Monday, May 22, 2006
  Aerojacks, 5/21
After all the invites went out for yesterday's dive, I got responses of one hungover, one being-lazy, one not-feeling-well, and one married-to someone-who-doesn't-feel-well. Oh, and a few no-responses. So it was just me, Balu, and Roy for the dive.

We went to John U. Lloyd State Park and discovered that the access parking lot is at present closed, so had to pay double the parking to go to Dania Beach. Then it was gear-up, drink a liter of water in 15 seconds (fucking migraines), and head out to the beach. We saw the aerojack on the beach, which is set due west of where the aerojacks are underwater, and started walking. I huffed as far as I could, then gave into my wimpy comrades' request (kidding!) to take it in the water. Walk, walk, walk. Then we started to swim northeast. Swim, swim, swim. The aerojack was still painfully far away. We just kept going and going and it didn't seem to get any bigger. I started to feel like Sisyphus, eternally doomed to kick to the aerojack I'd never reach...

Then, whatdya know, I stuck my head underwater and there was a starfish. Just to the north of the starfish was..... THE AEROJACKS! Woo! Trouble was, Roy was still pretty far away. Balu and I bobbed around waiting for him.. When he reached us, we looked down and - nada. Look up, the aerojack on the shore is further north again. AGGGH! We had drifted south, away from the aerojacks. Without even noticing. Forehead smack!

It was around this time that Paul showed up in his boat. That was a surprise! I wasn't expecting to look up offshore and see a familiar face. Apparently he got my voicemail and decided to join us.

I kept swimming north, towards the aerojack, and noted, a bit pissily, that my buddies were still pretty far south of me.. How this happened, I don't know, but I felt pretty determined to find those damn jacks again. And I did, despite the fact that the sun was now on the horizon at exactly the spot we needed to see the beach aerojack. Talk about frustration. Anyway, at that point, I noted that the boys were nowhere near me so yelled "Found 'em! Find me by my flag, I'm goin' down!" And I descended.

I dunno who Mike is, but this is him at the Aerojacks.

A few minutes later, I saw Paul coming down with his spear. The profile of a man with a spear is a horribly menacing view underwater. Anyway, Balu and Roy soon joined us. A little bit into the dive, Paul came over and pointed to the writing on his slate: Fucked up, forgot lite. Bye!

Of course, by this point, it had been, oh, 45 minutes or so since we left the beach. The sun was quickly growing weaker and clock quickly nearing the 8:03 meter run-out time. So, we checked out the jacks.. I saw a big porcupinefish, a blue angelfish, lots of weird flattened-out crabs, the TINIEST LITTLE BLENNY EVERRRRRR (seriously, it took me about 30 seconds to even figure out that it was a fish) , some gorgeous starfish, amusing little (and big) hermit crabs, and a dying little grunt that I tucked under a ledge in hopes he could die in peace and not become live sushi. I saw that happening once in a Wal*Mart fish tank and it was horrible. I also saw one of the prettiest pink-purple conch shell and it was empty, but I decided to leave it for some house-hunting hermit crab looking to move on up.

We only got to spend about 40 minutes actually diving, and then I started dolphin-swimming west (sooo sore). Then we cut it southwest and made it to shore, just as the sun was setting and the sky was oozing shades of pink and blue. Awesome.

Anyway, less than a perfect dive experience, but certainly a lesson-teacher. I'm going to be all drill-sergeant next time about staying close together on the swim out, a bit more generous with feeding the meter, and bring a dive light, even if I didn't expect in a million years that it would turn into a night dive when we started out the whole endeavor at 4:30.

On another note, it sure is nice to be able to not start dreading your Monday return to work on Saturday. I don't mind work now. I'd rather be doing something outside, of course, but as far as Working for the Man goes, I got it alright. :)

Also, when I got home today, Kitten rubbed against my legs. That is an absolute first for her. I'm tellin' y'all, I'll get her to be a good cat one of these days. Years. Whatever. (It'll be two years since I found her on 6/14!)
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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