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August 20th, 2003

01:36 pm

It's official. Randy and I are now certified scuba divers. Woo hoo! I am so giddy and excited. I can't wait to get to Hawaii.

I spent the weekend at Lake Tenkiller with Randy and my Parents. We stayed at a nice little place called Burnt Cabin. The cabins are brand new and very nice and have a lovely cedar smell to them. There's a nice deck with a view of the lake and lots of trees. It's a peaceful little place. We got to the lake Friday afternoon and headed straight for the water. We spent the afternoon cruising around on the boat. We made several stops for swimming and exploring. Dad was having fun climbing around on the rocky bluffs around the lake. While poking around, he found a tackle box and was quite pleased with himself. He was convinced that he would find a dead body or a severed head or something cool like that brfore the weekend was over.

After Dad's big tackle box find, we moved on to another swimming spot. Dad went in search of a body/severed head but came up empty handed. We got ready to move on and started to pull up the anchor. But the anchor seemed to be tangled and wasn't coming up. Randy finally got it free, but he could tell something else was coming up with it. Maybe this would be the severed head Dad was hoping for. We finally got it into the boat and discovered that we had caught an old smelly ski rope that someone had lost underwater. There was some kind of wierd red plastic piece of crap attached to the rope too. I don't know what the hell it was but it was definitely crap. For some reason, Dad and Randy wanted to keep this crap. I don't know why. I think keeping garbage you find in the bottom of a lake is some kind of guy thing. Seriously, the rope was covered in lake slime and smelled like ass. Who really wants that? And we couldn't identify the plastic thing which was also covered in slime and smelled like ass so no need to keep it either. But Dad and Randy just had to keep it. Then they started to notice that the stuff smelled like ass. Finally, after getting lake slime all over the boat and ass smell on our hands, common sense prevailed and we got rid of the rope and mystery object. Even though we got rid of our latest find, it was still pretty exciting having so much success at finding crap.

After boating all afternoon, we went back to the cabin and made fajitas for dinner. Then Dad and I went to the boat dock to do a little fishing while Mom and Randy stayed at the cabin. Randy went to bed at 8 o'clock (big wuss) and Mom just chilled out at the cabin since she doesn't like to fish. Dad and I didn't catch anything, but we had fun anyway. I got a really good bite, but whatever it was got away. After a couple of hours we gave up. When we got to the cabin, Randy was totally out and snoring like a moose. How attractive.

We got up early Saturday morning and had a big ass breakfast at the Fin and Feather resort. The atmosphere is very nursing home like but they have a kick-ass buffet. The decor was very 1950's and the waitresses were dressed like nurses aides. They wore white pants and shoes with flower print tops. It really made the place feel like a nursing home dining room, but the food was quite tasty and a pretty good value. After breakfast Randy and I took off to meet our scuba diving class while Mom and Dad planned to take the boat out. We met up with our instructor and learned that she had decided to break the class up into 2 groups due to low visibility in the lake. This meant that Randy and I wouldn't get to dive until afternoon. We managed to catch Mom and Dad before they took off with the boat so we cruised the lake for a few hours. Dad once again climbed around on the banks looking for stuff. This time, he found a golf ball. How exciting.

We split up yet again as Randy and I went to dive class. After a lot of sitting around waiting for the first class to get back then waiting at the dive site for a guy to go back and get forgotten gear, we finally got to do our two dives for the day. Both dives were about 45 minutes and we reached a maximum depth of just over 20 feet. We spent some time just sitting underwater getting used to the environment. We watched some fish and tried feeding them granola bars. Half the group got swarmed by fish, but the fish were so busy they didn't notice that the rest of us had food too. It was cool watching them swim around. There were mostly little perch, but I saw a few smallmouth bass also. We had to do a few skills during the dives as well but Randy and I both kicked ass and had no trouble at all. It was so fun. After our dives, I couldn't wait to go back.

After class, we met back up with Mom and Dad at the cabin. We relaxed for a bit and got cleaned up. Then we went off to the camp where our dive instructo and her husband were having a big cookout for the class and other diving friends. We had burgers and hot dogs. It was a pretty fun little gathering and Dad kept the group entertained with his lovely sense of humor. I enjoyed getting to know our dive instructor better and hearing about some of her trips. The party broke up around 11 and we went back to the cabin and went to bed.

Sunday morning, we got up and had breakfast at Fin and Feather again. Then Randy and I went for our last 2 certification dives and Mom and Dad played on the boat. It was more of the same diving - we saw some fish and did our skills. This time, one of the divemasters had a can of aerosol cheese for fish feeding. Did you know aerosol cheese works under water? I didn't. It squirts out in a little string and the fish love it. Add that to my ever growing list of reasons why aerosol cheese is mankind's greatest achievement in junk food. On one of our dives we hit 33 feet. At about 28 feet we got to the thermocline where the water temperature drops drastically. It also got a lot darker, but the water was more clear. Randy and I again kicked ass. For our efforts, we were awarded certification cards. We can now buy gear and get tank fills. How cool! I am so excited. Getting certified wasn't that hard, but still I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I like having access to an environment that most people will never experience. Only about 1% of the world's population are certified divers (According to the September issue of Dive Training Magazine). It's just so damn cool.

I was already flying high about having the c-card when later later that evening I got my first taste of aswering scuba questions from total strangers. Randy and I were parking the boat for the night at the dock and saw some people were heading out for some night fishing. I was wearing a scuba t-shirt with a diver down flag on the back. This guy, who was with his family preparing to go fishing started asking lots of questions about diving and the fish we had seen. He was hanging on to my every word in total awe. It was so damn cool. My ego has been raging out of control ever since.

Anyway, back to the trip... after getting out c-cards, Randy and I met up with Mom and Dad one last time just long enough to say goodbye. Mom and Dad headed home Sunday afternoon to make it home for a Redhawks game and work on Monday. Randy and I had taken Monday off so we were left on our own for the rest of the trip. Sadly, Dad never did find a dead body or severed head, but I think he still had a good time. Don't let go of your dream, Dad. There's always next time. After seeing Mom and Dad off, Randy and I rested up and had a little lunch. We took the boat out for a few more hours. We did more swimming and a little fishing. Then we went to the cabin and cooked chicken on the grill. After dinner we cleaned up our mess and went to bed. We slept in Monday morning before having to pack up and hit the road.

When we got home, we returned our gear to the dive shop and went to the house to get the laundry going. I was starting a load when I noticed the sound of running water hitting the garage floor. I opened the water heater closet and sure enough, a big damn leak. That was not what I needed to see after spending a lot of money over the weekend. We had a plumber come to the house Tuesday morning and as I suspected, we ended up buying a new water heater. There went $420 bucks I could have used on other things. Oh well, life goes on. At least I'm a certified scuba diver. Ah... I will never get tired of saying that. Life is good.