Ripped from my face.
Gone before I could react,
The sea ate my mask.
It was a rough morning on Monday, when I tried to finish off an OW class on the beach after a series of unfortunate events that cut our diving short on Sunday. Apparently the universe was not done throwing curveballs, and Monday went from a calm quite morning, to rough chaos fairly quickly.
First, I managed to pop my wetsuit heater while gently massaging it, as specified on the directions to make the heat last a little longer, then we had some difficulties on entering the water. The predicted 2-3′ swell was rolling in, however if was coming in between periods of much larger swell, that seemed to be growing with the rising sun. My student and I got stuck in the surf zone while he worked to get his fins on, I struggled with the float. Turns out a hole in the casing made for a perfect escape route for my rope and the anchor, and when I looked back to assist my student I saw the rope no longer in the float, sinking into the foamy water in front of me. I tried to keep an eye on its location and as I moved forward to try and grab it, another set started to roll in. Facing the shore as I looked for the rope, a wave broke behind me so perfectly that it swept my head and snatched my good old Aqualung mask clean from my face. I had a moments thought of, gee my face feels weird, before I realized it was due to the fact that I no longer had a mask on! I looked down and floundered my hands around but no luck…my trusty old mask with its nice blue snorkel and neoprene strap had slipped beneath the sea. Disheartened, I helped my student climb out of the water, and we watched the waves (getting bigger and bigger) for a few minutes… managed to recover the rope and anchor, which stayed in close to shore, but had no sign of my mask. My poor lost little mask. What a pity.
Its a risk you take with beach diving, especially out here in California where the swell can rip gear from you in an instant. So far I had been lucky, but I knew it was a matter of time before I would end up sacrificing something to the deep blue sea. Perhaps, the gods will see fit to allow a friend to happen across it nestled in the sand, and we will one day be reunited, but for now, I think its time to start looking at masks, and join the world of newer, slimmer, less nerdy looking facial accessories.
Sleep well my friend, perhaps an octopus will curl up in you tonight.