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A bad day for a dive
I waited in the early afternoon sun for my friend to pick me up. Lugging my dive bag with me, I set it down on the sidewalk, sitting down myself.
The smoldering heat was overwhelming; I couldn’t wait to dive in the cool water at the rock quarry. I’m David Milson, 16-year-old scuba diver. I love scuba diving and I’ve been doing it for years. Ever since I read about it in a dive magazine, I knew I wanted to be a diver for the rest of my life.
When would Brian be here? I glanced at the road to my left. Nothing. Once more, to the right. There he is.
His truck was a bright red color, with a big white stripe on the front. It ran diagonally, from the bottom left to the top right, like a dive symbol. He also had a dive license plate. It didn’t take a detective to tell that he really liked scuba diving.
As the truck screeched to a halt in front of me, I sprang up and grabbed my bag, and threw it in the back of the truck. Then, I climbed into the passenger seat.
Brian had short black hair and dark eyes, with an average complexion. Despite his conservative looks, the guy was a maniac while driving. If no one was blocking his way, he would flash around corners, zoom on the highway, and try to drift. In a truck. Sometimes it was laughable, sometimes it seemed life threatening. It was the closest thing to a roller coaster on the freeway you could get. And, he would laugh about it! Sadly, I had to ride twenty miles with him to the quarry.
His motto was: “We need to get there fast, so we’ll go in the passing lane. But, there are people in the slow lane going faster than us, in the passing lane. So therefore, we have to pass them! Sadly, there are also guys in the passing lane going faster than us. We can’t let that happen; we have to pass them too!”
And I would think: Man, I really need to bring my video camera with me sometime and film this. Put it on YouTube! I can’t wait until I get my own car...
After covering the twenty miles in approximately thirteen minutes, we arrived at the rock quarry. It was pretty much a big lake enclosed in a towering rock wall. It was circular in shape, and about as long as a football field. It contained a wide, long, declining sand passageway leading to the water. The atmosphere was buggy.
We speeded down the passageway and screeched to a stop inches before where we would have gone into the water. The truck still splashed some water into the rolled-down windows, however. Brian let out a careless laugh.
Oh well, at least we won’t have to walk far with our scuba gear, I reflected.
After unpacking our gear, inspecting all of it, putting it on, and checking it again, we were ready to dive. I wore a black wetsuit with a blue stripe, and Brian wore black. We both used grey tanks, and black BC’s.
We walked into the steadily declining slope and submerged under the refreshing water.
Most of what you’ve heard about scuba diving is true. It’s an astonishing and amazing silent world underwater. You’re surrounded by beautiful, crystal clear water and tons of bright, multicolored fish darting by you. It’s an amazing escape.
And, it’s pretty much the same in our rock quarry, except that since it’s in a river, the fish aren’t quite so bright, and the visibility range is amazingly…five feet away.
Brian indicated for me to follow him, and started kicking down. The quarry goes eighty feet deep, and today we were going to reach the bottom for the first time. 20 feet. The water was getting colder.
I stayed close behind Brian and followed his procession of bubbles. Every once in a while, he would turn around and check to make sure I was with him, and then kick like crazy. Then, I’d wind myself trying to catch up.
I checked my dive computer again. 40 feet. The water was getting unimaginably cold now. But, it wouldn’t deter me. I was going to reach the bottom, just like Brian.
55 feet. The temperature didn’t seem to get much colder here.
A distant object in the shadows caught my eye. All I could make out in this visibility was that it was rounded and dark. I swam over, and Brain, noticing I was gone, came back and followed me.
As I approached the unknown object, I realized it was a small, rounded underwater cave, measuring in at maybe four by four feet.
Brain tapped my shoulder. As I turned around, he pointed inside the cave with an adventurous expression on his face. Let’s go check it out!
I shook my head slowly. No. Diving in caves required a whole new skill set-one that I didn’t have. Besides, Brain already talked me in to going eighty feet deep, which we weren’t allowed to do…by anyone. I wasn’t about to go exploring in an unknown, dark, underwater cave.
Suddenly, I was thrown back a foot by an unseen force in the water. It felt like something had rushed toward me at a high speed and stopped an inch away from me, but the disturbed water carried on and pushed me back. I looked around and saw nothing. Brain was peeking into the cave’s opening.
I felt more underwater ripples, intensifying in size. The water seemed to get warmer. My vision was brightening slowly. I saw Brain rush forward into the cave and disappear into the darkness.
I was involuntarily pulled ahead, rushing into the cave. My vision was still getting brighter and brighter. I flew along the dark, rough tunnels of the cave, banking left, then right along passageways.
I stopped hearing bubbles rush from my regulator, and was unable to move. I zoomed through the cave. My vision flashed white.
I opened my eyes to see myself rushing out of the water. I probably flew twenty feet high before gravity took over and I started falling down toward the water. Wind howled by, and I realized my vest wasn’t on my back. I was able to turn my head, and I saw my BC and tank above me. A current of air hit the left side of my body, and I was flipped onto my back.
I crashed into the water and saw waves of water spray above me into the clouds. I was stunned for a moment, and then I swam hard to the right to avoid being crushed by my tank.
Several feet away, I turned around and watched as my vest and tank collided with the water, sending a small wave toward me. I swam past it and grabbed onto my BC, inflating it and using it to rest.
I looked around. I saw a distant island and a sea of clouds. Not to mention the expanding, never-ending ocean I seemed to be in. The sun was setting, tinting everything with red. It looked like what I imagined the Bahamas to be: a beautiful, exotic paradise filled with sandy beaches and bunches of trees.
Brain was nowhere to be seen.
What just happened?
[If you read this, please comment!]