Let’s talk gear.
I once heard that the two happiest moments for boat enthusiasts occurred on the day they purchased their boat and the day they sold it. Of course, I’ve heard that about horses, too. Come to think of it, most sports require a fairly hefty outlay of cash when you decide to commit to it. Ever gone skiing? I rest my case.
Scuba diving also requires a fair amount of gear. Makes sense considering a person is immersing themselves in an environment where they are ill-equipped to survive for more than a few minutes. And unless humanity sprouts gills, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Air is something we take for granted until it isn’t available. Hat tip to Messieurs Émile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau for developing an open-circuit-demand system in 1943. (The term self-contained breathing apparatus—SCUBA—was coined in 1952.) This was a big deal. Not only could divers carry their own air (or other blended gases), but they had a way to convert the compressed air to the ambient pressure through a regulator so the diver could actually access that air underwater. Add a buoyancy compensator vest and a timing device and the basic underwater necessities were covered.
Now lets talk about all the other stuff. Dive accessories make diving enjoyable, and a person can lay down some serious scratch procuring them. Want to see? You need a mask. Want to explore? You guessed it; fins. Modern dive computers make calculating bottom time, no-decompression times, and surface intervals a snap—but convenience is costly.
For the fashion conscious among us, there are a host of color and design options in just about every category. Camouflage wetsuit? Bright red tank? They’re out there. Then there’s the gear needed for specialized diving; dive lights, knives, slates, reels, lift bags, flags, stage bottle, surface signaling devices, surface marker buoys, tickle sticks for lobstering, catch bags, and cameras (inclusive of waterproof housing, flashes, etc.), diver propulsion vehicles, the list goes on.
Topside, things get easier—unless you’re a scientist. Professionals like Mer have even more gear. As a researcher she would need items related to her field of study (most of the equipment would be owned by the research facility not her as an individual diver). In her role as instructor, she would carry things to ensure her student’s safety.
Mer explores the realm of nautical archeology in Beached. She gets to play with some state-of-the-art underwater equipment specific to her new task. In fact, today’s quote hints at the introduction of a new and significant character who teaches her how to use it.
As for a boat? Maybe if I land on Santa’s nauti list enough times he’ll just give me one.
Chapter 13 ~
At one o’clock, five people in University of Miami t-shirts arrived at the dock, carrying their gear in brightly colored mesh bags.