on vacation, I pack more pairs of sandals than I do shoes, because vacation for me usually means drinking near some large body of water, which inevitably means I am going to lose some sandals.  Vacation for me, in fact,has to include water, and more often than not that means the ocean (see how I brought it around to the ocean Hannah).  Sure sometimes shoes are necessary on the ocean, if you are working on a tugboat perhaps, but to be in any other kind of footwear near the ocean is absolute HERESY.  Shoes are a barrier to being able to immediately sit down and dip your toes into the water, and that is something I simply will not have.

The First Time I saw the Ocean

I'm sure it wasn't exactly the first time, but at least it was the first I remember.  I think I was seven or eight, and at the time my father's company had a house on the shore in Capitola California.  As my mom likes to say "it was right near that O'neill guy's place" meaning Jack O'neill, the famous surfer and founder of the wet suit company.  I remember one summer we went down there for an entire month, my dad having finished a large project and deciding it was time for a long break.  I don't remember arriving there and I don't remember most of that summer, but what I remember is the beach.  I remember every day walking across the highway and onto the path that led down to the about 300 yard long beach.  Spending days digging through piles of seaweed and digging up sand.  I remember running out into the waves and wondering why the water wasn't much warmer, in the movies the ocean was always warm, and as far as I knew at the time, that was the way it always should be.  Of course even now I curse the fact that California has a cold coast rather than the warm waters of the gulf, but our Pacific ocean has its own beauty and unique wonder.  I doubt that any person does not love the ocean.  i know a few who are scared of it, who refuse to go on cruises because they have seen to many movies where the boat goes down or capsizes.  But there is hardly anyone who could stand on the top of the Marin headlands and not gaze in wonder at the massive an unending expanse of water lying before them.  That is how I felt as a child during that summer.  I was mystified by that enormous and unending basin stretching thousands of miles.  Awed by the power of the waves, and desperate to learn more about it.  It is from that summer that I fell in love with the ocean.  I have since been to Hawaii, the Carribean, the coast of Vietnam, Florida's Cays, and every time I see the ocean I am still exited.