Thursday, June 28, 2007

Birthday MEME

I've been tagged by Stilaholic Nartian Knits for a Wikipedia Birthday Meme: I'm supposed to type in my birthday (sans year) and list 3 events, 2 births and 1 holiday... (Have you ever done this on Wikipedia? It is awesome: There is a huge list! How to choose!)
3 Events:
1040 - King Duncan I is killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. The latter succeeds him as Scottish Monarch. (Gotta love this one: Scottish History, AND that unlucky Shakespearean play!)
1843 - The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawaii is dedicated. Now the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, it is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States. (I'm cheating here: My birthday is a High Holy Day in the Roman Catholic church: The Assumption of Mary. I was a little smartass in Sunday School and when asked when the Holy Days of Obligation were, always shouted out, "My Birthday!"- Extra points because this Cathedral is in Honolulu!)
1969 - The Woodstock Music and Art Festival opens. (Yay! Cold Hippies in the Mud! Punks! They better not be stealing my Social Security to pay for their drug-addled health costs!)

2 Birthdays: (This one is easy: I always mention these two people because somehow I feel more like them than, say Ben Affleck-1972 or Debra Messing-1968)
1769 - Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French (d. 1821)
1912 - Julia Child, American cook (d. 2004)

1 Holiday: (You see how I cheated with mentioning the Holy Day up there?)
EgyptFlooding of the Nile Day. (Oh yeah: I have actually witnessed this holiday, and although it has been renamed the "Prophet's Birthday" and given the respectible mantle of monotheistic Islam, and although Nasser dammed up the Nile so it doesn't flood, it is still the oldest and most pagan of ritualistic fertility celebrations. The Nile used to flood once a year and deposit the rich and fecund silt all over the crops. Now, flooding couldn't be fun for those involved, but fertile fields fed everybody!)

Tagging: Well, I have no friends. So if you want to take part, please do so. Besides, it is really fun to read the whole list! But maybe if he wants to, I can persuade Adrastas to do this?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

Night Dive

Remember to take time for you: Go on fun dives every now and then so you don't burn out on diving!

This was the advice given to me by my PADI Instructor-Examiner back in December. Last night, six months later, I finally took that advice. Sort of...
A fellow Instructor noted that, with all 3 jobs, my last day off had been May 12th (a day of a Kawaihae Canoe Club regatta that took up all the space and parking at the pier). Last weekend I worked three days (holiday) on the boat, and I found myself stressed and upset about the dives. On one dive I misunderstood the specific coral balmy the guests wanted to visit, and I led them to another one instead. On another day, I couldn't find any turtles for guests who really wanted to see them.
I know, I know:
I can't MAKE people have a good time.
The Ocean isn't a zoo: There are no guaranteed sightings here.
I can't re-create an exact dive that someone enjoyed in the past.

The only thing I can do is keep people safe, return them to the boat, keep up the friendly standard of Aloha, and try to show them some neat things. Much of their good time has to do with their own attitude, and just plain luck in seeing something cool. Those amazing dives that you remember and want to re-create? Often they were good because you were relaxed, and happy, and maybe you saw one big-ticket animal. The sure-fire way to make sure you see nothing at all is to really really want to see it!

So last night I went on a night dive with my fabulous dive-buddy bf. We went on the boat, so I worked in as far as slinging tanks, setting up gear, and working the lines. But I didn't have to lead anyone on dives. I informed my buddy that we were staying away from people, I was not going very far, and I might turn off my light.
Plan your dive and dive your plan:
We were first in the water and descended in blackness, right over a huge free-swimming moray eel. I then led us off to an area filled with big coral heads in about 50 feet of water. We stayed in that area and saw shrimp, crabs, lobster, nudibranchs, urchins, sleepy fish, cowrie shell, cucumbers, worms, sea stars, and a Spanish Dancer. When we got too focused on the tiny spot our lights illuminated, we turned off the lights and floated in the dark. At one point dbf flailed his arms and fins and swam like crazy in a circle around me, then swam back and watched as it appeared I was floating in a black sky of plankton stars. We could see by moonlight, and I found my way around the site in the dark. When we ascended after an hour, the sky was full of real stars and I was calm and happy.
Saturday I may have off, and we are filling tanks in case it is a day for more fun diving.