|The crew out for J's birthday|
While I wait for my beer and yakisoba noodles, I think about diving. Three dives today, as is becoming the usual fare when we visit Yamamoto, our Japanese Scuba sensei here in the Marianas Islands. I felt a wide sense of peace and euphoria when we hit 90ft below. I like to think that I'm slowly becoming a part of this ocean, but more than likely it's just a case of mild nitrogen narcosis.
It tends to set in around 100ft and fills the diver with an uncanny feeling of intoxication, not unlike opium. Divers have been known to take regulators out of their mouths and try to "breath" the water. This doesn't usually end well. I visualize the scene and am reminded of hypothermia accounts where dead victims are found naked in the snow, having felt so "wonderful and warm" that they didn't need clothes anymore.
TJ brings our drinks and puts a movie on the big screen. The tavern has become a second home, due to it's cheap menu and minimal distance from the field house. If we shout loudly enough, we can call in orders from our porch. Salem is here, waiting on us. He'd been expecting Renee and Jim, our University of Washington leads on the project, who'd just flown in from the mainland. But they'd cancelled the dinner meetup last minute, so Juniper and I strolled over to keep Salem company instead.
Most nights the lack of tourism turned the bar into our private club and we could lounge and watch movies and stare into the surf as we ate. It had a ceiling but no walls, and you could watch the open sea from every table.
There was, of course, karaoke, but we'd burned ourselves out on that business a month ago, when we drank all night with some visiting Airmen from Guam. I'd never seen anyone keep a round of karaoke going for so long. Four hours later (and about ten songs to my name) I'd thrown in the towel.
|Air Force Guys + Karaoke = "You've Lost That Loving Feeling|
The yakisoba was terrific after a long day of diving, biking, and sun exposure. We chatted on a while, until gentle fatigue gave way to heavy eyelids, and we made our way home (i.e across the street). Renee's grad student had brought us some good beers from the mainland, so I popped one open, excited for anything other than Budweiser or cheap Filipino suds. I lay back, my feet on the kitchen table, listening to the waves, and wondered how tomorrow's tides would be.
|J with a friendly (and endangered) fruit bat|
|Ready to Dive|