Hywl and Craic

I led my first ever dive last night. We said we’d take the Alchemists diving, but in the end it was just me who went with them. Go me. I didn’t mind. I love night diving, and it felt good to find people who wanted to go too.

My own family can be iffy about night dives. Lu wont readily say so, but I think she’s a bit scared of the tarpon. Since that one tarpon ‘bumped’ into her. After coral cleaning yesterday, she wasn’t feeling it. And Delph, well, Delph won’t go unless Lu does. And Jack had a rough day yesterday. His hywl had left him. Excellent Welsh word that. His energy and fun.

First stone-cold fact. Boat living means that things break. And when one thing breaks, I’ve got into the habit of waiting for the next two things to break. Don’t blame me. It’s the rule of three. Which is almost as stone cold.

At the beginning of the week, Lu’s wetsuit went walkabout. Then the dive compressor: our little yellow engine that could, suddenly couldn’t anymore. Its safety valve started to hiss like an angry snake. And the compressor is always a dramatic business. It makes all sorts of interesting noises which conveys its high pressure mechanism. Definitely a cobra in the basket of Quest.

Jack turned it off and called Bauer in America. ‘Maybe you could take the safety valve apart and jiggle the pieces around,’ the engineer said. Actual advice. So Jack did. Turned out the o-ring looked a bit tired. He swapped it and managed to push all the pieces back into the spring mechanism. The compressor worked too – for about the next five dive bottles. Then it started hissing again. The next phone call to Bauer confirmed it. We need a new safety valve.

Jack spent the rest of the morning trying to fix a little leak in our watermaker pump. Now we have a slightly larger leak and a crack in the pump housing. This apparatus is more brittle than was first realised. Perhaps that’s the price of another high pressured system with the extra challenge of water running through it. We wouldn’t have tried to fix the watermaker in Martinique though – had we known another part would now fail. Hindsight: you cruel mistress.

To be completely honest, I don’t mind. I mean, I know I’m not the one hauling money of my pockets with such consistency, but I wasn’t sold on the watermaker’s taste since we got back a year ago. Too salty. Now, going to the dock to fill up our water containers, at least our kidneys aren’t working overtime. And I like the craic at the dock. Hanging out with Marvis and Eg at the marina. And Hipolito who works there too. He feeds the iguanas grapes. They line up every morning like schoolchildren.

So off I went on my solo night dive. With Emma and Naomi and François from L’Alchimiste. One of the first things we saw? A huge, sleeping ray. We clustered around it like Hipolito’s iguanas.

Photos: courtesy of Shona James 💕

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