deep and blue, and a little Merrill 5-0!

up at 5am after getting back from sac the night before!

5:40 donuts and COFFEE.

5:55 Long Marine Lab

6:30 hop in the vans for the breakwater in Monterey

7:40 Briefing

8:35 I’M ON  A BOAT!

Oh, but did I mention we were actually using TWO BOATS?! That’s gotta count for something big. And gangsta.

DIVE NUMBA 1: deep

“So we’re gonna drop you down to about 80-85 feet. You will be sucking through your air over three times as fast as usual. You might get narc’d, you might get a little hypothermic, you might get disoriented… so we just kinda wanna hit you with all three and give you some math problems to do down there too.” –Stevesie

Thanks, scuba dad.

By the way, narc’d refers to nitrogen narcosis. What is that exactly? Well, sitting at your computer right now you are breathing air, not pure oxygen. There’s some nitrogen in there too. Now because nitrogen is an inert gas, your body can’t use it, so it just kinda is… just there in you. Therefore, we call ourselves “saturated” with nitrogen right now. However, when we scuba divers get down to depth, the partial pressure of nitrogen in the air we’re breathing is increased, thus making our bodies “super saturated.” This can sometimes create an affect called nitrogen narcosis, or “getting narc’d,” which feels like you’re drunk. What’s sketchy about it is that you don’t always realize that you’re narc’d…until its too late! DANUNUN! But if you don’t do anything too stupid, as long as you ascend some the symptoms should go away with the decrease in the PP of N.

Steve was telling us that a lot of times people come back up after the deep dive and are like “yeah man I totally felt it…” and they had okay math work on their data sheets… while others are like “AW HELL NO I’M INVINCIBLE I EAT NITROGEN FOR BREAKFAST!” and then he looks at their math problems and sees that they’d forgotten how to add 2+2. lolz.

Anyways, I was stoked when I jumped in the water with Zach as my buddy (ZACH WHY ARE YOU NOT GOING ON CORSICA WHYYY), and even more stoked when I realized I was having NO EAR PROBLEMS and I basically SWAM straight down to the 85′ bottom in less than a minute (when we had originally alloted ourselves 4 minutes).

Strangely enough, the surface and midwater was like zero visibility (think chocolate milk)… but then down at the bottom the viz was seriously like 40-50 feet! And NO surge pretty much! And there were sea lions flying above us and checking us out! And big beautiful mitridium everywhere! And pinnacles rising up from the sand!

Before I knew it, it was time to go back up. We did our safety stops (haha kiiinda!) and made it to the surface.

…I don’t know if I was narc’d or just not paying attention to it, but when I got on the boat and started switching out my tank I suddenly realized that I was shaking uncontrollably and could barely think, move, or speak because I was SO. FREEZING. COLD. I had to stop what I was doing so that I could pour hot water down my suit and stick my feet in the bucket before I could even think straight again. I put my wrists in as well to warm up my circulating blood but…. geeze! I had never been so cold in my life! And no wonder– Dave said that when we got down it was like 47 degrees!

Speaking of Dave…. look what he found!

a whole freakin’ setup! BC, tank, first and second stages, depth and pressure gauges… wow! He said that we he saw it he was REALLY freaked out because it was partly buried in the sand next to some mound… and he thought there might have been a body attached to it! But he pulled it out and was like “RAD! I’ll bring this up with me!” He thinks he might have been a little narc’d because about half way up he was like “Waiiiit… what am I dooinnngg???!

helloooo lacy bryozoan!

After switching tanks, curing hypothermia, and noming the oms on a lunchable, it was time to off-gas and sit out for an hour before our blue dive. Time…

for a cuddle puddle.

This is serious fuckin’ business, fool!

Soon we heard Steve screaming from the other boat. “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU ALL DOING?! STOP LAYIN’ AROUND AND GET BACK IN THE WATER. COME ONNN! LET’S GO!”

Groan, roll, groan, stand, hobble… we all hopped to.

The second dive was going to be our “Blue Water” dive. What that means is that you have no bottom, no stuff around you, you can’t see the surface… you’re just… in the water. The boat drops a line down, and at about 45 feet there’s a bar with a bunch of tethers attached to it called the “trapeze.” One diver (called the “safety diver”) goes down and hooks everyone else in to the tether. They send each diver out one at a time and yank on the line when they’re far enough out and tie a stopper knot. If a researching diver starts sinking or rising or getting tangled, the safety diver fixes it.The safety diver also holds what is called a “shark billy,” which is basically half a broomstick to defend against sharks. niiice.

Kiiiindof what our setup looked like:

For our blue water dive, Dave was going to have us switch off being the safety diver. While you’re out on your leash hangin’ out and being cold and creeped out and waiting to be the safety diver, the assignment was to use a plastic jar or ziplock bag to catch something cool floating by, and to write a haiku.

I volunteered to be the safety diver first, and I went down with Tamsen and met Dave who was already hooked in to the trapeze. Dave hooked me in on the short line and helped me hook Tamsen in and I sent her out as far as visibility allowed, and then tied a legit slipknot in a special way so that it kept her roped in. The last two buddy pairs were supposed to descend 2 minutes after Tamsen and I, and at the 5 minute mark I looked at Dave and shrugged and looked upward. He tapped his watch and looked up disapprovingly. HA with his eyebrows stuck to his mask as always!

Fiiiinalleeeeeeeeeeyah at 7 minutes people started coming down… but it was everyone at once!

And all of a sudden… it got a lot brighter…. was the sun coming out…? I glanced at my computer–

18 FEET?!  AND RISING?!!!!!!

My computer was flashing because we were shooting up to the surface too fast. People were pulling on the rope as they descended which started pulling the trapeze up. I couldn’t slow down because I was tied to the trapeze, and as my ears started popping I thought about pulling the quick release on my tether. I let out air in my BC to sink as far down as I could. It was another one of those moments: “this is it… this is the end…!!!”

I looked at Dave to see what he was doing. HAHAHA he was not so much panicking, but he was PIIIIISSSSEEEEDDD! His smashed eyebrows were beyonnnddd furrowed and his eyes with SO ANGRY and he was SHAKING HIS FIST AND SPAZZING AND GRUNTING AT THE PEOPLE ABOVE! Hahahaha!

I glanced down at Tamsen, far below us, who casually had rolled over on her long leash to look up at us like “hmmmm…?”

Well, finally, somehow we sank back down to 45 feet, and we clipped the rest of the people in, and I handed the shark billy off to Tamsen and she came in and became the safety diver.

My haiku:

FUCK DIS SHIT I COLD

Why we suddenly shallow?!

Dave was so pissed Haaaaa

Ghetto haiku, if you will.

I had about 20 minutes to sit out there, so I looked around to see if I could get something sick in my jar. I saw comb jellies, seal poop, tiny chrysora, tiny baby moon jellies… and then! What do I see above me? A floating pink Christmas Tree of an organism! I have no clue what it is… but in the jar you go!

Bad picture, but they looked better when they were in the water column! I was happy to throw them back.

Apparently they’re salps, which Dave and Steve described to me as a little chain-gang of free-floating tunicates. Mmm, isnice!

We took the boats out, packed up, drove back, debriefed… and I made it back to Merrill by like 6:30

Fell asleep.

Kerry woke me up at 9 for dinner

Went right back to sleep at 11:30

Woke up at 9:30

Went to the library to study

Fell asleep for another hour!

Woke up

RAN to class! haha

That monday night I was sooo excited to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep before my 8am and be all caught up on sleep! I feel asleep just before midnight (which is really good for me) and feel asleep hard! UNTIL…

bangbangbangbangbangbangbang…

bangbangbangbangBANG!…

…BANG BANG BANG BANG BANGGGGGG!!!!!!

I woke up slowly and disoriented, not sure what the banging was.

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!

It sounded like it was coming from the lounge door, from outside the building…

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANGITY BANG!

This was… really scary sounding. It was pretty violent banging… and what time was it? Five in the morning… UGHH FUCK WASN’T I UP THIS EARLY TWO DAYS AGO?! Who even on my hall could be up right now? Who’s even strong enough to knock like that?

And then I remembered how recently there have been a couple instances of creepers creeping around campus, specifically in Crown (which is right next door to Merrill), and how they’ve been sneaking their way into residence halls and dorms and creepin’ on people, specifically girls. I got up and locked my door and tried to go back to sleep…

but the banging… wouldn’t… stop!

I thought about if it was just a hallmate that was pissed they locked themselves out in the middle of the night, but still… who on this hall…?

Finally, after seriously like ten minutes, the banging stopped. I thought about the situation carefully– what if this unknown person tries another hall? and DOES get let in?

The CSO’s were already off duty, so I called campus police and told them the situation. They said they would send someone up to come check it out. I thanked them and hung up, just about to seep back down in to my covers when I heard from the next room…

“…Katie…?”

Kerry and I both were like “IM SO SCARED AHHH!” but she was glad I called the cops. We then set out calling other RAs on other floors and letting Jason, Rosa, Alyssa, Bryce, Nick, and Alli know what was up and to not open the door.

LOOOOONG story short, it turned out to be 2 non-student guests from a hallmate! Whooooo even knowwwsss what they were doing, because the host hallmate was DEAD asleep when the RA on duty (jo jo queenie saves the day!) and the police officer figured everything out.

Joaquin, Kerry and I could fall back to sleep until like 6:30.

Kerry and I saw each other in the bathroom before our 8am classes.

Though mumbled, or groans were the same:

“Fuck. Everyone. IN THE WORLD including our lives. AND living in the dorms, too!”

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