Search This Blog

Monday, August 8, 2011

Funny First Underwater Video Clip Trip

Because of many weekends since spring taken up with family and even writing research, my scuba diving season got off to a really late start. Yesterday was the day I would get to try out my underwater video casing. It’s a cheap, slick casing for a lot of different regular cameras such as my old Nikon L18. Anyway, I packed up my dive equipment, and off I went with St. Joyce to Pacific Grove for a video dive off Otter’s Point. Some of you might remember Otter’s Point was the favorite spot for my assassin, Nick, in my still in final edits at Wild Child Publishing – COLD BLOODED. There, I got the promo in one more time. Of course I’ll have passed on by the time it gets a publishing date but you can’t have everything.

So, we drive down through beautiful overcast weather with very little traffic, had breakfast at a neat little cafĂ© in Pacific Grove, and then headed to Otter’s Point. The water was a bit choppy, but this is only a trial run for my underwater video excursion, so I’m pumped anyway, even if the visibility might not be good. I begin unloading my equipment when it suddenly becomes apparent I left home without my regulator (the breathing apparatus). St. Joyce asks me what’s wrong because my rapid equipment setup has ground to a halt with me staring out at the ocean.

“I forgot my regulator.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep. I know exactly where it is – our garage.”

St. Joyce chuckles. “What’re you going to do?”

“Hold my breath until I run out of video.”

St. Joyce laughs. “How about we just go up to the Bamboo Reef on Lighthouse Avenue and you can rent one.”

Excellent idea. The Bamboo Reef Dive Shop is the best for tank fills, or any replacement equipment, or for idiots who go on diving trips without regulators. I repack the GMC and up to Lighthouse Avenue we go. I run inside and find a familiar face – an older gentleman I recognize from many times refilling my tanks at his shop over the decades. I’m just another diver to him, but he recognizes me in the way I recognize some customers at my auto shop even after years in between meetings. In my case it’s only been since last fall since he’s seen me.

“Do you have a regulator left for rent?” I ask hopefully, because whole dive school classes come down here to the ‘Reef’ and rent out stuff on weekends.

“Sure do.” He smiles and plunks down the clipboard with the info form to fill out. “Forgot the regulator, did we?” It’s not his first rodeo with regulator-less weekend divers.

“I sure did.” I stare down at the sheet realizing I’d run in without my wallet and dive license. It’s against the law to rent any equipment to uncertified divers.

The gentleman is psychic too. “Forgot the wallet, did we?”

Damn, he’s good. “I’ll be right back.” Out to the GMC I run to give St. Joyce another chuckle on how well I’m doing with my Alzheimer’s. Back inside, I begin filling out the sheet while my host checks my credit card, driver’s license, and dive card. He’s getting the giggles looking at my dive card. It’s an ancient plastic NASDS (National Association of Scuba Diving Schools) scuba license marked 9 – 78. His underlings have been the ones to handle my card in the recent past so this is his first personal look over in a while.

“Sorry,” I say. I’m thinking he’s finding it humorous I don’t have a picture ID dive card like everyone does now. “They didn’t put our picture on them back then.”

“You know this organization doesn’t exist anymore and I think Roger Johnson’s dead.”

Roger Johnson is the name of my dive instructor back in 78. His name’s on the card too. I wonder for a moment if Roger did pass on but the ‘Reef’ owner starts laughing so I join in on the merriment. “It’s disrespectful to talk like that about an antique dive card. I’ve been thinking about taking it with me to the next ‘Antique’s Road Show’ for evaluation.”

He gets a laugh out of that one, fills in a couple things, and takes my money after I check out the regulator personally. It’s his insistence so he can make sure I actually do know how to hook it up to a tank and then remove it. Off to Otter’s point once more, and the murky, wildly blurry video down below. The water had gotten a bit more choppy, especially under the surface, but it was fun doing it. I actually turned it on my face for a wave. Afterwards, we sat on St. Joyce’s beach for a while and had dinner at Crabby Joe’s in Fisherman’s Wharf before heading home. I will do better next time with the video.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've had days like that. Sounds like it turned out OK though.

BernardL said...

Yep, it turned out fine, Charles. That cheap little camera case was amazing. I could work all the buttons on the camera even with my dive gloves. I'm not sure what depth it's good to though. At depths below sixty feet with the pressure, the camera material itself might not react well.

raine said...

Wow. I could only see a bit of it, but it looks like another world.
(um, guess it is--duh).

Vesper said...

Bernard, I enjoyed very much your account and the video too. Reminds me of why I love the sea so much - it's so mysterious, so fascinating... You're lucky that you can go into the sea like that.

And what's happening with Cold Blooded? I loved reading that story.
And, by the way, I miss your fictional pieces... :-)

BernardL said...

It is always a new experience, Raine. I'm hoping to get a seal or otter on my next excursion. When it's calmer underneath, the kelp jungle stalks are like an underwater forest. This underwater video stuff adds a new dimension to it for me.

Thanks, Vesper. Even my forgetting the regulator just added a humorous angle to the whole trip. I had fun writing it up. :) My new editor says soon on COLD BLOODED, but who knows. I've written five novels since they gave me that contract. The disappointing part is the writing credits I've listed for LANCELOT and COLD BLOODED haven't garnered me any extra attention when I query. I was advised not to write my novels on the blog, but I don't see what makes the difference. I'm nearing completion of my YA novel starring the paranormal pup, Demon. I miss not writing them on the blog. If I don't get any breakthroughs soon, I'm probably going to return to doing them here.