State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.


by Natalia

We are officially contagious. We passed our scuba habit on to our unsuspecting friends.

They flew from Boston to Key Largo by way of Miami to meet us last weekend. We promptly signed them up for discover scuba diving class. We had some fun taking compromising pictures (not many people manage to look their best the first time they don mask, BCD, fins, tank and get into a swimming pool), but they still left vowing to take open water certification.There is a lesson here: don’t try scuba diving if you don’t need a new hobby. Although perhaps it’s not a scuba, maybe it’s our persuasive personalities. If that’s the case you should steer clear of us. Hard to tell.

One can never have enough coral viewing. On Sunday we visited Windley Key Fossil Reef state park. Much better to see coral underwater, if you ask me. More color, less sweat. Fossil coral from the site was used first to build Overseas Railroad spanning Florida Keys and then as decorative building stone called keystone on various buildings throughout US. It’s a miracle Windley Key is still above water. Just barely though.

Our guests arrived in a red mustang. Florida seemed like such a good place to rent a convertible. Turns out it is not such a hot idea in 90 degree weather. Red mustang looks cool, but AC feels cooler.

Seeing our friends made me realize how alienated we are becoming. We as in Damian and I travelling through wild, wild east (for now); and we as in pretty much everybody. Keeping in touch using facebook alone just doesn’t cut it. Many friends on facebook are just that - friends in facebook lingo, acquaintances in real life. I may as well befriend Harry Potter except my friends on facebook read what I do as much as I read what they do. Incidentally Harry Potter has already over 2 million friends. That’s probably why he has some problems keeping up with my status updates. I wonder: do wizards scuba dive?


Night invites storytelling. On the way to the dive site everybody seems to have something scary to share: divers left on the reef for the night by a careless operator, giant shark skulking in the shadows, losing one’s bearings simply by swimming upside down (watch the bubbles! says the captain). The stories get taller as the sun sinks closer to the horizon. Night dive turns out to be absolutely magical. We enter water at dusk and it gets progressively darker until one dives in blackness punctuated by torch beams and glowing tank markers.


If wrecks and reefs and fish don’t make your diving exciting enough there are always gadgets: knife, torch, safety sausage (really) and the biggest toy of all: underwater scooter. Which of course is not a scooter but a diver propulsion vehicle or, in PADI speak, DPV. By the way, diving argot is full of acronyms. Starting from SCUBA of course, which stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, through BCD, BWRAF, CESA, DAN, DIR, PADI and VENTID. Pretty much each and every word is an acronym for something else. No wonder computer geeks were left with GNU.