Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Diving Bird Island is way cool

I moved to this island four plus years ago for a few reasons. High on that list was the ability to go diving whenever I wanted. When I first got here, I dove quite a bit with a friend -- usually for free. He soon left and I stopped diving. I never, for no particularly good reason, bought my own gear until last year, and that is when I really started diving a lot more. I've been diving pretty much every weekend for a while now. I'm not quite Harry Blalock yet, my wife won't let me grow a goatee, but I totally understand the joy and stress relief the underwater world brings to Harry. I'm now in bad shape because I have my second busted BCD in six months, so I might be grounded this upcoming weekend.

This school year is especially stressful. I have four fully packed classes of freshmen, no prep time, and while academic motivation was a big challenge for seniors near graduation, it is a challenge of Sisyphean proportions with freshmen. The net result is I really need to be in the water on the weekend to decompress, and I'm not talking about avoiding the bends. This weekend a group of crackerjack divers such as Mark Robertson, Dale Carhill, Rose Callier (who revealed she is occasionally sort of topless sunbathing at Wingbeach, man am I dead now), Shahnda, Bob and Darlene, (new to me, think of them like Sting, Bono and Madonna) headed out to Bird Island to explore that environment. None of us had been diving there before, and we all ended up thinking it was pretty cool. There are a lot of clams, several large nudibranchs, (we know where Harry will be next weekend), a very cool landscape and crystal waters. Brady Barrineau told me he discovered a cave there today on his own dive, and he was excited by Bird Island as well. See Brady for more on that one. These photos are by Dr. Mark Robertson, who besides being a great eye doctor, is an extremely knowledgeable diver. He guided me on my first Lau Lau dive in a long time on Saturday, and I was very impressed with that dive -- much more than expected, and appreciated Mark's guidance.

This above captures what we all thought to be a pretty cool landscape.

I met Rose Callier, next to me in the above pic (I'm the only one with the sense not to have a wetsuit on), at the girl's night out at Melissa's house on Thursday night, which was quite the educational experience to say the least. Here is how Saipan works: I met Rose on Thursday for the first time and had some laughs at Melissa's party. She's visiting Melissa, who is my neighbor, the next night on some PAWS work and we start chatting as my wife is taking her pregnancy test, which comes up positive. Lots of screaming erupts. Rose thinks we're fighting, but soon she becomes the first person on island to learn that Cynthia is with child -- about ten seconds after I did. Sunday we go out diving as part of a celebrity diving day. Gotta love this place.

As I've explained before, my kind of entry is backwards off a boat, no steps, no jungle hikes with scuba tanks, no leaps through cracks in the Earth and fighting through tides, a simple roll into the water and I'm happy. I work overtime to enjoy this luxury and it's worth it to me. I also enjoy being on a boat on the Saipan waters, so that is part of the joy as well. Here I am kicking it on the Aquajet heading out to Bird Island.


Bruce A. Bateman said...

I was aggrivated at missing the boat by mere seconds on Sunday. Now I'm doubly mad having seen the great dives I missed. Glad you and the others got to enjoy it though.

You can always rent a bcd if necessary next weekend.

Bev said...

Diving Bird Island will be my next adventure on the Aqua Jet! Looks like you had a great dive!

bradinthesand said...

who's all fab and ruszala-like now?

Jeff said...

Ha Ha, but time to update Brad or I'm delinking you for blogger slackeritis.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

We may have to send Brad over to David Khorram's place for a good eye poke, if he doesn't get to posting something soon.

KelliOnSaipan said...

That looks like a completely amazing dive! Thanks for sharing, Jeff.
And WOW - Congratulations to you and Cynthia on your new baby (on the way) Awesome!

Jeff said...

It was a fun dive. Thanks Kelli and all.