A New Respect for Trout

respect.jpgThe water was frigid, dropping just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit . If I could catch my breath for long enough, I might just be able to see 30 feet in front of me. Small, smooth stones that have been continuously polished by the fresh water, for hundreds of years, swept under my body as if moving on a conveyor belt set to overdrive. The occasional small boulder would pass by, almost taunting me to try and stop it from getting away. I’m not sure how fast these boulders were moving, but there was little chance, even if I could get a hold, that I could hold on long enough to even slow their progress. I simply resigned to watching them move by. It was not the boulders(or stones) that were moving after all, it was me. Trapped in a current, moving at what must have been nearing 10 miles per hour, I was, not so gracefully, moving along the bottom of the Skyquamie River. 6_472.jpgScuba tank on my back, and regulator in my mouth, I was being thrown around like a rag doll. Every time I tried to turn my head to get a bearing, the current would attempt to rip the mask right off my face. The current, sensing that the mask was intent on remaining on my face, instead chose to simply fill the mask with water, flooding my eyes and filling my nose. Not only was I fighting to maintain my heading, grab onto to rather elusive boulders, and breath, but now i was trying to reach up and clear my mask as well. Then i saw it. If it had eyes, they would have met my stare, and known that it had no chance of getting past me. Within seconds, I latched on. I could sense that it was angry when it whipped me around backwards putting my face directly into the oncoming current. After about a second or so, it calmed, I secured my grip, and just hung on for dear life. It was a slimy little boulder, but I had it, and I was not planning on letting go any time soon. The current was moving so fast that I felt as if i was hanging of of a cliff by the tips of my fingers. After all of this, I had yet to reach my destination. Not only this, but once I reached my destination, i would have to turn around and go back up, head first into the current. After a minute or so, just enough time to slow my breathing and gather my thoughts, I loosened my grasp on the boulder, and watched as it darted of into the distance. This took all of about a half second. What was really happening is that I was moving backwards so fast that the boulder just seemed to swim off. Using my hands, and the force of the current, I was eventually able to turn myself around. I few short seconds later and I dropped of a ledge and glided down to about 30 feet, and plopped right into sweet spot, protected from the rapidly moving current. Even the slightest of movement would put my right back into the current, so I remained still, and just soaked in the scenery. After a few minutes on bottom, it was time to move on. Only this time, I would not be watching as the stones and boulders raced past me, but trying to catch up with them. If you took the water out of the picture and stood the river bed on it’s end, then you would have what resembled a natural climbing gym. Being a climber myself, I can tell you that that’s just what it was. I positioned my hips as close to the river bed as I could and proceeded to move forward(or up). It truly felt as if I was climbing up a rock face, carefully selecting my hand holds, and using my legs and arms to pull myself along. It was not but a few minutes later that I had one of those “double take” moments, perhaps one of the most unusual encounters I’ve ever had( and I’ve had some strange ones). Just off to my left was a trout, and I swear the Trout was laughing at me. This Trout was just hovering ,fishflow020805_2.jpg effortlessly in the current. We seemed to be heading the same direction, only the Trout seemed to be having an easier go at it. I couldn’t help but laugh, because it really seemed as if this Trout was mocking me a bit. After a brief pause, what seemed like for no other purpose other than to let me know how silly I looked, the Trout put it into drive and without any effort at all, swam right off into the current. I could not help but imagine this Trout trying to relay this very same encounter to it’s fellow Trout somewhere up river. Can you imagine the look on their faces as the trout tried to explain that he just swam up river with an extraterrestrial? After what seemed like an hour, but actually about 8 minutes, I raised my head out of the water only about 5 feet from where I entered the water.

Two more days of Scuba. We will dive tomorrow morning at Gig Harbor, take a short break, and then head to Ali Beach for our first night dive. I’m looking forward to the night dive, for if conditions are just right, I might just get an opportunity to swim with a Six Gill Shark. Our Deep dives start on Thursday, the last module of our training here at school, and Graduation is just around the corner. Won’t be long now…

By the way, that’s not me hanging of the rock. It’s a random photo taken from the internet. I could be so lucky, as to have someone actually take a picture for me.

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~ by Scott on Monday, April 23, 2007.

2 Responses to “A New Respect for Trout”

  1. I just copied this one and forwarded it to Grandad. Don’t think he’s ever been able to log on to your blog. This was a good one. I
    felt like I was in the water with you. Kinda scary tho.

  2. Hey dude! I am a senior in highschool and i am considering a career in commercial diving. I have been researching the profession quite a bit and i am very enthusiastic about it. Seeing your site is very influential and i have gained a good perspective. I am going to college at Northern Michigan U and I am thinking about a 2 year degree for a Industial Technology Assoiociates Degree. I figure I can keep my options open for commercial diving and the local mining industry. If u have any advice i would appreciate it. Thanks a lot.

    —–Ike———-

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