Underwater We Are
Our plan was to get the feel of our gear and buoyancy a little bit away from the exact spot we thought the camera to be just in case we sank to the bottom and kicked up all the silt. Of all the advice we got from people, the number one was to “stay suspended to avoid touching the bottom of the lake.” This way the ground would stay untouched and we could potentially see the camera rectangle shape at the bottom, covered with a little silt. It sure sounded like a good idea.
The great ideas we had about searching for the camera, however, were soon put to rest as we took our first dip below surface. At about two feet away from each other, Brian and I could scarcely see each other’s shapes. The water was so clouded and unclear that it was as if we were wearing white in a glass of milk in the middle of a snowstorm. Brian has got quite the physique and a mighty good lookin’ mug, one that stands out in a crowd. But tracking him down in the middle of that water was like looking for the same freckle on my body twice. Not being able to see him when we were quite close to each other had me on my toes, er, my flippers. We rose to the surface just to laugh out loud at the ludicrous and hopeful idea that we could find our camera. It was instantly clear to us that the water was just the opposite–unclear.
After a good laugh while bobbing at the surface, we re-entered the abyss, holding onto a small robe between us just to make sure we wouldn’t lose track of each other. We practiced going below the surface and swimming to the bottom just for the heck of it. Both of us were surprised to find that at one point while we were descending, we suddenly found ourselves at a murky depth of 21 feet and sitting at the bottom. It happened fast. We could scarcely see each other let alone see the ground floor of the lake! With darkness all around us, we shoulder shrugged and rose back to the surface. I’ll admit that hanging out down there was not very much fun. A creepiness closed in around me as I attempted to adjust to the dark. Even the high powered lights that we rented from AIR DOWN THERE were useless. The gear guy, Scott, told us that holding these lights would be like holding the sun. This contributed to our confidence in finding the camera, but turns out the lights still left us in the dark. As far as visuals, this water was impenetrable. We were shocked and continued to feel the impalpable eeriness of the dark lake. Who knew what was down there circling us as we fruitlessly floundered in the water? We have fished great monster Northern Pike from these waters and didn’t like the idea of being bait! After practicing our newly acquired skills of dry suit diving a little longer, we soon concluded that the search was a big bust. We could hardly distinguish our own feet in that darkness; we gave in–the camera was now fish food. Besides that, I had to go to the bathroom like something fierce. Unlike wet suit diving, you cannot let your pee run free wherever yee be. After a graceless climb into the boat, I found myself stripping my gear off in a most hurried way, quite contrary to how I carefully suited up in anticipation of the dive. Finally relieved and back on board, we both knew that the end of this dive meant the beginning of the fishing trip! Walleyes here we come!
So many memories remain vivid in my head about our travels late last year; I am compelled to write them down so as not to lose the majesty of our travels. The visual memories created by the Pentax camera we took so seriously now needs to be transformed into the written form. I can only hope that my words will do the beautiful images in my mind justice. Stay tuned.