Adventures Await

by

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

 

Many things associated with scuba training are "negative" in that risks must be explained and natural fears overcome. But, once skills and knowledge are accumulated, then scuba training allows entry into the world of Planet Ocean that can provide a lifetime of thrills and adventure. Near the end of pool training, my "war stories" shift from mistakes and risks to more a positive light.  So, as the time for open water nears, I end each pool lecture with a brief "the adventure waits" story taken from personal experience. This is one such story. 

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A number of years ago, I started playing with underwater photography. Since funds were quite limited in the world of a graduate student, I purchased a housed disc camera and and associated slave strobe. Certainly not the best piece of underwater photographic equipment available, but it fit my budget at the time. My plan was to use this simple assembly to begin acquiring some skill at the art of underwater photography.  My first open water experience with the new camera was off the Coronado Islands while on a live-aboard chartered out of San Diego. It was a glorious trip.

On one of my dives, my buddy and I were surrounded by a circling group of sea lions. Everywhere you looked there was a critter. Large in-water life is not common in my home Great Lakes waters, so this was especially thrilling to me. I raised my camera with intent to take a picture of an approaching sea lion. The critter moved about 5 feet in front of me and hung motionless ... as if posing for a portrait. So, I snapped an image. As soon as the strobe flashed, the sea lion in front of me moved away and another critter moved into place. I found myself seemingly in the middle of an Escher staircase with repetitive appearances of sea lions waiting to have their picture taken.

In very little time I shot the full 15 image capacity of the disc. The next sea lion approached, but I had no more film. After several moments of posing, with no light flash from the strobe, the sea lion barked and on reflex,  I triggered the strobe. He then moved away and the cycle resumed. I simply hung in mid-water surrounded by sea lions as one-by one they came in front of me for a few seconds and then moved away after the strobe flashed. This swim, pose and circle behavior of the group of sea lions continued for more than twenty minutes.

I left the water with a Cheshire cat grin and an enjoyment of the moment that is still deep and warm within me.

The point of this little story is: 

Every time you enter the water, a potential unique and special thrill awaits. Your life-time of adventure begins tonight. Let's go diving.

 

This disc camera image is a bit fuzzy; but decades later, the  thrilling memories of an in-water adventure are still crystal clear!

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About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 100 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2022 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

All rights reserved.

Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education