THE Week – Part I

Sorry. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging for so long about Part I of our week (which was now nearly two weeks ago!). Part II seemed a little more exciting and pressing, so that got top billing. But there was some other chaos about last week as well.

For as long as I can remember J. has been wanting to go dive with the sharks. I think that was part of why he was so keen to get us certified as divers thirteen years ago. And I have always said, “Of course! Suuuure. Love to go throw myself in a cage with a TWO.TONS.OF.SHARK. lurking about.”

(NOT our photo – courtesy of

So when J. asked a few months ago if we could finally do a shark dive, I said, “Of course! Suuure. We’ll definitely go.” (Always thinking that it would get pushed off and we would never really go.) So when he came home a few weeks ago and said that he had found a dive company that he thought would be good, and they had openings, and…we were going – well, I may have peed my pants. Just a little bit.

But being the good wife and dive buddy – I said, “Of course! Suuuure. Let’s go.”

Thankfully we got to dive on the Monday that Debby and Bill were here, and they were eager to watch the girls for the night so we lucked out on the babysitting front.

So we got ourselves together and headed to the airport on Sunday. It was a wee little piece of heaven to travel on an airplane with no children, let me tell you. The girls are fantastic travelers, but only because I am constantly plying them with entertainment options and snacks. It was nice to eat my own peanuts and read an entire, un-interrupted magazine. Although I had a little bit of apprenhension. Some parents take separate planes when they are traveling together, so as to not orphan their children, you know. And here we are. Not only on the same flight, but going down into a cage with Great White sharks together. Just didn’t quite feel like responsible parenting to me.

But J. would just assure me that the company we were going out with had never “lost” a person.


The dive boat left Emeryville (near Oakland – across the bay from San Francisco) at 6am. So we did not get to take advantage of a sleep-in. And poor J. had a crazy headache all night, so he didn’t sleep well. And I don’t think I did either, mostly because of that “irresponsible parent” notion that I just couldn’t shake.

So we got to the boat, and it is a long 2 1/2 hour ride out to the Farallon Islands. But it is cold and 6am and who is really hungry at that hour. So I sipped some coffee for the first hour or so to warm up and try to get psyched up for the diving.

And then spent the second hour of the boat ride over the rail at the back of the boat getting sick.

(Yeah, this sign really is on the boat.)

Yeah. Coffee on an empty and nervous stomach with the smell of diesel boat fumes. Plus, you know, the seasickness from being on a BOAT! It was not good. I had taken Bonine which usually works really well for me, and I don’t have any problems. But that day, was not one of those days.


It took me a few hours before I could move again. It did reaffirm the fact that Addie will never EVER be a big sister. Being sick is the worst feeling, I’m convinced. It was actually this crazy electo-watch thing that I used when I was pregnant with the girls that made me feel a million times better. Thankfully J. had the foresight to grab it and bring it along.

So J. when down a few times without me. And then I joined him when I got to feeling better.

(The Farallons Island from our dive site – foggy. Cold.)

The “cage” is probably 6 feet wide by maybe 8-10 feet tall. It sits just below the surface, really kind of just bobs around in the surge. There is a trapdoor in the top that you drop through to enter, and four people go down at a time for 30 minutes a time and then we would rotate out.

So I got all of the gear on and cursed the 58 degree water. I so hate cold water diving. Have I mentioned that ever? I really do. The gloves, boots, hood, and 7mm wetsuit does not really work in warding off the cold. I am usually cold before I even get started.

But I got geared up. Then you sit on the edge of the boat and the divemaster puts weights around your ankles and a weight vest that weighs about 40 pounds. So really moving, isn’t much of an option. Then you sort of roll down the bars to the top of the cage, turn around, and drop in.

The first time I went down I was holding on to the cage, since it feels a little like being in a washing machine might (or how I would expect it to feel in a washing machine, I guess), and I was trying to get my bearings, adjust to the COLD and not get tossed around or fall into the other people in the cage.

As my eyes were adjusting I looked down and realized as I was holding onto the cage. My fingers were OUTSIDE of the cage. And I (again) may have peed my pants just a little. I pulled them in quickly and settled in on my knees and waited. And waited.

“Oh hey…there’s a jellyfish! And another. Wow. It is very dark, murky, cold, and….this place is lousy with jellyfish.”

And then it was time to head back out and for the next group to go down. So far (we are midway through the day) nobody had seen any sharks. Just jellyfish, sea lions, and seals.

My second dive down (and J’s fourth) was…almost EXACTLY the same. Cold. Dark. “Wait! Hey, what was that? Hmmm…just the decoy seal.” Although, yeah, that decoy freaked me out a bit. And we saw some more jellyfish. Hrumph.

So you waited nearly two weeks and waded through this long, boring story to get this….

We did not see one darn shark.

I actually was very disappointed. Oh, I know if I had actually seen a shark – I would simultaneously pee my pants, stop breathing, and bolt for the top of the cage. But I was really disappointed for J. especially. He had waited so long and had really wanted to see just one!

I have a lot of photos of SF and the bridge on the way back in. I was not feeling optimal when we did see the Humpback whale breech, which was cool, but my camera was tucked away safely inside the cabin so I didn’t get a photo of it. J. used our underwater camera and got lots of pics of, well…jellyfish. And some fun videos of us being goofy since we were a bit bored after 20 minutes of staring into the darkness. I’ll have to get them and post them up, too.

The best part of the trip? Going under the Golden Gate bridge on our way back. I have never been under the bridge before, so that was cool.

Well, that and not leaving our children as orphans. That should probably be counted as the best part, right?






10 Responses to “THE Week – Part I”

  1. 1 carey October 17, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    GREAT bridge pictures! they are gorgeous!

    that is so disappointing about the sharks though. i was so hoping that you at least saw one little one!

  2. 2 MelodyA. October 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    The puking itself would have been enough for me to call it a day. I would have puked the whole way. It’s nice to hear though that you got away and had the experience even though it wasn’t as planned. Maybe it was a good thing that you saw no sharks.

  3. 3 Jenny October 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    You are very brave. Just looking at that first picture makes me uncomfortable. Really great pictures of the bridge and that blue sky! No matter what a fun adventure with your husband is awesome!

  4. 4 Laura McIntyre October 19, 2008 at 2:41 am

    You are the best wife ever, im not sure anything could get me doing that. Will you try again? It is a shame you never got to see any sharks.

  5. 5 thelandofka October 20, 2008 at 6:07 am

    That’s too bad that you didn’t get to see the sharks, but still it was an adventure, right?? You are the best wife ever to do that with J. Actually, I would like to go shark diving someday, but then I would actually have to learn how to dive, wouldn’t I?? đŸ˜‰

  6. 6 msscatter October 20, 2008 at 7:44 am

    You are a better wife than I.

  7. 7 Christina October 20, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Ack!!! I was scared just reading about it, even without any shark sightings! Wow, you are one heck of a wife. All that stuff weighing me down in the water…I’d feel claustrophobic. I do want to see the goofy videos!!

  8. 8 Cara October 20, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    How disappointing for you husband to go through all that and not see a shark. I was a little relieve for you because I would have also peed myself and bolted for the door.
    I love the bridge shots. Did you get to go around San Fran? Its a great city, delicious food!

  9. 9 Maya October 22, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I can’t believe you didn’t see a shark!!! That sucks!!! Sea sickness is the worst. Love that sign…go get sick where everyone else can see you! Ha!

  10. 10 arizaphale October 24, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    That was hilarious. Worth the wait! The BA wants to do a shark dive. I couldn’t think of anything worse. Still, at least if you peed yourself you would have been warmer!

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