A** Over Tea Kettle

We had a chock-a-block, fun-filled day at Graves Island today.  Only experienced one, tiny problem.  I’ll tell you about that later, in chronological order.  We saw The Gauntlet anchored over the main part of the Wreck of the New Hampshire.  They waved and we waved back and it felt like we were in scuba-diver-ville.

It was 75 degrees above water and 53 under it.  The sun and clouds were beautiful – not hot – just nice.  There was hardly a breeze.  We’ve gotten a new berth in the marina, so now we’re loading from the starboard side, instead of the port.  There was a great bunch with us today: Brian Harper, Bill Myers, Tom and Catie Childress, and Laurent Dubois.  The crew was Peter Donahue, The Captain and me.

We wanted calm water with great visibility for video and more experience for Catie, who’s the newest diver among us.  She, Peter and I were going to look for critters that Peter would capture (gently), pass over to Catie to hold (gently) and then have her show them to me and the video camera.  Brian and Bill were sight-seeing/lobster-chasing and Tom was practicing with his new weight harness and dry suit.  Laurent was on his own which typically includes lobster hunting and videoing and wreck site scavenging.  Both his and Peter’s favorite site is the USF New Hampshire.  We were going south.  That was for sure.

I anchored in about 30 feet of water in the area facing the south edge of the island.  We typically don’t get to anchor here because surge and passing boat traffic make this a wavy anchorage.  Today it was perfect.  We could descend with the downline, swim over to the sloping-up edge of the island and then turn left or right to search the crevasses and notches for stuff.  Right away Peter found a lobster that he positioned for Catie to pick up and hold still for the camera.  Then we found a new and, it seemed, untouched site for excavating.  There was a large pin standing tall above a hollowed out area and the pin moved when you grabbed it and shook it.  Catie was very good at that.

Then there followed a long period of time with scrabbling, sifting, swirling, and fanning the sand/silt in the new hole.  Catie and Peter excavated a square-head nail.  I shot video of tiny baby sculpins.  We ran out of air too fast.

Everyone back on the boat agreed that a second dive at this very spot would be fine.  So, back we went.  This time Peter caught a too-friendly flounder and handed it to Catie to hold for the camera.  It complied for a short time, but then, when it felt that Catie had relaxed her grip a tiny bit, it flicked its tail and took off.  Her eyes got very big as she felt it escape.  Later there was a very beautiful decorator crab with tendrils of sea weed on his carapace and, rather than strugging to escape, it sat in the palm of her hand and then started to walk up her arm.  Super place for critter hunting.

Now for the tea kettle part.  As I was getting out of my drysuit, I noticed Tom Childress at the swim platform, ready to hand his tank up to someone.  I was closest, so I leaned over to take it without bracing myself with one hand on the boat.  Then a passing boat’s wake hit us and I hardly felt myself move except that I was flying through the air, a** over tea kettle, into the ocean behind Tom.  My drysuit had been down around my waist, so the 53 degree water was pouring into it too quickly for my taste.  Pete heard my squeal and came to haul me out by my folds.  I was wet all the way down to my fleece socks. 

Oh, well.  It had been a perfect day. 

What’s a little salt water among friends?


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