Possibilities – Aug. 17, 2012

Tonight I’m a little bit late dictating the blog on my cell phone. It is about 10:30 at night, and rather than go straight home from movie night at the Pedersens, I decided to head further south and look at the stars. I’m sitting on the beach, immediately across from the gates to our transmitter site. I brought my dive light with me and a lawn chair. I’m sitting looking toward the south over the water and the beautiful waves that lap at my feet. To my left, about 20 miles away, there’s a thunder cloud that intermittently flashes lightning and lights up the sky. Immediately in front of me, I just saw a shooting star streaking towards the water. To my right, I see the lights of a tanker ship heading toward Bopec or somewhere. Just to the left of the ship lights, I see a glow on the horizon, which must be Curaçao.

Photos here

I wish Brad Swanson was here with me, as he is an avid star gazer. He could probably point out most of the stars, and tell me what constellation they are in. All I know is that it is a spectacular scene! I am away from the city lights, and there is no moon out tonight, so the visibility is great. Just overhead and stretching towards the south, it looks a bit like a band of clouds, but I believe that is the Milky Way.

Today started with packing the scuba gear into the jeep and heading to work. I’m beginning to get into the routine of going scuba diving immediately after work.

During devotions, a couple of us prayed about some of the roadblocks I described yesterday in our website development. Then, later in the morning, I dropped by Brad’s office to discuss some of the details… and I suggested an idea that may be able to work.  So, I have put together a document to be reviewed by the decision-makers and we’ll wait and see what happens!  We hope to hear something on this (online streaming) issue within the next year.  Keep praying!

By the way, I just saw another shooting star zipping towards the south above the salt-loading pier.

At noon, I went over to the Wannadive Shop beside Eden Beach and registered with them, and picked up a Nitrox tank. They have the best rates I’ve yet found, being $8 for local residents, which I currently am. This compares to $18 for an air tank with the $10 Nitrox upgrade from Divi Dive, which is across from my house. Wannadive also has a door code so you can access or drop off the tanks any time, day or night. They also have two filling stations, one of which is near the airport. I had lunch at the small restaurant on the beach beside Wannadive.

Back at work, I tweaked a few areas on the website, and reported some more issues to Laura. At this point, we are still waiting for the Tech Support Team in the U.S. to fix most of these issues.

In the afternoon, I continued working on the photo sorting. It was interesting to see some of the photos from 1999 and 2000 when they raised the new towers. My problem is, I am unable to identify most of the people in the pictures, but that can be done later. Altogether, it was a much more upbeat day than yesterday.

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At 5:00 o’clock, I left promptly, and headed across the road to Jay’s place where we loaded up his pickup truck with our scuba tanks.

I said, “So where are we going?” He said, “I’m going to take you to something special.” And I thought, Well, that’s very nice. I wonder what dive site that is? There must be something special under there. I wondered why he wasn’t telling me the name of the dive site.

We drove past the yacht harbour and took the first road towards the coastal road. Instead of turning left, he turned right into the dead end, and parked right beside a huge condo complex.

I said, “So what’s the name of this dive sight?” He said, “It’s called SOMETHING SPECIAL.” Then I got it.

Dive Site: SOMETHING SPECIAL

We suited up, and Jay included his lion fish hunting gear. He had a long, multi-pronged spear-type of tool, a guard over his hand and forearm, and he strapped a large barbecue knife onto his leg, as well as a bucket to contain the lion fish he hoped to get.

Right after we submerged, he started pointing to something over the sand. I couldn’t see what he was indicating, so I grabbed my writing slate and handed it to him. He explained that there were three tiny fish that had just emerged from the holes about 10 feet in front of us. I peered, and was barely able to make them out. They were just over an inch long.

The next thing I saw looked like some type of sea snake. It didn’t seem to mind our presence at all, and continued poking around in the sand, not four feet from where I was filming it.

Jay decided to go deep, so we went to 30 metres, and cruised along at that depth for about 20 minutes. Nitrox allows you more bottom time, but limits your depth to not much more than 30 metres. Jay was just in front of me when I passed a lobster, looking out with his tentacles from under a rock ledge. I grabbed my noise maker and gave it a shake to rattle the ball bearings inside, and Jay turned around. I got in close for a couple of pictures.

Not 20 feet further, Jay spotted his first lion fish. It was a juvenile, but he managed to spear it. He then took his knife out and pierced it. Then he swam back the way we had come, and handed the dead lion fish over to the lobster! He gently pushed it up right in front of the lobster’s mouth. The lobster moved forward gingerly, and started to eat it. The video is a bit murky, but not bad.

At 30 metres, there was mostly sand below us, stretching out to the undersea horizon, with the rock slope going up to our right. After the turn-around, we swam at about 24 metres on the way back. My 50-bar low air pressure warning had just gone off when Jay spotted a large lion fish. He moved in very carefully, and then jabbed with his spear, but the lion fish saw him coming, and darted back into his hole, out of reach. It would have been big enough to make good eating.

I showed Jay my dive computer display, and I motioned to Jay that it was time to head back up.

All during the dive, Jay pointed out interesting sights, and he is probably better than any dive master I have been with. In fact, he is a qualified dive master, which makes me a very lucky guy.

I surfaced with about 25 bar left in my tank.

During the dive, we had heard various boats go overhead. Jay told me that if it sounds as loud as a motorcycle, you need to get down and hug the bottom, as a motor boat can be fatal to a surfacing diver.

Just as we broke the water, I saw kids playing on a surfboard, and having lots of fun in the water. By their tans, I’m guessing they play half the day in the water every day.

I noticed Jay swam the last little bit on the surface, while I stayed underneath, as it is easier to swim that way. Apparently his tank had run dry. In actual fact, he carries what is called a pony tank strapped to the back of his large tank. It actually has its own regulator and pressure gauge, and holds 13 cubic feet of air. This would be about 10 or 15 minutes’ worth. It serves as a back-up if he dives solo, since he wouldn’t have a partner to act as a back-up. Occasionally he dives solo, although this is not his preference. Apparently, many underwater photographers also dive solo, so it is a lot more common these days than it used to be.

After we came up, he swung by the Yellow Submarine Shop, not three blocks away, to drop off his tank and rinse off his gear. It was closed, but Jay works there, so that was very convenient. I rinsed my gear as well. Then it was back to Jay’s house where I loaded the stuff back into my car, changed my clothes, and then headed home. After quickly feeding the dogs, it was back in the car and off to Pedersens for pizza and movie night. I got the usual warm welcome from the kids, and the fight about who would sit next to me. I must say, they spoil me. Best of all, we watched the second Star Wars movie, “Attack of the Clones,” on their big-screen TV. Life doesn’t get much better.

The time is now 10:53, so I should get going, as I have a dive planned at ten in the morning. I’m looking forward to this dive, as it will be my training dive to work with the Sea Monitor Foundation.

The stars still blanket the sky, and I’m reluctant to leave this magical place!

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