So it's March 17th, St. Patrick's Day and everyone is excited to don their green garb and partake in their green libations. But green's just not my color today, I'm just too blue to be green. You see, blue doesn't just depict my mood because I haven't been able to dive since that memorable Saturday after Christmas when I was able to make that awesome day trip to Bimini. No... blue depicts much more than that. It exemplifies the dichotomy of my feelings, the bi-polarization of my emotions as it were. Because while blue usually depicts sadness (and accurately so in this case as well), to me and my kind, blue is the color of ecstasy as well.
The euphoria we feel when we head out on a picture perfect weather day when everything has aligned to get you out on the water, is an awesome feeling. The fact that for this altogether too brief of a window in time, there are no phone calls from work, no emails and no voicemails... makes it priceless. The kids are doing their own thing now that they're a little older (at least for me), and that's ok because we all make our way or find our groove. Besides, at the end of it all no matter how many people may go out with you (as wonderful as it is when they are with you), when you slip over the gunnel and into that deep azure ocean, believe me, it's all you and that's what makes it so great.
While you may love your job and I surely hope you love your family as I do, for me there's something very special about the solitude. As you descend into this other world with every dive, the thought that whatever happens next, you've got to be able to handle it and you completely believe that you can. You must, otherwise you would've picked up model building or star gazing as a hobby, not hunting with tools made of wood, rubber and steel in the most undiscovered part of Earth on the whole. No matter how many dive buddies you have with you, you're simply alone with yourself when it comes time to pull that trigger and you better be ready for what comes next.
I know other hunters will say it's the same for them almost regardless of the hunting they do. When they're in their tree stand or blind, eyeing that buck, or hog, or whatever quarry they're going after, they will tell you they feel the same solitude and that it's part of what they love so much about their sport. But it's not the same... similar but not the same, and I think I can tell you why. Let's just say that you had to get within 20 feet to shoot a buck (as opposed to 50-100 yards) and when you do, you then have to find a way to keep that buck from running away while you're hanging on for dear life. And let's say that you were able to do just that but then you had to race 30, 60 or more feet through an atmosphere that is actually working against you, before you could take your next breath. With all due respect to all my hunting brethren, it's just not the same. The added dimension of the simple (and single) breath hold makes it an infinitely more complicated task. This isn't to say that every fish shot is a buck (but then again, not every deer shot is either) and I'm not saying that everyone doesn't find their solitude in their way, nor that one is better than the other (well ok, I think mine's better). It's just not the same.
Getting back on track, the Winter I was looking forward to just didn't materialize. In November when my friend asked me to keep my boat at his house on the water while he borrowed my trailer to have some work done on his, I thought "This is exactly what I needed". The opportunities to head out at a moment's notice would be unlimited! I was going to bag more fish this Winter than I had in a very long time... Or so I thought. As it turned out, the first time I went back his house to take the boat for a spin, I noticed an issue with one of the motors that would leave me landlocked for the next 3 months, in spite of having my boat in the water! So the time passed and I came to terms with the fact that I would spend another Winter wanting for the water. You see my dilemma is this, those hunting brethren that I mentioned earlier are also my dive buddies and they all spend the Winter hunting mammalian and avian quarry (that's deer, hogs and ducks). So when they're hunting, if I can't get out on my boat, I can't get out.
So while everyone else is celebrating the green today, I'm still lamenting my blue... I'm just too blue to be green.