Pennsylvania Quarrybean, 0ft, 1psi. Gear up in thick neoprene. Wipe off the sweat, just as the blazing sun puts another layer on your forehead. The air so hot, neoprene burning, the tank so heavy, lumbar collapsing, tubes across and over the torso, gloves so unwieldy. The first step into the water is like that first droplet on a sizzling pan. The liquid finally overwhelms and slips in onto the skin. The gears find buoyancy. Relieve.
Tightly hold on to the line, the life line, descend. Few feet down, clear and dazzling water turns turquoise and cloudy. Dive master’s features fade. The precious life line goes gold, yellow, mustard, brown, and chocolate.
Platform, 30ft, 2psi. Algae floats and clings onto the wooden platform. Microorganisms dispenses in the water, like pulp in a shaken pressed juice bottle. Scuba bubbles send them to the surface, to sunshine, to the clear, warm water. Neutrally buoyant, swim, across the platforms, over the unknown murkiness below.
Mask flooding. Reg recovery. Fin pivot. Flutter kicks. Ascend. Safety stop. Surfacing. Dehydration. No water to drink in the midst of water.
Dock, 0ft, 1psi. The scorching sun patiently waits for your ascend. Water evaporates from the neoprene, the smell of algae stays. Gulp down water, peanut-butter-jelly, and pieces of pineapple. Mozzarella string cheese turns into warm, wet plastic.
Dive 2. Visibility lowers even more, disturbed by the kicks. Descend more familiar, equalizing easier this time. Lubber lines, life lines, point to the navigating object. Only Grey, Green ahead.
Alternate air source and ascend. Alternate secondary nourishes the lungs. Sudden jerk knocks the reg out of mouth. Liquid, algea-filled liquids gush through the mouth, down the throat, air pipes. Intense urge of coughing overcomes the ability to breathe. Is death near?
The sun suddenly becomes visible. The clear water above. Kicking intensely, surface the water. Cough, water out, regurgitate, swallow, gasp, cough, breathe heavily, cough, breathe shallowly, just breathe, breathe, breathe, and breathe.
I am a diver.