Fun in the Shallows

We had Veronica’s nephew, Richard, on board today to try scuba. He’s 17. It was going to be breezing from the north and east, so I chose the shallow, stand-up water off Niles Beach for our dive site. We anchored in about 18 feet of water.

Niles Beach Art

Elaine Wing, Niles Beach, 1995. Oil on canvas. from the Cape Ann Museum’s collection


We also had Jacki K., Andy J., John M. and Pete along. They had all been fore-warned that this would be a day for Richard. His comfort and safety was the most important aspect of where and how we would be diving. Jacki and Andy rigged a float and flag and took off on their own.

Veronica, Richie, and I swam into the beach in our wetsuits, fins, and masks.  The weights and tanks were in the Zodiac that Richie and Veronica towed.  We later learned that the water was 61 degrees.  It was dead low tide.  The teenager took to the skills like he’d been doing them all his life.  No hesitation, no excuses.  He just did them.  He was even able to breathe from the regulator, underwater, and put on his mask and clear it while submerged.  That’s a skill in itself.  The cold water makes you want to inhale through your nose and that would be bad.

After about an hour and 1/2 or so, they swam back to the boat, in full scuba gear on the surface, with V and Richie holding hands.  I towed the inflatable.  The next skill would be to practice dropping the weight belt with Peter in charge.

After a little warm up, we proceeded to explain clearing the ears and descending a downline.  He got it right away.  With V’s assistance, we slowly submerged and cleared our ears while looking at each other.  On the sandy bottom, it was murky and about 5 feet of visibility.  I took his hand and we left the downline for a look-see.  He was pointing out skates and hermit crabs to me.  And I’m pretty sure he was having fun.

After a little while, I decided that his 800 psi must be running out so we returned to the downline and ascended slowly, looking up and with an arm overhead to avoid hitting the boat.  Success!

And then the sun broke through the mist and clouds.

To the sound of loud claps and hurrahs from the assembled crew, he climbed out of his tank and backpack, handed them up to Andy and clambered aboard with everything else still in place.   What a trooper!

With V’s sandwiches and Andy’s ponchkis , we were having a picnic as we toweled dry and got dressed.

Richie pulled the anchor and we were off, back to the marina, to contend with the crowds that were gathering for the weigh-in of the Bluefin Blowout tuna contest.  I think we had more fun than they did.

One Response to “Fun in the Shallows”

  1. saintatlantis Says:

    It was a great day…thanks to you!!!!!!!!!

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