It’s never going to be the same, I thought. Bubbles of air floated peacefully past me, up to the surface. They were Jack and Lu’s bubbles from inside the Pamir.
I hung there, waiting for them. I’d got used to the sight of the wreck by now – even if I didn’t like it. Shipwrecks assault my senses. All that metal underwater. And usually with sad, sometimes tragic connotations. Though not for this wreck – no one was lost aboard the Pamir. She was sunk and placed here for my enjoyment. Ha!
Hovering above her, I could see she was upright and still intact, though fairly bleak-looking. Considering she’d been down for over thirty years, it seemed she didn’t have a ton of life on her. A few bits of coral and encrusting sponges. No large fish from what I could make out. She wasn’t a marine park however, and this meant she was probably fished. Indeed, the Kiwi boys from S/V Wild Thing were due any minute to spear fish her.
Great, I thought. They were going see me hanging here like a lemon. Why is Hannah floating on her own above the wreck, I imagined them thinking? Where are her crew?
It turned out that Jack and Lu were just exiting the wreck by the sea bed. This gave me a sudden jolt. My crew. I felt an imaginary string pulling me to them. You are always safer with your dive buddies, I remembered. Rule two of diving, after rule one: just keep breathing.
I could see them. The only thing was they were currently deeper than where I wanted to be. I glanced back at the surface. The sun winked. ‘Come back,’ it seemed to say, ‘there’s no dry throat and panic up there. Just air and sunshine.’
I shook my head. I’ve got to stay with my dive buddies. Only they weren’t staying with me – on the wreck. They were now finning off, following the sea bed.
Where the hallelujah were they going, Jack and Lu? I followed them. Their fins were getting more and more difficult to see. They didn’t know I was swimming above them. They hadn’t looked up to check… and they wouldn’t have heard me anyway, with the sound of bubbles in their own ears.
Hold on. I realised I couldn’t see them so well now was because they were getting deeper. The sea bed must be sloping downwards. I remembered Jack saying he was planning to take Lulu on her deep speciality dive soon – at least 30m deep. They must be doing it now.
In order to keep track of them, I went deeper. I had to. I couldn’t lose sight of their white-coloured fins. I just knew that to be safe, or safer, I needed to be with them. I didn’t want to be alone anymore.
I joined them at 22m. They were coming back up the slope. In recent times, I would have balked at the idea of this depth. My mouth would have turned to toast – even though I was on the fricking surface. Damn it, I’ve been thinking. How am I ever get down there again?
Except here I was now. I was flying underwater – with my family. Who crapped themselves by the way as I dropped in. Well, Jack did. He says he’s never been so surprised – or happy to see me. And that I wasn’t a shark. Hehe. Lulu just smiled like she was expecting me.
God or whatever means the good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the good.
-Louis MacNeice, Meeting Point